Fort Casey State Park is one of my favorite places to visit in Whidbey Island, and it’s a favorite place of mine to take guests. Year-round, it’s a fun and educational place to go.
Fort Casey State Park History
Fort Casey, located at 1280 Engle Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239, USA, was built in the late 1800s and used for military training until the 1940s.
Fort Casey, together with Fort Worden, and Fort Flagler were known as the “Triangle of Fire,” a trio of strategically placed fortifications designed to defend the entrance to the Puget Sound.
Today, Fort Casey showcases the fort’s original defense purposes, but it also makes a great place to explore, hike, and camp, the historic area, as well as the natural beauty of Whidbey Island.
It’s tons of fun to wander around and inside all the structures, even if military stuff isn’t really your thing. I love to take guests there because it’s such a new and different experience. I’ve always been happy after we leave there and a guest tells me how cool that was!
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What to do while you’re at Fort Casey State Park
Get a sense of history
Explore the Fort’s batteries, including a pair of rare 10-inch disappearing guns. While the guns were the height of technology in the early 1900s, improvements in warships and the advent of airplanes soon rendered them obsolete.
There are also two additional 3-inch mounted guns on display in their original emplacements.
You can explore the parapets looking down at the ramparts (I sound so technical, don’t I!) Basically, it’s all old historical military stuff that’s really cool to explore, climb around on and in, and get a sense of history!
You’ll find plenty of plaques explaining the significance of the structures so you can get a real sense of what went on there.
If history is your thing, you’ll get lots of it here!
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Take in the beauty of the area
Fort Casey State Park is located on picturesque Whidbey Island. From Fort Casey you can see views of the Puget Sound, the Cascades, and the Olympics.
Make your way down to the beach and explore the beach with all the driftwood and rocks that are down there. You may even see a sea lion or two! Maybe even catch a glimpse of an orca.
The beauty of it all, really is my favorite part. I love to walk down to the beach and explore. I love to look out over the bluffs and off into the horizon. I also love how the old structures look, maybe they have moss growing on them, or maybe cool lime deposits. Or maybe just how massive those concrete structures are!
Bring a picnic
The park offers 68 unsheltered picnic tables. Picnic sites are first come, first served. So be sure to set aside some time to relax and have a bite to eat.
Some of my favorite picnic items to take on a picnic
And be sure to check out my tips for a great picnic.
Take a hike
Fort Casey has 1.8 miles of hiking trails, and they’re all beautiful with their twists and turn, uphills and downhills.
In addition to the trails in Fort Casey, three miles of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail wrap around the park.
Hiking up and down, around trees, through meadows, and along beaches is really good for the soul, not to mention good for the heart and the legs too! I find hiking to be one of the easiest ways to exercise. Maybe because I’m out looking at nature and beautiful things, so I don’t realize that I’m exercising.
I also have a guide for places to hike in Southern California.
Take a guided tour
Did you know that Fort Casey offers guided tours? I just found that out this year, and have shared that information with several surprised friends. Apparently, it’s a well-kept secret.
The 45-minute guided tours of the gun batteries are led by the Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion, and are offered from May 25 to Sept. 3.
The tours are scheduled as follows:
- 1 p.m. Fridays
- 1 and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays
Meet at the sandwich board sign in the grassy area between the fort and parking lot.
We loved our tour and our guide, Bill, was very knowledgeable and interesting. He took us behind locked areas so we got to see some things that you never would see on your own. And the tours are free, so they are definitely worth it!
Haunted Fort in October
Make sure to stop by the Haunted Fort to celebrate Halloween in October for some scary ghouls and ghosts. There’s also an area for younger kids. Tickets are required. Check their website for dates, times, and prices.
Kite Festival in September
And the kite festival is a beautiful spectacle filled with color and wonderment. Spend the day watching and flying kites.
There are competitions you can join in, you can make your own kite, you can learn to fly specialty kites, and you can generally hang out and have a great time.
There’s even a teddy bear drop for the little ones.
Take in the sunset
With its western views, Fort Casey provides a stunning sunset viewing opportunity. Don’t forget your camera!
Water activities & features
And, don’t forget about all the water activities that are available from the park.
There are two watercraft launches allowing for boating or diving at Keystone Underwater Dive Park.
You can also go saltwater fishing while you’re there. We often watch people fish from the beach. There are some amazing catches out there.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse
The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is a highlight of the area.
Though it’s no longer a working lighthouse, you can still see the lamp, and you can make your way up the spiral staircase up to the second floor where the lamp used to be.
There’s also a museum and gift shop area where you can learn about lighthouses as well as the area and people surrounding the lighthouse.
Guided tours of the lighthouse are also available when the lighthouse is open or visit the Interpretive Center. Check the website for lighthouse hours and dates.
Fort Casey State Park has 22 standard campsites, 13 partial-hookup sites with water and electricity, and one shower. Campsites are located next to the Keystone Ferry terminal and reservations are a good idea, especially in the summer. Reserve online or by calling 888-226-7688.
From the campground, you can watch the Port Townsend Ferry come and go.
Navy personnel conduct training missions at various times during the day and night. Depending on the direction of the wind, their flight pattern may put them above the park, creating noisy conditions for campers. The jets are cool to watch, if not quite noisy.
Book your camping experience here.
Stay at the fort Casey Inn
If camping isn’t your thing, but you still want to extend your visit to Fort Casey State Park, they also offer an Inn. The Fort Casey Inn may be booked here.
Fort Casey is a state park, so you will need a Discover Pass to visit. The cost is $10 for a single day or $30 for a year. If you don’t already have a pass, you can buy one at the park at an automated pay station or in the gift shop if it’s open.
I love our Discovery Pass! $30 for a year and you can park at any Washington State Park. So worth it!
Have you been to Fort Casey State Park? What was your favorite part of the park?