While it may not have the historical pedigree of nearby Fort Worden, the Fort Townsend is a fascinating stop if you are touring the area, and the campground here can be a great option for longer-term explorations of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. Fort Townsend began as an Army post designed to protect early settlers. Built in 1856, the fort closed by 1859 because the garrison was transferred and the grounds became unfit for service; the fort reopened in 1874, but 20 years later a fire destroyed the barracks. The area saw some use during World War II before the state acquired the land in 1953.
Currently this 367-acre park has 6.5 miles of trails, three-quarters of a mile of shoreline on Port Townsend Bay, moorings, day use facilities, a large event center, and a campground that is the park's main attraction. The campground consists of 40 sites distributed into two loops: a tent loop and an RV loop. In spite of the designation, there are no hookups in the Fort Townsend Campground, though a dump station is located near to the RV loop. Sites in the tent loop tend to be slightly smaller, though they are still large enough for a tent or two, and there is good amount of shelter provided by the dense tree canopy and understory. Sites in the RV loop are slightly more exposed, though they still enjoy shade. All sites include picnic tables and firepits. There is one restroom with a shower that is located in the tent loop; another restroom lies near the end of the road leading out to the Friend's Barn, which is the park's event center, and the amphitheater.
One of the campground's main attractions is the group camping area located near the Torpedo X-ray Tower. This enormous area can accommodate up to 80 people and is slightly removed from the other camping areas, so it definitely has its own identity. There are four hiker/biker sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but all other sites, including the group site, are available by reservation. The group camp has its own reservation line: 360.385.3595. While this campground may not get the traffic that other nearby campgrounds receive, reservations are still highly recommended in peak season and on weekends. Note that, while the park is open year round from 8 a.m. to dusk, the campground is closed from October 15 through April 1, and water supplies to the day use areas are also shut down during this time.