Get Outdoors

For the outdoor enthusiasts – check out all Fort Worden has to offer!

A “birders” delight:

  • Cruise around Protection Island Wildlife Refuge for sightseeing and wildlife viewing on the Puget Sound Express. The island contains one of the last 2 nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals use the island as a pupping and rest area, and elephant seals often haul out to molt there during the summer. Cruises are hosted by seasoned naturalist Roger Risley, who provides excellent commentary on the natural history of the island and the wildlife sighted. Bring binoculars in hopes of seeing loons, phalaropes, mergansers, merlins, bald eagles, aukets oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, murrelets, and many other migrating and resident species.

More information and seasonal hours at pugetsoundexpress.com or ptmsc.org.


Beachcombing & tide pooling:

  • Feel the sand beneath your toes and the warmth of the sun on your back as you scour the beach for treasures. Relax as you walk the miles of beautiful coastline searching for glimpses of crabs, sea anemones, heart shaped rocks, driftwood, and more.  Build a cairn on a large downed tree limb to delight future beach walkers or simply roll up your jeans and stick your toes in the cool water of the Sound.

Get involved in a beach cleanup or sign up for a low-tide walk, more information at ptmsc.org.


Take a hike down memory lane:

  • Walk the forested trails behind Fort Worden to explore “Memories Vault”, an acclaimed art installation funded by the Washington State Arts Commission. Take a guided tour with one of our knowledgeable volunteers at the Coastal Artillery Museum or simply reflect and read the poetry scrawled on the concrete pillars in the woods behind the main campus.

More information on guided history & nature walks at coastartillery.org or fwfriends.org.


Lawn games, water sports & more:

  • Fort Worden’s expansive campus provides miles of beaches and hiking trails along with tennis, petanque, and bocce courts, and croquet and horseshoes. Use lawn games as an opportunity to unwind, or for more serious players, have a tournament! Seasonal hours allowing, rent a bicycle, paddleboard or kayak at Port Townsend Paddlesports, located at by the pier at the beach.  

More information and seasonal hours at ptpaddlesports.com.


Explore the marine science of the Salish sea:

  • Discover the nearshore habitats of the Salish Sea in the Port Townsend Marine Science Center’s aquarium on the pier featuring local fish and invertebrate species. View plankton through a microscope! Touch an anemone! Then, head over to the museum to learn the compelling story of an orca named Hope, one of only six fully articulated orca whale skeletons on display in the United States. Engage with interactive displays and videos that explore the human impact on the Salish Sea eco-system.

More information and seasonal hours at ptmsc.org.

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