Solitude and Adventure Close to Seattle
Less than two hours from Seattle and 20 minutes from Port Townsend, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island is a great option to find solitude even on a hot summer day.
A former harbor defense fort designed to keep invaders out of Puget Sound, Flagler was established in 1898 and was active through World War 2. It was turned over to the State Parks in the early 1950’s.
The park has camping, rental facilities and day use options which includes its mostly unknown beaches that wrap around Marrowstone Head from east to west.
You can access the beaches from two roads:
Follow Battery Wansboro Road near the park’s entry to its end and park. A short path takes you to the beach. A old Quartermaster’s Dock was at this location until a few years ago when it was removed.
Go left towards the Lighthouse or right to head south down the east side of Marrowstone Island.
Or access Marrowstone Point and the Lighthouse via Marrowstone Point Road. Park on the right, then access the beach directly by your car, or walk north across the salt marsh below the bluff to access the north end of Marrowstone Point. A somewhat hidden path leading up the hill will take you to Battery Lee and the larger bluff above. There are restrooms at the main parking area.
The park’s beaches are a combination of sand, gravel and small rocks. From the east, enjoy views of Whidbey Island and mid-Puget Sound to the south. From the lighthouse and the north beach area, you’ll see Port Townsend and Whidbey Island. Fort Flagler’s sister fort, Fort Casey can be seen directly across along with the Keystone Ferry terminal.
The park is also a great option for dog owners looking for no crowds and great exploring for your and your pup.
Fort Flagler is open all year but camping is only open in summer. Paddle and camp there all year via the Cascadia Marine Water Trail run by the WA Water Trails Association. Use my book “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans” to plan a paddling trip to the fort.
Parking. A Discovery Pass or a day pass are required to park there.
Address: 10541 Flagler Road. Nordland, WA 98358 / Phone: (360) 385-1259 Bring a Discovery Pass for parking.
For ferry info, get the WSDOT app to track ferries, camera views of ferry parking lots and ferry schedules. Ferry traffic is lighter Oct-May. Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming WA State Ferry Travel Guide.
Like any Puget Sound beach, make sure to time for the tides. Get the NOAA tides app to keep track.
Pack some essential items such as water, sun block, an energy snack and a head lamp to make your walk or hike more pleasant.