Experience incredible views and solitude at Fort Flagler on Washington's Marrowstone Island.
Fort Flagler is 1.5 hours from Seattle, at the northern tip of Marrowstone Island on the Olympic Peninsula.
Forg Flagler was built in the 1890s as part of the "Triangle of Fire" that guarded the entrance to Puget Sound and protected Seattle from invasion. Soldiers were stationed here up until the end of the Korean War in 1953.
To get to Fort Flagler from Seattle, take the 25-minute Bainbridge Island Ferry from Seattle's waterfront, then drive 1-hour north and cross a bridge to get to Fort Flagler.
Fort Flagler is a gem, offering visitors a true sense of peace and solitude with unsurpassed views of Puget Sound and the Cascades, with miles of trails, a military museum, tours, picnic tables, a playground, seasonal cafe, and more! Here's a useful map of the entire park.
On-leash dogs are allowed in most areas of Fort Flagler.
10 best things to do at Fort Flagler
1. Hike 8-miles of breathtaking beach and forest trails.
Here's a map of all the hiking trails at Fort Flagler, including 2-miles of coastal trails, and 8-miles of forested trails. Many of the trails pass historic buildings from this 19th century military fort, including an army barracks, Officers' Quarters, theater, dining hall and hospital.
Can you see snowcapped Glacier Peak in the distance? It's only one of two volcanoes in Washington State that has erupted in the last 15,000 years, and is still an active volcano.
The Marrowstone Point Light Station is visible from the northeastern bluff of Fort Flagler, and has an unusual design, perched on top of a square fog building. Unfortunately it's not open to the public, because it's still an active navigational aid.
The lighthouse keeper's buildings next to it, are currently occupied by the U.S. Geological Survey's Marrowstone Marine Field Station. What an incredible location!
Beautiful Whidbey Island is visible across the inlet, and during summer months a lot of cruise liners make their way up Admiralty Inlet, from Seattle.
2. Bring a flashlight, and explore secret tunnels, stairs and chambers at Fort Flagler!
Let your imagination run wild as you explore a fascinating network of 10 historic gun batteries at Fort Flagler. Grab a flashlight and walk through secret tunnels and dark chambers.
Follow the Bluff Trail, that passes 8 out of the 10 batteries at Fort Flagler, with soaring coastal views.
There are a lot of drop-offs at Fort Flagler, so be very careful.
These 19th century military bunkers were built into the hillside to avoid detection from the enemy.
These decaying structures are now a thing of beauty, like a magnificent outdoor sculpture, slowly being reclaimed by nature.
Wildlife spottings are common along the secluded trails at Fort Flagler, including deer and fawn.
3. Book a guided tour of the spooky old military hospital af Fort Flagler.
Take a tour of the three story 1905 military hospital at Fort Flagler (on the right). Tours are usually available between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
4. Visit the free military museum and gift shop at Fort Flagler.
The museum provides a fascinating overview of Fort Flagler's history, and there's also a gift shop. Check here for museum hours, usually open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here's virtual tour of the military museum.
5. See a gun emplacement demonstration.
Take a 1.5 to 2 hour tour of the gun emplacements at Fort Flagler, designed to fire at enemy warships. Check tours, usually available between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
6. Go to the lower campground at Kilisut Harbor, for the cafe, playground, pier, and picnic tables.
The lower campground overlooks the beach in the northwestern corner of Fort Flagler at Kilisut Harbor, and has a boating pier, playground, picnic tables and the seasonal Beachcomber Cafe with outdoor seating (1321 Flagler Campground Road). The upper campground has a more secluded location on a bluff.
The campgrounds have tent sites, hook-ups, restrooms and showers. Book here.
7. Stay overnight in a historic military building.
For a unique experience, stay at an 100 year old restored military building at Fort Flagler.
The loveliest buildings at Fort Flagler are the Non-Commissioned Officers' Quarters built in 1903, designed in the Colonial Revival style. These duplexes are available for overnight stays.
This cute little cottage is the Engineer's House, also available as a vacation rental.
8. Stop by the Marrowstone Vineyards for wine tasting.
Visit the nearby Marrowstone Vineyards for a wine tasting. It has an enchanting setting on Marrowstone Island, overlooking Admiralty Inlet, and there's an art gallery upstairs.
9. Visit charming Port Townsend.
Visit the charming nearby town of Port Townsend, with a historic main street, and hills lined with Victorian-era homes. Explore tasteful shops and restaurants, and stop by the Jefferson Museum of Art and History. Port Townsend is one of Washington State's most picturesque towns, and extremely popular in summer.
10. Combine a trip to Fort Flagler with a visit to nearby Fort Worden.
Visit nearby Fort Worden, once constructed to protect Puget Sound from sea invasion. It has an incredible location with soaring coastal views, and a pretty parade ground surrounded by dozens of well preserved military buildings.
There's so much to do here, including beautiful beaches, abandoned military bunkers to explore, hiking trails, and a museum. Kids will love the touch-pools at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (aquarium) at Fort Worden.
There are also two on-site restaurants at Fort Worden, including the popular Taps at the Guardhouse, which is an old jail converted into a pub.