As an oasis for reconnecting with family and embracing your imaginative side, Kure Beach invites spontaneity. Thanks to activities that don’t require advance planning or reservations, it’s convenient to hit the road for a stress-free escape to the kind of beach town you visited as a kid.
Blast from the Past
Immerse yourself in the area’s rich history at Fort Fisher State Historic Site. Home to the largest land and sea battle of the Civil War, visitors can explore the South’s largest earthen fort and the historic battle site, which features a reconstructed 32-pound seacoast gun and a restored palisade fence. Go for a leisurely walk along the site’s scenic trails and follow the interpretive signs detailing the site's history, then take a break to relax in the shade of the site’s gnarled live oaks.
Exciting upgrades are coming to Fort Fisher State Historic Site, as construction of a new 20,000-square-foot Visitor Center is underway. Tripling the existing facility’s size, the upcoming expansion includes a new orientation theatre and additional exhibit space. Read more about the changes here.
A Rare Natural Wonder
Let your curiosity lead you to Kure Beach’s coquina rock formation. This rare and distinctive mossy hard outcrop is only visible at low tide and has been shaped over thousands of years through weathering and cementation of seashells and coral. Find the formation by entering the beach near the Ocean Dunes Condos right before you reach Fort Fisher. It's the perfect spot for observing marine life like sea stars, hermit crabs and conchs.
Fresh Air for the Soul
Take advantage of Kure Beach’s naturally beautiful surroundings by spending time outdoors at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. Explore nearly 6 miles of pristine shoreline. Then hike the Basin Trail through salt marshes and a maritime forest, passing a WWII-era bunker that was once the home of the legendary Fort Fisher Hermit. Keep an eye out for undisturbed wildlife, including rare bird species nesting along the shore.
Stretching 711 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, the century-old Kure Beach Fishing Pier allows visitors to take in miles of coastline views. Cast a line for a nominal fee without the need for a fishing license. Don’t fret about bringing your own gear – the pier’s Bait Shop and Store sells tackle and bait, and also rents rod and reel combos. Refresh and recharge as you stroll along the pier (free for non-fishers), breathe in the ocean air and try your hand at reeling in a big catch.
Ocean Front Park and Pavilion, a public green space in the heart of Kure Beach, combines kid-friendly fun with stunning ocean views. Children can release some energy on the playground, which features a pretend pirate ship, and adults can enjoy a peaceful stroll down the park’s oceanfront boardwalk.
For a heart-pumping outdoor experience, Joe Eakes Park offers volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, a baseball field and a free 18-hole disc golf course for pros and newbies alike. Bring your own equipment for a friendly game in the park with your family, or old and newfound friends. Pack a sandwich or takeout from a local restaurant for a picnic at the park’s tables and benches.
Since 1965, Big Daddy’s Restaurant has earned its standing as a town favorite thanks to its delicious fare and casual atmosphere, which includes patio seating. The family-owned restaurant serves fresh seafood, steak, burgers and salads for lunch and dinner in the summer months and is open on the weekends for dinner in the off-season. Try their signature Calabash-style seafood.
Voted “Most Romantic” dining spot year after year, Freddie’s Restaurant is known for its wide variety of Italian and American favorites complemented by an impressive wine selection and full bar. Settle into a comfortable booth and dig into dishes like the Chicken Florentine, Shrimp Scampi, Mushroom Ravioli or Italian Gumbo.
Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill specializes in Caribbean-inspired dishes as well as locally influenced meals. Using the flavorful and colorful ingredients of the island, this casual restaurant delights visitors with dishes like the Cajun Chicken Alfredo and Blackened Salmon.
Located less than a 30-minute drive from Kure Beach, the historic riverfront city of Wilmington offers a convenient day trip. Stretching nearly 2 miles along the Cape Fear River, Wilmington's award-winning Riverwalk serves as a gateway to shopping, waterfront dining, river cruises and more. Nearby, explore the area's maritime history aboard the WWII-era Battleship NORTH CAROLINA. Named one of USA TODAY 10Best Reader's Choice Awards' "Best Museum Ships in the U.S.," this Wilmington landmark invites visitors to explore the vessel at their own pace or on a guided tour. Another must-see is the city's 230-plus-block National Register Historic District, which can be explored on a self-guided walking tour or a horse-drawn carriage ride.
Skip the stress of pre-planning by choosing Kure Beach as your destination for a spontaneous getaway. This rare gem welcomes those seeking to spend less time managing an itinerary and more time enjoying nature's playground and life's simple pleasures.