Perfect for families, history buffs and ocean enthusiasts alike, Kure Beach is home to two of the state’s most popular attractions: the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Fort Fisher State Historic Site. Both the aquarium and historic site and museum have reopened after the state’s recent easing of restrictions in the move to Phase 3 permitting 50% capacity in admissions. Featuring programs and exhibits that will both educate and entertain, these must-visit attractions are great indoor and outdoor options for things to do. Discover all Kure Beach has to offer on your next escape. 

Explore Marine Life and More 

Spend the day exploring oceanic environments and marine wildlife at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Dive in to explore a variety of indoor exhibits like the Pacific Reef habitat or the Shark Tooth Ledge habitat. Connect with the aquatic world and discover salt marshes, tidal pools and creatures like stingrays and loggerhead sea turtles. Visit the aquarium’s Fresh Water Conservatory to meet Luna, a rare albino alligator, and to learn more about the beginnings of the new “Otters on the Edge” exhibit. Soon to be the home of Asian small-clawed otters, guests can currently check out the streams, waterfalls and log slide before the exhibit fully opens.  


Find outdoor adventures for the whole family by following the Aquarium’s bike path to the Nature Play area, open daily for fossil digs, playground fun and more. Kids will love climbing and playing at the aquarium’s playground, Adventure Reef. Explore the outdoor garden to find Maverick, a rescued bald eagle, in his new home equipped with a natural area and decking built specifically for the raptor’s abilities. You might even catch him sunbathing in the stream! 


In order to ensure that guests have the best and safest experience possible, the aquarium has put various measures in place including contactless ticketing and limited guest capacity to assist with physical distancing. Tickets are currently available for online purchase only, so be sure to visit the aquarium’s website to secure your arrival time and date in advance. Safer operating procedures also include increased disinfection and cleaning of the facility, pausing daily programs like tours, dive shows and public feedings, as well as a face mask requirement for all guests and staff. 


Explore Island History 

Take a step back in time at Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum to discover the Kure Beach of generations past. Learn about the site of the Civil War’s largest amphibious battle and visit the museum to see replicas of blockade runners, weapons and timelines of history. Begin your visit at the Visitor Center’s indoor auditorium with a 10-minute audiovisual program telling the story of Fort Fisher, currently limited to one-third of total occupancy. Continue exploring all of the exhibits, including the newest installation, “From Slave to Soldier, Free a Man,” which details the African American experience at Fort Fisher.  


Explore the site’s outdoor areas along trails, monuments and outdoor exhibits. Head out on the one-quarter mile long scenic trail to discover the remaining 10% of the earthen fortification and discover exhibit panels along the way containing photos and historical information. See an impressive reconstruction of a 32-pounder seacoast gun at Shepherd’s Battery, along with a restored palisade fence.  


Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum has enacted new procedures to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors, including limiting visitors to 50% capacity and requiring the use of face masks to enter the Visitor Center and historic structures. High touch public areas and restrooms are undergoing more frequent cleanings and have hand sanitizer stations for easy use, as well as protective barriers at sales counters and information desks. Visit Tuesday through Saturday for free admission for the entire family. 


Kure Beach is the perfect destination for a safe and affordable escape with activities for the whole family to enjoy. Find more ideas for a quick and affordable trip to Kure Beach this autumn.