With summer in full swing, a family getaway may be on your mind. Don’t let the beautiful weather pass you by – planning the perfect vacation for the whole family is a breeze at Kure Beach. From kayaking on the river to coming eye-to-eye with a sea turtle at the aquarium, there are plenty of activities to entertain each member of the family.

Read on for five of our favorite summer finds in Kure Beach:

Sea What’s Swimming

Take the whole family under the sea at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to discover unique habitats and animals from North Carolina and around the world. Watch sharks swim with rays and eels. Meet a sea turtle, a rescued bald eagle, a rare albino alligator and a family of Asian small-clawed otters. For an even more immersive experience, reach out and touch sea stars and horseshoe crabs with your own two hands! Afterward, drop by the aquarium’s Adventure Reef outdoor playground area to climb, build, swing, jump and pretend in a natural space. Be sure to book tickets in advance to ensure your spot.

A Pier-fect Day

The Kure Beach Fishing Pier, a family-friendly, 711-foot pier, offers a spectacular view spanning miles of coastline and promises the best sunset views around. Grab your own rod and reel or get yourself some new gear at the on-site bait shop to see what you can catch. When you’re done, cool off with ice cream from the concession stand – you might even want to leave time to get in a round of games at the arcade – or a cold beverage from Happy Hippies Java Hut, located just steps away from the pier. Be sure to try their signature Mermaid Magic drink!

Cross the street to find Kure Beach’s largest public green space, Ocean Front Park. The younger kids will love the play area equipped with pirate ship play equipment, and the whole family can stretch their legs with a relaxing stroll along the walking path. Most days the pavilion has something unique to offer, whether it’s a farmer’s market, yoga session or Turtle Talk, an educational discussion about local nesting sea turtles. Be sure to check the calendar to see what is scheduled.

Natural Wonders

Stroll down the shoreline and adventure along winding forest trails at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. The maritime forest is prime for birdwatching with a variety of different kinds to spot, and if you head over to the shore, you might even catch sight of a loggerhead sea turtle, piping plover or another rare or protected species. For a fascinating glance into history, follow the trails through the marsh to discover an authentic World War II bunker. The state park is also home to six miles of undisturbed beach. And after all, what could be better than the beach in the summertime?

Dig deeper into the history of the area with a visit to Fort Fisher State Historic Site, the location of the Civil War’s largest amphibious battle. It is also home to the remaining portion of the gigantic Fort Fisher earthworks, a restored palisade fence and an impressive seacoast gun. Just off the coast of Fort Fisher lies a rare natural beauty: the coquina rock formation, a distinctive mossy hard rock outcropping dating back thousands of years. Cemented together by seashells and coral, this natural wonder is only visible during low tide. It’s also a great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset if you time it right.

A Paddlin’ Good Time

Grab a paddle and venture out along the Cape Fear River to Shark Tooth Island with expert help from the experienced staff at Kayak Carolina. Beginners will be taught basic kayaking skills, and more experienced kayakers can paddle out at their own pace. Once you arrive at the uninhabited island, you’ll get the chance to explore the sandy beaches that are ripe for collecting unique seashells and much-coveted shark teeth.

Sport-Lover’s Heaven

For sport-loving families, make sure to plan an afternoon of friendly competition at Joe Eakes Park. With baseball, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts open to the public, all you need is your favorite ball and a pair of sneakers! The picnic tables are a great place to refuel, and the playground is sure to entertain the little ones. Don’t forget to bring a frisbee to try out the 18-hole disc golf course for an unconventional sports experience.

No matter what activities you choose, make the most of your summer with all the family-friendly fun you can find in Kure Beach!