Fort Townsend Historical State Park

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On the surface, Fort Townsend is a classic state park on a Puget Sound beach. But a closer look reveals a hidden history.

Built in 1856, Fort Townsend operated as a U.S. Army site on and off until a fire destroyed its barracks in 1895. The small camping park south of Port Townsend is unique among Washington's coastal forts because it has all but returned to nature.

Military buffs, walk the parade lawn and find interpretive plaques lining the former Officers' Row. Explore a historic torpedo tower that held state-of-the-art technology during World War II (and is now part of the group campground). And don't forget to check the park's calendar to learn about events taking place on the lawn.

Fort Townsend provides a quieter alternative to its bigger, busier northern neighbor, Fort Worden. The park has 6 miles of loamy trails through soaring Douglas-firs, western hemlock, cedar trees and a rich understory of ferns. Wander down to the beach for views of Port Townsend Bay.

Couples planning to tie the knot and families arranging reunions can rent the Friends Barn, a replica of the Fort's historic stable, now a charming hall with a fireplace, located between the forest and the beach. Not only will you enjoy Fort Townsend's relaxed vibe, you may feel the park's historic past, even if you can't see it.

Park features

Fort Townsend is a 413-acre, marine camping park with 3,960 feet of saltwater shoreline on Port Townsend Bay. The forested park has a rich history in the armed forces, dating from pioneer days. 

Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

  1. Activities
  2. Boating
  3. Camping
  4. History
  5. Maps

Picnic & day-use facilities

Three picnic shelters and 43 picnic tables are available first come, first served. The park also offers a modern replica of the historic 1800s stable, the Friends' Barn is perfect for weddings, family reunions, company gatherings, nature camps, classroom activities, and more. Maximum capacity 100 guests.



  • 6.5 miles of hiking trails

Water activities & features

  • Boating
  • Crabbing
  • Diving
  • Fishing (saltwater)

Other activities & features

  • Amphitheater

Interpretive opportunities

A self-guided nature trail and a second trail highlighting historical information are available in the park. A park ranger conducts interpretive walks by request on Saturdays. The park supports an active Junior Ranger interpretive program.

Birding and nature tours are now being held on the 1st Friday of each month.  Bird walks will last approximately 2 to 3 hours.  Wear sturdy footwear and dress for changeable weather.  Bring binoculars and your own water. Please send Bev an email, subject: Birdwatching Walk to and she will plan directly with you. Please note this program is dependent on good weather and the group size is limited to 5 people.

Additional information