Local Adventures: Fort Casey State Park

Fort Casey State Park sits in Central Whidbey Island, just past Coupeville, Washington. It is part of a three base layout, in the old days the hope it could protect the Strait of San Juan de Fuca (the Salish Sea). Admiralty Inlet on Whidbey Island was considered so strategic to the defense of Puget Sound in the 1890s that the three forts, Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, and Fort Worden at Port Townsend, were built at the entrance with huge guns creating a “triangle of fire.” Built in the late 1800’s, it was dated by WWI due to airplanes, but held on till after WWII when it was decommissioned. It has sat fallow many decades but changes are at hand. I’ve been wandering the base since I was a child and the base was always old-looking. I’ve talked about it before, but as a child I remember parts of the fort that are not open anymore (down below, under ground). In the 90’s anything attached was slowly removed and stripped, and a gutted concrete shell was left behind.

Which, if one looks across the sweeping, very wind-swept grass field, looks quite desolate in the morning fog off the water. It does look like an abandoned concrete relic. Come in spring, it is green and inviting 😉

But change is happening. It had been a couple of years since we had been to the park and it has changed. The grounds look better, the areas left open to explore are relatively clean and there was…..electric lights installed in some of them. With interpretive boards. Talking fancy and what not. Are the days of headlamps and flashlights numbered?

Well, the good news is the same graffiti I saw in 1989 the first time I moved to the island was still there. They haven’t gotten it that fancy …. Yet.

Alistaire on the steps to the smaller guns. This year he had fun climbing up and leaving Mom below.

Snowberries, starting to turn pink in the late summer.

Wild Rose Hips.

Late Aster.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse.

Looking up the west side of the island, towards the low area of Ebey’s Landing.

If one wants a gorgeous view and a picnic lunch, be sure to check out the many picnic tables by the lighthouse.

Afterwards, we drove down to the parking lot near the Coupeville Ferry. It is part of the state park as well, and while not sandy beaches, if you have kids who love tossing rocks and finding seaweed whips…and like to watch ferries this is the place. (The camping area for the state park is right on the water, on the other side of the ferry.)

Parking: You will need a state Discover Pass.