The US is full of ghost towns but no two are alike, especially here in Washington. As we have waterfront everything, such as  parks, sail in movies, we also have waterfront ghost towns. Most notably, Fort Columbia, which also happens to be one of the most intact historic coastal defense sites in the nation.

The Fort is located on Chinook Point near the mouth of the Columbia River, it was constructed between 1896 and 1903, undergoing a renovation during World War II. It was eventually decommissioned in 1947 and today is a day-use park open to the public.

Fort Columbia is a ghost town in the sense that these days no one lives there, but luckily for all of us it has actually been maintained.

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The fort is on the smaller side but that means you get an intimate feel for what life was like during the Fort’s active years.

You can walk among officers’ homes, artillery batteries, and two rare 6-inch, rapid-fire, World War II-era guns that are among only six still in existence.


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If you want to get more in-depth you can visit the park’s interpretive center for artifacts, photos, and stories about exploration, the fur trade, and the military community on the Columbia.

Beyond exploration, you can also enjoy bird watching, forested hiking trails, secluded beaches, and two of the restored buildings are even available for rent if you feel like you want to come back for an extended period of time.