Ft. Washington – a little known National Park

Fort Washington on the banks of the Potomac, Maryland-side.


This last Sunday found us searching out a new place to see before we leave Washington DC. We decided to see a little known National Park in Maryland called Ft. Washington. Obviously, it was named for our first President and therefore, was built after he made himself famous. It was actually completed in 1809, destroyed a short time later, and rebuilt in 1824. It has undergone several renovations ever since. For it’s full history, I recommend visiting the National Park website.

We arrived early afternoon and were happy to enter with our National Park Pass. In case you didn’t know, military families get one for free. Just let the ranger know that you’re a military family, they’ll ask for some identification, and then the card is yours. It is good for an entire year and gains you entry into any park lands managed by the National Park Service.

Looking over a small part of the park from the fort itself.


The grounds at Ft. Washington are huge. You could probably walk for hours. We managed to fill a couple of hours admiring the old buildings, crawling around the old battlements, and just sitting on the hillside overlooking the river. We saw osprey flying high overhead as well as a few ravens and swallows. More birds sang in the thick forest but we didn’t enter. We just enjoyed their pretty songs. We brought our yerba mate and some cake to enjoy. We weren’t alone. Many families were picnicking, barbecuing, flying kites, and fishing. Despite all the people, the place didn’t feel crowded at all. I especially enjoyed watching the families walk down from the fort to the waterfront where they each passed an old storage bunker that looked more like a cottage out of The Hobbit. Every family with children must have agreed because the kids ran to the entrance to look inside and you could hear from their chatter that they expected some kind of magical experience. Maybe it’s another portal to an imaginary world?

I give this place two thumbs up! And it’s only 40 minutes outside of DC.

The entrance to the fort.

One of the pair of gears that help open and close the doors of the fortress.

Good view of the walls and of the Potomac.

View of the interior of the fort.

Detail of the building above. The windows above the door are especially beautiful.

The old fort interior, broken doors and all.

View of Ft. Washington from the river side.

The Hobbit Home.

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2 thoughts on “Ft. Washington – a little known National Park

  1. No we didn’t know military families get a park pass for free! This looks like a great time to visit too. Were you virtually alone out there – a little known gem in MD?

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    • Pretty close to alone… most folks were fishing by the water. Not many people were interested in touring the actual fort so our pics look relatively tourist free! I’m telling you, if you want to escape the crowds in the city, this is a good choice!

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