Parks & Nature
Experience Beauty and Wildlife in Nature's Paradise
As one of North Carolina’s most undeveloped beaches with beautiful, natural surroundings for miles, shell seekers, bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and eco-adventurers all find respite at Kure Beach. Relax at the Ocean Front Park, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area or Zeke’s Island Reserve, or participate in a variety of activities at one of Kure Beach’s scenic parks.
Take a boat or guided kayak tour over to Zeke’s Island Reserve and explore the lagoon-like habitat, a sanctuary to many different shorebirds as well as other coastal wildlife. The estuarine reserve made up of a collection of isolated islands, provide visitors with miles of pristine shorelines. Featuring several different habitats, including tidal flats, salt marshes, shrub thicket, maritime forest, sand dunes and ocean beach, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities include kayaking, hiking, shelling, fishing and birdwatching.
Spend the afternoon at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area where you can enjoy six miles of undeveloped shoreline and observe undisturbed wildlife. Families and friends can observe species like Loggerhead sea turtles, partake in fishing along the shore, experience the natural wonder of the coquina rock formation at low tide, or check out the Basin Trail, a hike that leads you through salt marshes and a maritime forest. For unforgettable sunset views, grab a day-permit and hop your four-wheel-drive vehicle to experience the south end.
Fort Fisher State Recreation Area offers extraordinary opportunities for bird watching along its several miles of trails through maritime forest, as well as marshes and beaches. In the forests, birders can find warblers, Loggerhead Shrike, the mockingbird-sized shrike and the world’s fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon. On the ocean side, Red-throated Loons, brightly-billed Surf Scoters and American Oystercatchers – one of the only birds that feed primarily on shellfish – are among the species likely to be spotted.
Grab a paddle and set out on a kayak adventure to Shark Tooth Island with Kayak Carolina. The staff expertly teaches beginners to safely navigate the Cape Fear River while experienced kayakers are able to paddle ahead at their own pace. Once you arrive, relish a break on the uninhabited island that’s home to seashells and much-coveted shark teeth. Kayak tours and rentals are also offered through Pleasure Island Rentals and Paddle NC.
Learn about different species of sea turtles from Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project volunteers during weekly Turtle Talks. Volunteers patrol Kure Beach and nearby Carolina Beach during nesting season and aim to keep sea turtles safe after hatching. If you’re interested in their work, summer Turtle Talks take place every Monday night at Kure Beach’s Ocean Front Park.
Located in the heart of Kure Beach, Ocean Front Park and Pavilion is the town’s largest public green space, offering beautiful ocean views. Children love to romp and play in the playground that features a pretend pirate ship on which to adventure. Adults can stroll along the oceanfront boardwalk that extends down Atlantic Avenue, lined with swings perfect for two. The park also features an open-air pavilion where concerts, weddings and family-friendly events including Boogie in the Park concerts and Storytime by the Sea are held at times throughout the year.
For activities the whole family will enjoy, venture to Joe Eakes Park where you can play a round of disc golf, a game of bocce ball, tennis or basketball. Kids can play, swing, slide and climb around at the large playground. The Gurney Hood Barking Lot dog park within Joe Eakes Park is an oasis for your furry friends to run and play.