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Ways to Experience History and Natural Beauty in Kure Beach

Explore history and natural beauty in Kure Beach

Ways to Experience History and Natural Beauty in Kure Beach

Kure Beach is the site of several key events in U.S. history, particularly during the Civil War. Many of Kure Beach's historic sites are now popular tourist attractions teeming with stories and natural beauty.

Here, Kure Beach's notable locals share their recommendations for unique historical experiences in Kure Beach.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Recommended by: John Moseley, Randy McQuay, Carmin Black

Fort Fisher State Historic Site

Fort Fisher State Historic Site was a Confederate fort that protected Wilmington during the Civil War and it was the site of several key battles.

Wilmington was one of the most important ports for the Confederacy and Fort Fisher kept Wilmington’s trade routes open to blockade runners, vessels that smuggled supplies into the South.

Today, Fort Fisher State Historic Site is overseen in part by local John Moseley. Visitors can explore the main fort structure and learn more about Kure Beach’s history at the History Museum and Visitor's Center. “We have so much history to explore here,” says John.

Fort Fisher Historic Site

The land around Fort Fisher State Historic Site is also worth seeing. “Out at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area in Kure Beach, there are tons of live oak trees that are like hypnotizing,” says local musician Randy McQuay. “I think that when people head to Fort Fisher and find those trees, they're pretty captivated by it.”

The beauty of the area makes its history resonate even more. Carmin Black of HALF UNITED says, “When you climb these sand dunes, you think about how many people fought right on this ground. It marked a really poignant time in history and it’s right here in our hometown, just outside of Wilmington.”

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Recommended by: Tony Silvagni, Julie Johnson, Sam Romano, Craig Love

Fort Fisher Aquarium

A mile south of Fort Fisher State Historic Site is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The aquarium is home to stingrays, eels, jellyfish, and more wondrous creatures and will delight visitors of any age. Sam Romano of Seaview Crab Company says, “The aquarium is a cool place to visit.”

“There are definitely a few things that make our aquarium unique,” says Julie Johnson.

"We work in the environment we’re representing, so we have beautiful views, and it really helps people appreciate the beauty of our area."

"In terms of animals, we have a couple of resident alligators that are in our care, one of them being our albino alligator named Luna. We also have a rehabilitated but non-releasable bald eagle with a wing injury and a green tea turtle, Shelldon.”

North Carolina's First Heritage Dive Site

For a totally immersive experience, divers can take self-guided tours of a Civil War-era blockade runner off the shores of Kure Beach.

The Condor is preserved in shallow water right off the beach at Fort Fisher. Craig Love of Surf House Oyster Bar & Surf Camp sums up the Fort Fisher experience saying, “The aquarium is down on the southern tip of Kure Beach, and seeing that little area of the island is definitely worth it.”