Happy Monday, friends! Before I dive into today’s post, I wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank all those who reached out to check on me after Friday’s post. Honestly, I do my best to hunt the good, but last week was hard, and knowing we have so many people in our corner really helped a lot – so, thank you! Our goal this past weekend was to take some time for us. We wanted to do something as a family to really enjoy the great weather, and with our time in the PNW swiftly coming to a close, we decided to head up to Port Townsend and Fort Worden State Park, specifically. We’ve had temperatures hovering near 80 degrees the past week, so we figured we’d be right right by the water, and in the perfect place to spend a hot spring day.
Fort Worden Historical State Park
Fort Worden State Park is one of Washington’s most beautiful historic state parks and located in Port Townsend, just under two hours from JBLM. This 432-acre state park has it all. From expansive parade lawns to carefully restored Victorian-era officer’s homes and hidden armories, Fort Worden was once home to around 1,000 troops and officers about 100 years ago, all trained to defend the Puget Sound from enemy invaders.
Today, visitors of Fort Worden can pretty much explore it all. While guided tours of certain areas of the park are ideal for history buffs, it’s perfectly acceptable to make a day out of it on your own, exploring the ruins of the old armaments and walking your way down towards Port Wilson Light House right at the water’s edge.
Fort Worden Beach Campground
Until a few days ago, we didn’t know that Port Townsend actually offered beaching camping at Fort Worden State Park. While we didn’t partake, Fort Worden Beach Campground is clearly a popular place for those to set up with RVs right down by the beach on Battery Way. Though we didn’t see tents there, they’re also welcome, though not as protected from the elements. One of the more popular tent sites for camping is at the nearby Upper Forest Campground by Chinese Gardens Lake, where campers are more protected from the elements.
Beach Access at Fort Worden
The beaches at Fort Worden are, quite simply, to die for. Day access is allowed for those hoping to just make a day of it, rather than camp, which is what we opted to do. The beach at Fort Worden State Park features over two miles of saltwater shoreline and, unlike many of the beaches closer to JBLM, the beaches up north offer sandier shores. The kids were in heaven, and most of us decided to brave the ultra-cold water (to the tune of 48.2 degrees) and take the plunge. Thankfully, the sun was hot, and we warmed up quickly. Trust me though when I say it’s a must-do…if only to say you did!
Probably one of the best parts of the beaches at Fort Worden is that, while popular, they’re less frequented by other beaches in the JBLM(ish) area, like Ocean Shores or Westport Light State Park. You get a different feel and, though it gets busier in the latter half of the day, it never feels too crowded. If we had more time here at JBLM, we’d definitely call Port Townsend’s Fort Worden State Park our beach area of choice!
Tips for Visiting Fort Worden State Park
Trail Length: There are a number of different hiking trails out here, ranging from Glass Beach to Point Wilson Trail. We walked Point Wilson Trail, which was about two miles from start to finish and covered the beauty of the grounds. Check out the trails on AllTrails to see what meets your wants and wishes.
Level of Difficulty: The area we walked and explored was easy, relatively flat, and paved. If you visit the ruins, however, please make sure you keep a close eye on kiddos, as there are a number of different safety hazards. The ruins are also not ADA accessible.
Cost: You’ll need your Discover Pass for this one, which is $10/day or $30/year. There are multiple automated pay stations, as well as an office area to purchase your pass.
Dogs: Yes! Dogs are allowed throughout Fort Worden’s grounds, including the beaches, though they must remain leashed at all times.
Tips: Get there early! We arrived just before 11 AM, which was well before the crowds, thankfully. Even when busy though, there was a lot of parking and ample beach access for all.