Sleep Somewhere But Where Exactly? Camp At Port Townsend WA
Camp at Port Townsend WA, but where exactly? You’d like to spend a few days there since you plan to visit Olympic National Park, you’d like to overnight more or less in Port Townsend, and you’re mindful of your budget.
First things first.
Should you fit Port Townsend WA into a busy schedule at all?
Easy answer: YES. If you’re adventuring in the Olympics, absolutely, categorically, don’t miss out. This town is scenic, replete with stunning and sensitively-restored Victorian architecture, views across Puget Sound to Mount Baker, a picturesque harbor. It’s also a tad quirky.
Always a plus on Dusty Car Muddy Boots, there are plenty of walking opportunities, including in the downtown area, a historic fort, and along the shoreline. The photos in this post should provide you with reason enough to go there.
Okay, so where do you sleep?
Great question, and one which Muddy Boots spent waaaay too much time investigating.
It comes down to budget. Setting aside the many B&B’s—posh and otherwise—Victorian-themed hotels, and Puget-Sound-view strip motels, how easy is it to camp at Port Townsend WA?
3 offerings from nice to grubby basic….
#1 The campground in the harbor
Wonderful location, with yachts putting in and out, very easy access to downtown, breezes off Puget Sound.
However, Muddy Boots has never seen quite so many rigs squeezed into one square inch. The occupants looked like they were enjoying every minute, though. Actually, lounging in their lawn chairs with whirlygigs twirling aggressively, they looked quite smug because they’d scored a spot.
This campground—owned by the town—caters to RV’s. Tents are not permitted. Van sleeping? Who knows :0) In case you’re interested, click for fees and information. Given the attractive location, you’ll want to make a reservation.
#2 Fort Worden State Park
Fort Worden State Park has two campgrounds, one ho-hum and snugged into the woods, the other out on a spit that stretches towards the lighthouse. While the latter has inimitable scenery, Muddy Boots imagines that in a gale, the spit would be exactly the wrong place to hang out.
You check into the campgrounds as though checking in to a hotel, snooty staff ‘n all. A camper shouldn’t have to wear ironed jeans or pass a sniff test to earn a spot. Seriously: for a campground?
Don’t expect to get a place unless you have a reservation.
Do give yourself a chance to wander around Fort Worden, even if you can’t overnight there. It’s unique and interesting. If you’d like to explore the spit, there’s a fee.
Muddy Boots couldn’t square the expense of these state campgrounds with the budget. See Location, Location: Public Campground Savvy For Adventuring Seniors for the advantages of a federal campground vs. a state campground for holders of a National Park Senior Pass.
#3 Jefferson County Fairgrounds
Let it be said in advance that camping at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds was a creative option that looks more appealing on paper than in reality. However, beggars can’t be choosers.
At $17 for a tent site in 2016, the price was still a stretch for a hardcore cheapskate. But hey, the “grubby basic” shower came with the camper fee.
Beach access within a short drive offers spectacular walking (or an awesome sit) along the Puget Sound shoreline.
Plenty of spots
The Fairgrounds doesn’t take reservations, but it appears—from the brochure and by first-hand experience—there’s always room for one more camper. Translation: tent spots are microscopic.
There are hook-up sites available as well.
Budget notwithstanding, you might not want to pick demolition derby day. Just sayin’….
Read up before you stay at the Fairgrounds
You’ll need some basic comforts.
Since it’s a fairgrounds and not a purpose-designed campground, the turf is very uneven. Be sure to look at Brilliant! 3 Practical Ways To Light Your Campsite to figure out how to mark the humps and holes so you don’t trip or sprain an ankle.
Be forewarned that there’s a conspicuous shortage of picnic tables at tent sites… You’ll be lucky if you score one, and you’ll want to deftly retrieve your sit-upon from the car so you don’t get splinters on your butt. (One wonders if the picnic tables got smashed in the demolition derby.) Ideas about how to get yourself a cheek-protector are right here: 5 Ways To Sit On A Wet Bench.
Bottom line? Camp at Port Townsend WA, and have a great stay!
Almost forgot….check the forecast before you go. “Weather” might come in and hang around interminably. No need to ruin a great destination.
Photo credits. Featured image and top…Mount Baker and Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Tom Collins via Flickr. Point Wilson lighthouse seen from Battery Kinzie: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia. Port Townsend, two historic buildings…Jefferson County Courthouse: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Steven Pavlov via Wikimedia Commons. Victorian Downtown: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Joe Wolf via Flickr. Washington State Ferry between Port Townsend and Whidbey Island: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Tom Collins via Flickr.
More photo credits. Port Townsend harbor: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Terri Stewart via Flickr. State Campground and View of Point Wilson Lighthouse from north of Battery Stoddard: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Barek via Wikimedia. Fort Worden Parade Grounds and historic buildings: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia. Day Dreams Port Townsend WA: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Tom Collins via Flickr. Jefferson County Fair Demolition Derby Day: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Jeff Jackson via Flickr.