Fort Casey Historical State Park
CLOSURE NOTICE: The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is CLOSED for renovations through August 2020. Temporary exhibits and a lighthouse gift shop will be open at the Fort Casey Park Office in May 2020. For days and hours of operation, see the lighthouse information listed below under Activities.
Close your eyes and imagine Fort Casey as it must have been 100 years ago, filled with eager young soldiers, officers, mechanics and staff. Stand at the Admiralty Head lighthouse or in a cliff-side gun battery and scan the horizon, as the enlisted men must have done during World Wars I and II.
Fort Casey, Fort Worden and Fort Flagler together were known as the "Triangle of Fire," a trio of strategically placed fortifications defending the entrance to the Puget Sound at the turn of the 20th Century.
Constructed in the late 1800s, Fort Casey was equipped for defense and used as a training facility up to the mid-1940s. The fort houses 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. Two additional 3-inch mounted guns are also on display in their original emplacements. You can explore these batteries to your heart’s content.
So round up your family, friends and history buffs, and step back in time to Fort Casey Historical State Park. From the romantic 1903-vintage lighthouse, with its own interpretive center and gift shop, to the catacomb-like bunkers and batteries, this historic military fort is sure to ignite curiosity.
Fort Casey Historical State Park is a 999-acre marine camping park with 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound (Admiralty Inlet); it includes Keystone Spit, a 2-mile stretch of land separating Admiralty Inlet and Crocket Lake.
Automated pay station: This park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass.
Please note: U.S. Navy jets from nearby Naval Air Station Whidbey Island may fly over the campground at any time for several hours. 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. Although State Parks cannot be responsible for the jet noise, we do share visitor concerns with representatives of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
- Picnic area
Use our interactive ADA recreation map to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities.
Picnic & day-use facilities
The park offers 68 unsheltered picnic tables. Picnic sites are first come, first served.
- 1.8 miles of hiking trails
The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) is a 1,200-mile-long footpath through some of the most spectacular and scenic terrain in the United States. It stretches between the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Olympic National Park and the Rocky Mountains in Montana, connecting the varied landscapes and communities of the Pacific Northwest.
While visiting Fort Casey State Park, you can hike along the shores of the Admiralty Head Marine Preserve on the Pacific Northwest Trail. You might be inspired to visit the PNT in four other Washington state parks, or even to see it all! Every year, adventurous backpackers from around the world attempt to walk the entire trail. In summer, these thru-hikers will spend an evening camping in the state park before continuing on their long-distance journeys. To plan your trip on the Pacific Northwest Trail, visit online www.pnt.org.
Water activities & features
- Diving at Keystone Underwater Dive Park
- Fishing (saltwater)
- Watercraft launch
Other activities & features
- Park store
- Beach exploration
- Bird watching
- One fire circle
Admiralty Head Lighthouse and gift shop hours
The lighthouse is currently CLOSED for renovation through mid-July 2020.
School group tours and activities
Group tours are unavailable until further notice.
To request a tour or activity for your school or group, complete the tour request form or call (360) 678-1186.
Exhibits at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse tell the history of the area around Fort Casey Historical State Park. Topics include local Native American tribes, the building of the Red Bluff Lighthouse, two fourth order Fresnel lens and the construction of Fort Casey.
Guided tours of the gun batteries at Fort Casey State Park are offered from May 25 to Sept. 3. The 45-minute tours are led by the Fort Casey Volunteer Battalion. 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.
- The park contains a designated remote-control glider area and a parade field popular for kite-flying.
- The lighthouse is open seasonally. Tours can be arranged by calling (360) 678-1186.
- A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Printable park brochure (PDF).
SERVICES & SUPPLIES
Firewood and ice are available for sale in the campground. Snacks, water, t-shirts and souvenirs are available for sale at the park office.
Located in Island County on Puget Sound, Fort Casey has a saltwater watercraft launch next to the Keystone ferry terminal.
Launching a boat at a state park requires one of the following:
- An annual launch permit (Natural Investment Permit); or
- An annual Discover Pass and a daily launch permit; or
- A one-day Discover Pass and a daily launch permit. A pay station to purchase a launch permit is available next to the watercraft launch area. Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available.
Latitude: 48° 9'29.68" N
Longitude: 122°40'16.52" W
The park offers 22 standard campsites, 13 partial-hookup sites with water and electricity and one restroom with showers. Utility sites 26-35 are located in the inner circle of the campground, and utility sites 17-20 are beachfront pull-through sites. Maximum site length is 40-feet (limited availability). Campsites are located next to the Coupeville (Keystone) Ferry Terminal. See park map for details.
Reservations & fees
Fort Casey was constructed by the U.S. Army in the late 1800s; it was equipped for defense and used as a training facility up to the mid-1940s. At its inception, the fortification on Whidbey Island was part of a new national defense system, to protect U.S. coasts and waterways.
Soldiers were stationed at Fort Casey from 1899 to 1945. The fort’s 10-inch disappearing guns and other modern weapons were the height of technology in the early 20th century, as were the fort’s plotting rooms, observation stations and communications systems.
Improvements in warships and the rise of the airplane soon rendered these forts obsolete, however. By the 1920s, their effectiveness had waned and, though Fort Casey stayed open for training through World War II, it was decommissioned soon after the end of the war.
Fort Casey is the home of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, which sits 127 feet above the waterway where Puget Sound meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The original light station was built between 1859 and 1860 and, though the buildings that made up the first light station were regularly maintained, the project engineers deemed them inadequate. In 1900, they were moved to another location on the fort. The location of the light station was also moved, as the original site stood in the firing path of a new battery proposed for Fort Casey.
The lighthouse that stands today was finished in 1903, a two-story building of Italianate Revival design, which included the light keeper’s residence. In 1922, the lighthouse was discontinued, after being downgraded in 1919 for its lesser navigational value compared to the lighthouses at Point Wilson and Marrowstone Point.
Washington State Parks acquired Fort Casey in 1955.