Fort Casey State Park
Once a part of the Iron Triangle that guarded the entrance to the Puget Sound and the Bremerton Naval Shipyard, Fort Casey has long since seen the retirement and meltdown of the 10-inch disappearing carriage guns that stood sentinel there during the turn of the 20th century.
Nowadays it is home to Fort Casey State Park (12901 Hwy. 20, 360/679-7391, www.parks.wa.gov) that not only gives a glimpse into Army life back in the day but also offers spectacular Olympic views along two miles of beach, as well as prime picnic grounds and hiking trails.
Much of the fort is open for public viewing, including ammunition bunkers, observation towers, and underground storage facilities (bring your flashlight). Military buffs will especially get a kick out of two carriage guns brought in from an old fort in the Philippines during the 1960s to replace the originals.
Be sure to visit the Admiralty Point Lighthouse Interpretive Center (11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sun. June–Sept., with reduced hours the rest of the year) where you can learn more about coast artillery and the 1890 defense post. The lighthouse itself has not been used since 1927, but you can climb to the top for a wonderful view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
A small and crowded campground (360/678-4519, www.parks.wa.gov, $22 for tents, $27 for RVs with hookups) at Fort Casey is open year-round and has showers. These exposed sites are right on the water next to the busy ferry terminal. No reservations are accepted, so get here early to be assured of a site on summer weekends.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition