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“The Pride of Port Townsend - Great for Military Buffs”

Fort Worden State Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Stroll along beautiful beaches and explore rows of Victorian-style houses: this park has something for everyone.
Level Contributor
675 reviews
266 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,858 helpful votes
“The Pride of Port Townsend - Great for Military Buffs”
Reviewed June 14, 2011

Fort Worden is the pride and joy of Port Townsend. Everyone you talk to mentions it and talks about it glowingly. There are a lot of reasons for that. It has the best sandy beach on the Eastern Peninsula (though that's not saying much really), contains the Marine Science Center and Natural History exhibit (both very small attractions), a gift shop, great old turn-of-the-century military homes, camping grounds for RVs and tents, and three military museums, as well as a collection of old abandoned bunkers.

For military buffs and fans of Northwest history, there is a lot to please here. There are hostels you can stay at and conference and wedding facilities. The bunkers are now devoid of artillery or other artifacts, mostly just hallways to explore. Be sure to bring flashlights for the best bunker exploration. There are nice views of the ocean from the top of the bunkers, but bring warm clothes and a windbreaker all year round.

There are some areas of the park that seem like they could be kept a bit better, but mostly they are in good shape. There is no entrance fee to the park (or at least there wasn't when we were there), though there is a fee to camp. It's not a must-see attraction unless you're really into the local military establishments, but if you're in the neighborhood you can check out the museums and walk out to the abandoned lighthouse that is closed to the public but you can walk right out to it. Large groups can reserve a lighthouse tour as well.

Visited June 2011
Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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710 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great location near the beach!”
Reviewed April 12, 2011

I attended a Goddard MFA residency in Feb at Ft. Worden...I loved it. The deer came within tossing distance to humans, the Officer's Row houses were comfy and cozy, the beach a stone's throw away...um, and then there's the food, well, that's another story and not so good. Raw potatoes, cold eggs, raw meat, and that's just breakfast. So, if you plan on visiting for a retreat, a conference, etc. I would plan to eat in town or not eat at all. Just saying!

Visited February 2011
Thank buffiangel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lynnwood, Washington
Level Contributor
364 reviews
173 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 333 helpful votes
“Extraordinary, Beautiful, and Historic”
Reviewed April 6, 2011

What a way to spend a day. Even going during the offseason, I just had a feeling I was going to be at Fort Worden for the majority of the day and I was right. Not all of the museums are open in March. After a few minutes drive from our room, we started off our day at the welcome center. This is a great place to get a little background of the park along with maps and guides. The guide to Artillery Hill is a little confusing because the numbers on the map are a little different than whats up there, but after a few minutes it can be figured out. The welcome center does have a gift shop and it has a short video available to watch in regards to the park. After the welcome center, we parked at the bottom of Artillery Hill and walked up to the batteries and the huge variety of historic buildings that make up Fort Worden. The man at the visitors center thought it would take about an hour to see everything up there, but we took our time and easily spent about 3 hours. If we had flashlights, I suppose it would have been a lot more. The views from the top of some of the batteries looking out to the water are outstanding. On a clearer day, Mount Baker would make a much better appearance that it did. After a lunch break, we headed back and checked out the one museum that was open. The Coast Artillery Museum does a great job with videos and displays explaining the history of the fort, the weapons used, and how the park came to be. After the museum, we drove around and checked out the variety of buildings. Officer's Row and the Parade Grounds are neatly lined up and makes for an awesome setting. The Officers Quarter Museum was closed for the season, but I'll make sure to catch it next time. Some of the other interesting buildings include Alexander's Castle (the oldest building there) and a building that was once used for a balloon hangar. Before heading out, we drove out to the Point Wilson Lighthouse. It too was closed for the season. We were able to walk up to it and poke around. It's a neat little lighthouse. There are a couple more batteries nearby and a lot of beach area to be enjoyed by all. I've been to Fort Worden before and unfortunately we were not there very long. I'm glad I had a chance to go back and spend the majority of a day seeing what this awesome state park has to offer. A must visit to anyone visiting Port Townsend.

Visited March 2011
Thank Rainier72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellevue, Washington
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Fort Housing and Maintenance is Run Down”
Reviewed August 15, 2010

I've stayed in many of the different victorina style homes, known as the the Officers Quarters, 5 times in the past 12 years and am becoming increasingly disenchanted with the Fort Worden housing as well as the (State?) Employees lackluster service standards.

On some occasions, I've stayed with my small immediately family and on others I've stayed wtih large groups of extended family, occupying several of the Victorian homes/ officers quarters at a time for large scale family reunions.

We never sleep well as the beds are vintage-- and not in a cool way. The mattresses are small, lumpy and saggy. The houses are hot and musty. The kitchens range from poorly-refurbished-victorian to cheaply-remodelled-1980's-- but all of them have scary electrical wiring and poorly stocked kitchens in common-- as well as loud, unreliable plumbing,

The bunkers are a popular draw for explorers and flashlight tag but they're also a draw for a growing population of the towns homeless and teenage gangs. Condoms, needles and puddles of urine often surprise visitors in the maze of tunnels inside the bunkers. NOT a safe place to let kids play unsupervised.

Before one visit, I called ahead to reserve the large outdoor firepit for a large family bonfire and sing along-- it was to be the highlight of our weekend stay!. (the firepit is the only place on the Fort's State property, or beach fron,t to legally have a fire-- unless you are renting a camp site). During my phone call reservation I was advised that the only way to reserve the fire pit was to also rent the "beach kitchen shelter"-- a package deal. I told the reservationist I didn't need, and wouldn't use, the kitchen shelter but was willing to pay the rental fee just to get the fire pit reservation.
Weeks later, at the time of check-in, I was told there was a burn ban! And we would not be allowed to use the firepit. I was understanding of the law, but incredulous that they would not refund the expense of the kitchen rental. I explained to them that, as someone traveling from outside the area, and not in the experitse of burn ban laws, it would have been considerate of them to call me in advance, or at least tell me at the time of the booking about the potential for the burn ban. I tried to reason with the management and they still would not refund my money.

Poor service.

Grungy and grimey houses.

Not worth the high price.

4 Thank BellevueFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bothell, Washington
Level Contributor
74 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Great Housing Value and Bring your flashlight!!!”
Reviewed March 30, 2009

We just visted here for the first time and stayed at Officer's quarters. The place was HUGE!!! We had a three bedroom, two bath unit and at approx $200 a night it was a steal. My 5 year old, husband, and father loved exploring the battery's. Bring a Flashlight!!! Also, be careful as there are several dropoffs. It was rather cool to be out on the beach, but on a warmer day it would be really nice.

Thank hhurey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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