Imagination and curiosity converge with military and maritime history in Kure Beach, where signature state attractions and artifacts make it a go-to destination for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. History washes ashore in Kure Beach, promising an engaging history lesson like no other.

A Peek into the Past

Located at the southern end of Kure Beach lies one of the most influential battle sites of the Civil War, Fort Fisher State Historic Site. The location of the Civil War's largest land and sea battle, the site once again became an active military post during WWII, serving as the detached advanced anti-aircraft artillery training and firing site for nearby Camp Davis. Today, the remaining portion of the fort is open for visitors to explore. It stands as the South's largest earthen fort, featuring a restored palisade fence and a reconstructed 32-pounder seacoast gun.


Throughout the year, Fort Fisher State Historic Site hosts guided tours, where costumed guides narrate the stories of artillerymen and infantrymen. Participants experience the drill with wooden rifles and learn the non-firing artillery drill on a 12-pounder gun. Scenic trails wind through the site, shaded by gnarled live oaks, with exhibit panels providing insight into the history of the earthworks and guiding visitors around the fort's remains. The "Above the Scenes" tour is a unique experience that travels from the floor of the fort to the top of the traverses, giving visitors a different perspective from an elevated vantage point.

Diving Deeper

The remains of the Civil War blockade runner, Condor, lie about 700 yards off the coast of Kure Beach in approximately 25 feet of water. The wreckage is the first Heritage Dive Site in North Carolina and can be found near the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. SCUBA divers undertaking the journey to the site can observe the remnants of one of the best-preserved Civil War-era blockade runners (light, fast vessels used for evading naval blockades), including the remains of her full lower hull, engines, paddle wheels and boilers.


Trailing Through Time

Spanning 6 miles of protected shoreline from the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area features seashore and primitive trails, including the two-mile Basin Trail. The route travels through salt marshes, passing by a WWII-era concrete bunker that was once home to the legendary Fort Fisher Hermit, Robert Harrill. In the 1970s, Harrill became somewhat of a tourist attraction after settling in the abandoned bunker and lived off food harvested from nearby salt marshes and oyster beds. Nearby on the island, visitors can check out the mural inspired by Harrill in Carolina Beach. Today, the trail leads to an overlook at the basin of the Cape Fear River, where you can spot Zeke’s Island Reserve, an undisturbed habitat across the water.

Historic Wilmington

Located less than 30 minutes from Kure Beach, Wilmington's National Register Historic District is a testament to the area's rich historical roots. One of the largest and most picturesque historic districts in the South, it spans more than 230 blocks. Visit the Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design, built on the eve of the Civil War, or explore the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens for a glimpse into colonial life in Wilmington. Experience more of the area's historic homes and landmarks during a horse-drawn carriage tour with Springbrook Farms or embark on a walking tour with Tour Old Wilmington.


Discover the first park in the nation built to honor the United States Colored Troops (USCT) and their fight for freedom at the site of their Civil War victory at Cameron Art Museum, including Stephen Hayes' sculpture, "Boundless.” Book a tour on demand with WilmingtoNColor to learn more about 200+ years of the area’s African American history. Immerse yourself in WWII heritage aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, where you can uncover hidden nooks and crannies while learning about life on this storied ship. Journey further back in time and join the Wilmington Pirate Walk, where pirate tales, legends and lore of Wilmington come to life.


The peaceful atmosphere of Kure Beach serves as a gateway to fascinating historical sites, from the battle-worn remnants of Fort Fisher and sunken secrets off the coast to nearby Wilmington's captivating historic district. Visitors are invited to uncover the roots of the area's rich past and dive into the stories that shaped our coast.