Discover Military & Maritime History at Kure Beach
Named one of 11 beaches in the world where history was made, Kure Beach is a top destination for history buffs and outdoor lovers alike. Kids’ programs, cannons and artifacts engage all in a history lesson like no other in a place like no other.
Site of the Largest Land-sea Battle
Explore one of the most influential battle sites of the Civil War. The largest land-sea battle of the Civil War was fought at Fort Fisher, near Kure Beach. Visit Fort Fisher State Historic Site to explore the South’s largest earthen fort and site of this historic battle. Approximately ten percent of Fort Fisher still stands along with a restored palisade fence. See an impressive reconstruction of a 32-pounder seacoast gun at Shepherd's Battery. All tours of the grounds begin in the visitor center which features an audiovisual program that presents the history of the fort. Meander along a scenic outdoor trail shaded by live oaks, featuring interpretive exhibit panels. Enjoy a family-friendly historic experience for multi-generations to enjoy.
North Carolina’s first Heritage Dive Site
Lying 700 yards offshore in 25 feet of water, the Civil War blockade runner Condor is North Carolina's first Heritage Dive site. The wreckage can be found just off the beach near the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. SCUBA divers can embark on a journey to the site where her full lower hull, engines, paddle wheels and boilers are all still in place. Maritime historians believe she is one of the best-preserved Civil War blockade runners found anywhere in the world. The Condor, along with the many other shipwrecks along the N.C. coast, is part of North Carolina’s rich maritime heritage.
The Oldest Fishing Pier on the East Coast
Originally built in 1923 by the son of Kure Beach founder Hans Kure, the historic Kure Beach Fishing Pier is the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast. Over the years, the wooden pier has been restored and rebuilt several times, morphing into the more than 700-foot long pier it is today. The pier is open 24 hours a day from Good Friday through the Sunday after Thanksgiving and is free to those not fishing. For those fishing for Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Drum, and more, a small fee covers your fishing permit for the day.
Explore a WWII Bunker
Visitors strolling along the two-mile Basin Trail will stumble across a WWII era concrete bunker, former home to the Fort Fisher Hermit, Robert Harrill. Harrill became a tourist attraction after he set up residence in the abandoned bunker in the 1970s and lived off food harvested from nearby salt marshes and oyster beds. The trail begins at Fort Fisher Recreation Area and weaves through a forest setting and along a salt marsh on its way to an overlook of the Basin of the Cape Fear River with Zeke's Island Reserve visible across the water.