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A Pet Friendly Stay at Fort Worden State Park: Port Townsend, Washington

Continuing our theme of making Take Paws a showcase for people having fun traveling with their pets (that means you!), today we’re excited to have a guest post from Tiffani Waters, who – along with her husband and lucky dog, Lucy – lives full-time in an RV! (Evidence that we’re not the only crazy people out there.) They recently took a break from RV life and stayed at Fort Worden State Park near the beautiful and pet friendly Port Townsend, Washington. Thanks very much for the tour, Tiffani. I’m glad we’re heading back to Washington this summer so we can book a stay here!

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We live in our Airstream full-time — just the two of us and our 50lb dog Lucy. Once in a while when the Airstream goes in to the shop, or we just need to sleep in a King-sized bed for a night and remember what it’s like to have a soaking tub, we search out great pet friendly accommodations here in the Seattle area.

This year, we found the perfect place in Port Townsend, WA at the Fort Worden State Park! This 19th century former military base is now a state park with over 400 acres of land and two miles of saltwater shoreline. There are 35 housing units inside the park – all remodeled officers’ quarters – ranging in size from six bedroom houses to smaller apartments. They come complete with everything you need, and four of the units are pet-friendly! The houses are arranged around a very large open field to run and play in, and just a short walk from the beach if your pets prefer the water.

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

As we all know, pet friendly has a variety of meanings … and often comes with a wide range of rules and fees. At Fort Worden, I was delighted with the whole experience for the additional $30 pet fee. You can bring up to two pets, with no weight restrictions. They just ask that you bring your own water and food bowls, and that each pet be up to date on their shots (but we never had to provide the paperwork to prove it).

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

When we got to our apartment, Lucy was greeted with her own box of goodies and a welcome note. Included were extra towels for wiping off sandy feet after walking on the beach, extra sheets for covering the furniture if your dog is used to sleeping on the couch, wheat-free dog treats, and the piece de resistance … a Canine Hardware Travel Dog Bed.

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

If you knew us and our Airstream travels, you’d know about our dog bed woes as well. The short of it is, Lucy won’t sleep on any bed we buy her. So imagine my surprise when she not only slept on this bed, but she wouldn’t get off of it! When we left, I asked about buying it – but as the welcome letter says, the beds have to stay behind!

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

Sniffing Around the Neighborhood

Downtown Port Townsend is just a few miles from Fort Worden and the main street has some great people watching and shopping opportunities. We didn’t find any stores that welcomed dogs inside, but a lot of places had water bowls set outside and spots to tie up your leash if you wanted to pop in. It has a very small town feel — and obviously owners feel safe enough to leave their lovable companions hanging out in the car.

Fort Worden State Park - Port Townsend, WA

Photo Copyright: Tiffani Waters

On another note, the staff at Fort Worden was great. They made sure we had everything we needed and that the dog welcome basket was there when we arrived. You can also take advantage of their free breakfast in the mess hall (which actually is more like a very cool coffee shop), and serves everything from hot oatmeal to soy mocha lattes. Between the beach, really wonderful accommodations, and the hiking trails, we would definitely stay again!

Author Bio: Tiffani, along with her husband Deke and Australian Shepard/Border Collie rescue Lucy, are live in their Airstream outside Seattle, WA. Their travels have taken them across the country, and this summer, they’ll be Airstreaming right into Canada for the first time. Watching out for pet friendly campgrounds and hotels (when the Airstream is in the shop) has become an important part of their journeys — because if the dog isn’t happy, nobody’s happy! You can read more about their trips on their blog or on their Facebook page.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • Brian, I absolutely feel your pain. My own dogs are afraid of other dogs, and I also find it infuriating to be approached by off-leash dogs in on-leash areas. This is quite an old post (2013) and was written by a guest author on my blog. At the time my understanding was that North Beach (which borders Fort Worden) did allow dogs to be off-leash. I’m not sure if that’s still the case or not. Regardless, I completely agree with your sentiment that dog owners need to follow the rules for the safety and comfort of everyone (including other dogs like yours and mine). Thank you for your note.

  • For all WA State Parks including Fort Worden and Fort Townsend the following rules apply:Pets are allowed in most state parks but must be under physical control at all times on a leash no more than eight feet long.Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.Pets are not permitted on designated swimming beaches.My dogs were raised out in the country and are not used to being around other dogs. Niether has ever bitten anybody or any dogs and I keep them on a leash AT ALL TIMES. Nothing irritates me more than when I try to walk them in an area that requires owners to keep their dogs on a leash but people don’t follow the rules. I have been approached many times (and bitten once) by dogs that “are fine off leash” who then acted aggressively towards my dogs. My older dog is 13 years old now and can’t really defend himself.PLEASE LEARN TO FOLLOW THE RULES!!!!!

  • Good to know, Lorilee! We adore Port Townsend – in fact, we had dinner there just last night!

  • The Bishop Victorian and Swan Hotels are also pet friendly and provide a bed, basket of toys and treats. When the Airstream is in the shop or just for the fun of it try us out in Port Townsend in the heart of the Historic District

  • There are n number of pet friendly accommodations in NYC, if you are considering to have one the you can check into a number of travel agents. Also the best extended stay accommodations in NYC is at http://www.hotelalexandernyc.com/.

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