Wilmington & Beaches
Kure Beach: Sun, Fun & A Bit Of History
Kure Beach is a quaint coastal town located near Wilmington at the southern tip of Pleasure Island. It's home to miles of uncrowded beaches, a handful of laid back restaurants, and plenty of comfortable places. In 2009, The New York Times included Kure Beach in its “One Summer, 14 Weekends” feature.
Kure Beach offers everything from charming beach cottages and motels to condominiums and efficiencies. For families who prefer to stay somewhere a little more private, Kure Beach features many gorgeous vacation homes.
While Kure Beach is certainly known for relaxing beaches, it's also known for fishing. There are plenty of opportunities for surf fishing, bottom fishing, shell fishing and deep-sea fishing. Kure Beach also is home to a 712-foot fishing pier. Built in 1923, the Kure Beach Fishing Pier is the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast.
One location for families to explore is the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. It's the perfect location for a day in the sun and features a six-mile beach that's home to many types of animals including endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Bring a picnic lunch and be sure to take a walk on the short trail through the marsh to catch a glimpse of all the fascinating sea creatures.
Looking to cool off? Head inside to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Located at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, this is one of the most affordable aquariums in the country. Take an aquatic journey from the freshwater streams and swamps into the saltwater ocean.
Here, visit the Cape Fear Conservatory to see freshwater plants and animals such as the aquarium’s albino alligator, Luna. Cape Fear Shoals features a 235,000-gallon tank filled with saltwater animals including sharks, eels and stingrays. Toward the end of your journey, you can visit the ocean exhibits that feature fascinating creatures from the open ocean. Be sure to check out the new interactive Megalodon shark exhibit. Admission ranges from $5 to $8 and children under 5 are free.
For history buffs, take a break from the sun and explore the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Civil War Museum. Fort Fisher, the largest earthen fort in the South, is the site of the largest land-sea battle of the Civil War and was the site of the largest naval bombardment prior to World War I. Outdoor exhibits include three reconstructed and functional cannons. During the summer, a costumed guide offers tours of the remains of the fort and even conducts a small weapons demonstration.
Kure Beach isn’t the only great location on Pleasure Island. Just to the north is Carolina Beach, home of the Municipal Marina, featuring offshore fishing excursions and party boats. At Carolina Beach you'll also find three parks, including Carolina Beach State Park with its rare and carnivorous Venus flytraps.
During the summer months, the boardwalk at Carolina Beach features everything from souvenir shops and arcades to ice cream stands and surrey bike rentals. Just steps away from the boardwalk, there are fun rides including a ferris wheel, scrambler, tilt-a-whirl, bounce house and more.
But the fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. On Thursday nights, enjoy free live music on the beach near the boardwalk followed by an exciting fireworks display. On Sunday evenings, sit outside at the Carolina Beach Lake and enjoy the warm breezes and a free, first-run family friendly movie.
If you’re interested in live concerts while on vacation, then Pleasure Island is the place. The Chamber of Commerce hosts free concerts the second and fourth Fridays of June, July and August at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area. Be sure to bring blankets and chairs for the whole family and get ready to dance the night away!
by Jaime Wilburn
by Jaime Wilburn
added: June 29, 2009
updated: December 21, 2011