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What started in 1942 as a coastal defense fort is now a 651-acre recreation area used for camping, mountain biking, and paragliding. The park was named after Isaac Neff Ebey, who was the first permanent white citizen of Whidbey Island. Since this is one of the last defense system forts constructed in the Puget Sound, it harbors many secrets and insights that World War II history buffs will find interesting. To that end, guests are encouraged to have their flashlights at the ready, as concrete platforms, the former underground battery, and gun sites are the main attractions for explorers.
Geologists might find the area around the park quite intriguing as it consists of large depressions called “kettles” that are a result of receding glaciers from 15 millennia ago. The park also features a three-mile-long saltwater coast, forested trails dominated by hemlock and Douglas fir, a small lake, and two large fields for sports. An abundance of fish like smallmouth bass makes the place an ideal vacation spot for those who love fishing.
The park has great conditions for motorhome camping, so if you love camping with an RV, you're in luck. If you don't own your own RV, renting an RV will be barely an inconvenience around here. Towns like Coupeville and Oak Harbor are just minutes away, and you can even get to Port Townsend within an hour or so, provided you catch a ferry on time. If you're looking for RV rentals in Island County, these three cities might be your best bet.
Camping at Fort Ebey State Park offers a chance to do something exciting, like paragliding. Although it may appear daunting at first glance, paragliding is very safe. There are several paragliding clubs in the vicinity where you can rent the equipment you'll need. Additionally, the air currents in the park are gentle, so even a novice should have little to no trouble navigating them. Through paragliding, you'll get to enjoy some of the best views the park has to offer.
Fort Ebey State Park is a fantastic place for explorers who love to hike. Next to the picnic and restroom area, you’ll find Bluff Trail that loops back here. This route will have you traverse pathways overlooking the beach and the Olympic Mountains. If you're a keen wildlife watcher, hit the Pacific Northwest Trail. Keep your eyes peeled and you might just spot a whale emerging from the ocean, or an eagle soaring above Lake Pondilla.
If you're camping at Fort Ebey State Park during summer, you’ll probably want to spend some time at the beach. Guests love to come here to relax and sunbathe, surf, explore the coast, and fish. Seaweed and shellfish harvesting are also popular in these parts, so if you have your recreational license, go for it.
Most state park RV campgrounds mainly offer primitive campsites. Fort Ebey State Park, on the other hand, features nearly a dozen campsites that have electricity and water hookups. An additional 39 sites are primitive. The maximum RV length is 40 feet. The campground also boasts amenities such as restrooms and showers (both of which are ADA accessible), a playing field for sports, a picnic area, and a spacious amphitheater. Fort Ebey doesn't have a dump station, however.
You can reserve your site between March and October. Bear in mind that gathering firewood, hunting, and feeding wildlife are prohibited here. You'll also want to note that Fort Ebey is located near Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, so you may see some jets flying overhead during your Fort Ebey State Park camping trip.
Once you're ready to hit the road and drive around Washington, make sure you pay a visit to some of the nearby cities. If you want to eat out, refill your tank, or simply do some shopping, Coupeville is your closest option. Here, you can find Italian, Thai, and seafood restaurants as well as bakeries, pubs, and barbecue joints.
If you decide to visit Oak Harbour, don’t forget to check out the Naval Air Museum, where you'll see the preserved aircraft that the U.S. Army used during WWII. You'll also learn about the PBY Catalina as well as the struggles that NAS Whidbey Island endured.
Finally, you should catch a ferry to Port Townsend while you're in the area. The city features multiple science centers, museums, and attractions. Military history enthusiasts will want to visit the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum. This used to be one of the three forts which defended the harbor and controlled the number of ships that entered Puget Sound.
While you're in Port Townsend, feel free to check out other cultural landmarks of Jefferson County, such as the Jefferson Museum of Art & History or Rothschild House Museum. The art museum features the work of the famous Port Townsend painter Jim Alden, whereas Rothschild House is a family home built in the 1800s by David Charles Henry Rothschild.