Kure Beach Pier

20+ Great Things to Do in Kure Beach NC & Nearby

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Welcome to Kure Beach, North Carolina, a coastal haven where the waves whisper stories of maritime history and the shores invite endless exploration. As you delve into this charming town, you’ll find it’s a place where sun-kissed days blend seamlessly with starry nights, offering a perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.

In Kure Beach, the Atlantic Ocean isn’t just a backdrop; it’s a playground for both the young and the young at heart. Whether you’re here to feel the thrill of reeling in a fresh catch off the historic Kure Beach Fishing Pier or to immerse yourself in the vibrant undersea world at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, your experiences at Kure Beach are bound to be memorable.

Stroll along the scenic Fort Fisher State Historic Site, where whispers of the past meet the present. This hallowed ground, rich in Civil War history, offers a unique perspective on North Carolina’s heritage, making it more than just a beach – it’s a journey through time.

From the serene, unspoiled beaches to the friendly faces that greet you in local restaurants, Kure Beach embodies a spirit of community and simplicity. It’s a place where you can unwind, discover, and connect – with nature, history, and perhaps most importantly, with yourself.

So, pack your sense of adventure and a desire for tranquility, and join us in Kure Beach. We have such great memories of this beach; it was one of our first visits as a family, and we hope you enjoy it as well.

Things to Do in Kure Beach NC

Let’s dive into the things you can do while you are in Kure Beach.

1. Kure Beach Pier 

Address: 100 Atlantic Ave, Kure Beach, NC 28449

As you step onto the Kure Beach Pier, you’re not just walking on a wooden structure; you’re stepping into a slice of coastal history. This pier, one of the oldest on the Atlantic Coast, has been a favorite spot for both locals and visitors since the late 1920s. 

Kure Beach Pier entrance in Kure Beach NC

Feel the ocean’s rhythm underfoot and join the line of hopeful anglers casting into the rolling waves. Whether you’re here to fish or simply to enjoy a leisurely stroll, the Kure Beach Pier offers a unique vantage point to appreciate the vast Atlantic and the serene beauty of Kure Beach.

Kure Beach Pier

2. Fort Fisher State Historic Site 

Address: 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449

When you visit Fort Fisher State Historic Site, you’re not just exploring a picturesque stretch of North Carolina’s coast; you’re stepping into a page of Civil War history. This site, once a formidable Confederate fortress, played a significant role in the war, and was the last major coastal stronghold of the Confederacy. As you walk along the remains of the fort’s earthworks, you can almost hear the echoes of cannons and the march of soldiers.

Fort Fisher Canon on mound

A state-of-the-art visitor center is currently under construction, with its doors set to open by summer 2024. This new addition promises to enhance your journey through history, offering interactive exhibits and deeper insights into the fort’s strategic importance and the lives of those who fought here.

Imagine strolling through the same grounds where soldiers once stood, surrounded by the tranquility of the present yet connected to the echoes of the past. The site’s serene beaches and marshes offer a peaceful contrast to its storied past, allowing you a moment of reflection on the resilience and complexities of history.

Fort Fisher Boardwalk in Kure Beach NC

3. North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Address: 900 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Explore the underwater marvels at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Witness the impressive 235,000-gallon Cape Fear Shoals, home to sand tiger sharks, a sea turtle, stingrays, and a moray eel, all viewable through a unique bubble window. The aquarium celebrates new additions to its otter family, part of the AZA Species Survival Plan® Program, showcasing the playful nature of these vulnerable species.

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Jellyfish

Discover hands-on marine experiences at the Coquina Outcrop with stingrays, anemones, and urchins, emphasizing conservation and animal welfare. Meet unique residents like Maverick, the rescued bird; Luna, the albino American alligator; and her companion, Gantu, all symbolizing diverse conservation stories.

Loggerhead sea turtle conservation is highlighted through hatchlings like Pip and Scout, emphasizing the aquarium’s role in marine education. The newly introduced Caribbean Corals habitat offers a glimpse into a crucial ecosystem featuring a variety of fish and corals, evolving for returning visitors.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a hub for marine discovery and conservation, providing an immersive journey into the aquatic world.

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher Sign

4. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Address: 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Known for its four-wheel-drive beach access, it’s a haven for surf fishing enthusiasts. Spanning six miles of protected shoreline from the ocean to the river, the area covers over 288 acres of diverse landscapes, including pristine seashores and marshland trails.

Sign for Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers are drawn to the salt marsh, where a trail leads to an observation deck offering stunning views of Zeke’s Island and the Cape Fear River. This natural habitat, rich in wildlife, is a prime spot for birdwatching year-round.

Loggerhead sea turtles and piping plovers, both rare and protected species, nest along the sandy shores, making it a significant site for conservation. The park’s historical allure is enhanced by the presence of a WWII bunker, once the home of the legendary Fort Fisher Hermit.

Additional amenities include 24-hour pedestrian beach access, a nearby boat ramp, a paddling launch, an Exhibit Hall, changing areas, and a shaded picnic area with grills. Dogs on leashes are welcome on the beach throughout the year, adding to the family-friendly atmosphere. 

Entrance to 4x4 Beach Access at Fort Fisher Recreation Area in Kure Beach NC
4×4 Driving Access

5. Enjoy the Beach

Address: 601 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Kure Beach offers a plethora of public beach accesses, each providing a unique experience of the shore. Along the boardwalk, starting at Access #344, visitors find multiple entry points to the beach, with oceanfront bench swings nearby for relaxing and soaking in the views. Lifeguards are stationed daily at Kure Beach from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. 

The south end of Kure Beach, quieter and more secluded, has several access points like #1045 and #1347, leading to less crowded stretches of sand.

As mentioned above, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area at the southern tip features nearly 6 miles of protected shoreline. Here, beachgoers can enjoy amenities like picnic areas, restrooms, and a rinse station.

Kure Beach’s diverse access points, from the boardwalk scenes to tranquil southern shores, make it a perfect destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure by the sea.

Kure Beach Sand and ocean

6. Ocean Front Park and Pavilion

Address: 105 Atlantic Ave, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Ocean Front Park and Pavilion in Kure Beach, located along Atlantic Avenue near the Kure Beach Fishing Pier, is a vibrant public green space that has quickly become a favorite for both locals and visitors.

This park features a playground perfect for children, complete with a pirate ship, fish, and turtle structures, and a unique “tot lot” for ages 3 to 6. It also offers benches, swings, and rain gardens for relaxation and enjoyment of the oceanfront views.

The park’s centerpiece is the open-air pavilion and stage, which hosts a variety of events, including live outdoor concerts and other seasonal entertainment. This versatile space is also available for private events like coastal weddings, offering a breezy, oceanfront setting. Public restrooms are conveniently located and are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with extended hours in the summer.

Ocean Front Park in Kure Beach NC

7. Joe Eakes Park

Address: K Avenue & S 7th Ave, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Just a few blocks from the oceanfront, this park is easily accessible and packed with amenities for all ages.

The park boasts a variety of sports facilities, including baseball fields, basketball, tennis courts, and five pickleball courts, adding a dose of energetic fun to your beach vacation. For the younger visitors, there’s a playground that promises hours of entertainment. Dog owners will appreciate the on-site “dog park,” where pets can roam freely and socialize.

A standout feature of Joe Eakes Park is its 18-hole disc golf course, offering both amateurs and seasoned players an engaging challenge in a scenic setting. For fans of a different pace, the park also has bocce ball courts.

8. North Carolina Military History Museum

Address: 123 Riverfront Rd, Kure Beach, NC 28449

The North Carolina Military History Museum in Kure Beach offers an insightful exploration of the state’s and nation’s military past. Located at the Blakeslee Air Force Recreation Area, this museum presents an impressive array of artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, and equipment, providing visitors with a tangible connection to military history.

Admission to the museum is free, making it an accessible educational experience for all. The museum features both indoor and outdoor exhibits, showcasing a diverse collection that ranges from medals, helmets, and uniforms to larger displays like fully intact military tanks and helicopters. These exhibits cover various branches of service and major military conflicts, offering a comprehensive look at the military’s role in local and national history.

During the summer, they are open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between noon and 4 p.m. At other times of the year, it’s more limited.  You can still drive in and see the outdoor exhibits outside of these times.    

The North Carolina Military History Museum in Kure Beach NC

9. North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center

Address: 1528 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Established in 1967, the center is dedicated to exploring, recovering, and protecting the hundreds of shipwrecks off the North Carolina coastline, spanning centuries of maritime history.

Visitors to the center can explore a variety of exhibits that showcase current dive sites and local history dating back to the Civil War and beyond. The center actively conducts historical and on-site research on area wrecks, providing a glimpse into the underwater stories of famous ships like Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and Civil War U-Boats that once stalked the coastline.

Although small in size, the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center plays a significant role in bringing to light long-lost stories and historical wrecks. 

10. Battery Buchanan

Address: Pleasure Island, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Battery Buchanan, located at the southern end of Federal Point near the ferry, is a historical site steeped in Civil War history. Constructed in 1864, this formidable earthwork battery was named after Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan. 

It was part of the Fort Fisher complex, serving as a critical defense point for the New Inlet of the Cape Fear River and acting as a last-ditch stronghold in case Fort Fisher was taken.

During the Civil War, Battery Buchanan played a significant role in the defense of the Confederacy. On Christmas Day, 1864, Confederate sailors and marines at the battery repelled Federal boats, sinking one vessel. However, its most notable moment came during the second battle for Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865. 

Today, the remnants of Battery Buchanan stand as a testament to this pivotal moment in history.

11. The Rocks at Fort Fisher

Address: The Rocks, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Completed in 1881, this long rock jetty was built west of Fort Fisher to aid navigation by preventing shoaling in the Cape Fear River. The closure of New Inlet by The Rocks resulted in the creation of a lagoon.

Today, The Rocks form part of the Zeke’s Island component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. This area is notable for its extensive marshes and tidal flats, providing a habitat for a diverse range of estuarine and oceanic species. It’s best seen at low tide.  

12. SCUBA diving

Address: Carolina Beach Scuba, 702 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

SCUBA diving enthusiasts can explore the underwater wonders near Kure Beach with Carolina Beach Scuba, a full-service dive shop located in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. They offer a variety of diving experiences, including diving on sunken shipwrecks, world-class spearfishing, and searching for fossilized megalodon shark teeth.

Carolina Beach Scuba is known for its professional training programs, ranging from beginner Open Water courses to advanced and technical diving certifications. They have a team of experienced instructors ready to guide divers through their scuba journey.

Their daily scuba dive charters depart from the Carolina Beach Municipal dock, providing convenient access to popular dive sites in the Cape Fear region. The area is rich with fascinating shipwrecks, artificial reefs, fossil ledges, and coral reefs that rival those in the Caribbean. Their private 6-passenger boat ensures a personalized and intimate diving experience.

For those interested in fossil hunting, Carolina Beach Scuba specializes in excursions for finding Megalodon teeth. Spearfishing trips target a variety of species, including spiny lobster, grouper, hogfish, and flounder.

Drinks and Restaurants in Kure Beach NC

Here are some local restaurants to enjoy while you are in the area.

✅ Beach House Burgers | Address: 118 Fort Fisher Blvd N, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Beach House Burgers in Kure Beach NC

✅ Big Daddy’s Seafood Restaurant | Address: 206 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

✅ Jack Mackerel’s Island Grill | Address: 113 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

✅ Happy Hippies Java Hut | Address: 109 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

The Happy Hippies Java Hut in Kure Beach NC

✅ Freddie’s | Address: 105 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

✅ Ocean View | Address: 101 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

✅ Bud & Joe’s SandBar | Address: 108 K Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449

Things to Do near Kure Beach NC

Looking for more to do in the area? Here are some great options to explore.

✅ Carolina Beach State Park
1010 State Park Rd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Just a short drive from Kure Beach, you’ll discover the natural allure of Carolina Beach State Park. This 761-acre park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of activities. You can traverse through a variety of habitats on nine miles of scenic trails, including the Flytrap Trail, famed for the native Venus flytraps. 

The park’s marina provides access to some of North Carolina’s best fishing spots. Whether you’re hiking, picnicking, or kayaking, Carolina Beach State Park offers a perfect blend of coastal leisure and adventure, making it a must-visit destination near Kure Beach.

✅ Take Ferry to Southport
2422 Fort Fisher Blvd S, Kure Beach, NC 28449

A short drive from Kure Beach brings you to the Fort Fisher ferry terminal, your gateway to the charming town of Southport. As you board the ferry, you’re treated to a scenic voyage across the Cape Fear River, a journey that combines relaxation with picturesque views. 

In Southport, you can stroll through historic streets lined with quaint shops and cozy cafes, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich maritime history. This ferry trip is not just a means of travel; it’s an experience in itself; enjoy the ride.

Fort Fisher Ferry Entrance

✅ Trip to Wilmington

A trip to Wilmington, easily accessible from Kure Beach, offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and vibrant city life. In Wilmington, you can explore the historic Riverwalk, lined with boutiques, galleries, and waterfront dining, all while enjoying views of the Cape Fear River.

The city’s rich history is showcased in its beautifully restored antebellum homes and the Battleship North Carolina, with a dynamic arts and cultural scene, including theaters and museums.

Wilmington Riverwalk

✅ Trip to Carolina Beach & Walk the Boardwalk
Carolina Beach Ave S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Just a stone’s throw from Kure Beach, you’ll find the lively atmosphere of Carolina Beach. Here, the iconic boardwalk beckons with its classic seaside charm. As you walk along the boardwalk, you’re surrounded by the vibrant sounds of live music and the enticing aromas of local eateries and sweet shops. 

Don’t miss the chance to try the famous Britt’s Donuts, a staple of Carolina Beach for over 80 years. The boardwalk also offers amusement rides and regular events, making it a bustling hub of entertainment and fun, perfect for an enjoyable day trip from Kure Beach.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

✅ Old Baldy Lighthouse and Smith Island Museum
101 Light House Wynd, Bald Head Island, NC 28461

A visit to Old Baldy Lighthouse and the Smith Island Museum, reachable by a scenic ferry ride from nearby Southport, offers a fascinating glimpse into North Carolina’s maritime history. Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, invites you to climb its 108 steps for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Adjacent to the lighthouse, the Smith Island Museum of History provides a deeper understanding of the lighthouse’s significance and the rich heritage of the island. This excursion from Kure Beach to Bald Head Island is a journey into the past, merging historical exploration with stunning coastal scenery.

✅ Oak Island Lighthouse
300a Caswell Beach Rd, Oak Island, NC 28465

Take the ferry to Southport and then drive to Oak Island.  The lighthouse was constructed in 1958 with unique concrete-reinforced walls; it’s one of the newest lighthouses in the United States. Climbing tours to the top offer a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding natural beauty. 

Located at Caswell Beach, the lighthouse is part of a tranquil coastal area, perfect for a peaceful day trip. Visitors can enjoy nearby beaches and learn about the lighthouse’s history and its role in maritime navigation, making the Oak Island Lighthouse a must-see attraction in the region.

Oak Island Lighthouse

Annual Events in Kure Beach NC 

Here are some fun events to enjoy.

✅ Spring Festival | March 24, 2024 | Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

✅ 5K and One Mile Fun Run: Race for the Planet | April 28, 2024 | North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

✅ Cape Fear Kite Festival | Nov 1 – 3, 2024 | Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

​​Where To Stay in Kure Beach NC

📍Ocean Front Getaway  – A charming one-bedroom, one-bath condo with an additional twin bunk bed area in Kure Beach. Perfectly furnished for a relaxing stay, it features a queen bed, twin bunks, and a well-stocked kitchen, complete with an air fryer. Enjoy stunning ocean views from the hammock chair on your balcony. Conveniently located, you’re just steps from a pool and minutes from the historic Fort Fisher, the NC Aquarium, and the Kure Beach fishing pier. With easy ferry access to Southport, this condo is your ideal base for exploring local attractions, dining, and the beautiful coast.

📍Charming Oceanfront Home – a serene oceanfront home in Kure Beach, offers an intimate retreat about a mile from the NC Aquarium, Fort Fisher Civil War Museum, and Kure Beach fishing pier. This two-bedroom, 1.5-bath residence is ideal for couples or small families seeking privacy and comfort. The main bedroom features a Queen bed with a private half bath, while the guest room offers 2 Twin beds. Enjoy stunning ocean views and breathtaking sunrises from the expansive deck, accessible via sliding doors from the kitchen and living room. Amenities include a private beach walkway, an outdoor shower, and parking for two vehicles. 

📍Luxury Oceanfront 6 Bedroom – a luxurious 3000 square foot oceanfront property in Kure Beach features six bedrooms and five bathrooms. Built-in 2003, it offers stunning ocean views with a large deck for relaxation. The home includes a fully equipped kitchen, a dining area for 16, and a cozy living space with a 60-inch HD TV and surround sound. Sleeping arrangements span across three levels, accommodating various group sizes. Enjoy amenities like a third-floor den with exercise equipment, a large TV, and a separate laundry room.

Kure Beach NC: FAQs

📌 What is Kure Beach, NC, known for?
Kure Beach, NC, is renowned for its serene beaches, historic Fort Fisher, the oldest fishing pier on the East Coast, and the nearby North Carolina Aquarium. 

📌 Does Kure Beach have a boardwalk?
Kure Beach does not have a traditional boardwalk. However, nearby Carolina Beach features a vibrant boardwalk with shops, restaurants, and entertainment, easily accessible from Kure Beach.

📌 Is Kure Beach worth visiting?
Kure Beach is definitely worth visiting for its tranquil beaches, rich history at Fort Fisher, the oldest fishing pier on the East Coast, and proximity to attractions like the North Carolina Aquarium and Carolina Beach Boardwalk. It’s ideal for a relaxing, family-friendly beach vacation.

📌 Is Kure Beach crowded?
Kure Beach is generally less crowded than other popular beach destinations, offering a more peaceful and family-friendly atmosphere. Its tranquil beaches provide a serene escape for visitors seeking relaxation away from the hustle of busier coastal areas.

📌 Does Kure Beach have public showers?
Yes, Kure Beach offers public showers and restroom facilities conveniently located for beachgoers. They are located at the Kure Beach Ocean Front Park and Pavilion and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.

Final Thoughts

Kure Beach, NC, offers a delightful mix of serene beaches, historical landmarks, and family-friendly attractions. From the historic depths of Fort Fisher to the tranquil shores and the oldest fishing pier on the East Coast, this charming town captivates visitors of all ages. 

Whether you’re seeking relaxation by the sea, educational experiences at the nearby aquarium, or adventures in the surrounding areas, Kure Beach provides a perfect coastal getaway. 

Its less crowded beaches are an enjoyable experience for everyone. Kure Beach is a hidden gem on the North Carolina coast, promising memorable moments for every visitor.

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