Once upon a time, Fort Stevens was the primary military defense installation at the mouth of the Columbia River. From the Civil War until the end of World War II, it played a crucial role in ensuring the security of Oregon.
These days, the fort has been turned into a 4,300-acre park where visitors can get a taste of history, indulge in a host of recreational opportunities, and even go camping with their pet.
If you're a history buff, you'll love checking out displays ranging from throughout the fort's time as a working military installation at the military museum and information center. There are also several concrete coast artillery gun batteries to explore, and in summer, you can take a guided tour underground through a gun battery that also served as a World War II command center.
When you're done investigating the history of the site, why not set out to explore the park's six miles of hiking trails or nine miles of biking trails? The two-mile walk around Coffenbury Lake is a highlight, while the Oregon Coast Trail begins at the South Jetty and then continues along the beach.
Coffenbury Lake features two swimming areas if you need to cool off during the warmer months, as well as a boat ramp for those keen to get out on the water. Two smaller neighboring lakes are also available and offer excellent fishing and canoeing.
With 174 full-hookup sites, 302 electrical sites with water, and six tent sites with water nearby, the campground in Fort Stevens State Park is huge. Your dog is more than welcome to join you in the campground, and there are also seven yurts and five deluxe cabins that are pet-friendly. Please note that the state park brochure states that canine campers are welcome for an additional fee, although it is unclear exactly how much the fee is, so you may want to call ahead to confirm when booking. The day-use parking fee is $5.
Just make sure you stick to all posted rules regarding where your dog is and isn't allowed, and that you keep your pooch on a leash at all times. If you can also make sure to clean up after your dog whenever necessary, you're free to explore and enjoy this beautiful state park.