What’s New?

If you have visited Kure Beach before and are interested in what’s new to see and do on your next trip, read about recent updates and accolades here.

Otters at the Aquarium at Fort Fisher

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher plans to break ground in early 2019 on their new Asian small-clawed otter habitat. Built within the aquarium’s current freshwater conservatory building, the 3,000-square foot habitat will feature interactive water elements, spaces for separate otter family groups and behind-the-scenes care areas.  Asian small-clawed otters are considered a ‘vulnerable’ species due to habitat loss and exploitation. Their anticipated arrival is part of the aquarium’s ongoing conservation efforts. The aquarium plans to welcome two to three otters when construction completes in six months.

Nature Play at the Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Families can immerse themselves in outdoor wonder at the new Nature Play area located at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The woodland themed playground inspires children to explore while climbing, jumping, swinging and sliding. Tucked into a maritime landscape and shaded beneath a large live oak tree, the playground allows the forest to come to life. Located along the bike path, aquarium entrance is not required to access the play area.

Happy Hippies Java Hut

The newest coffee shop in Kure Beach is serving up hot and cold coffee, frappes, smoothies and nitro brew. Stop by the colorfully painted Happy Hippies Java Hut for a pick-me-up on your way to the Kure Beach Pier or Ocean Front Park.  

Sher-Bert's Shaved Ice Cream

Recently opened near the fishing pier and Ocean Front Park in Kure Beach, Sher-Bert's Shaved Ice Cream is a fun twist on the classic ice cream parlor. Customers choose toppings and sauces which top ice cream that is shaved, instead of scooped, and eaten with a fork. 

North Carolina's First Heritage Dive Site

The Civil War Blockade Runner “Condor” was recently dedicated as North Carolina’s first heritage dive site. The steamer ran aground in 1864 with famous Confederate spy Rose Greenhow on board. The Condor rests in 25 feet of water, 700 yards off the shore in front of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, where buoys mark the site along with mooring lines for boats and kayaks. Dive enthusiasts are encouraged to explore the Condor June through November each year. Find diving charters here and more information at Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area has been updated to include a modernized exhibit room featuring educational information about the surrounding ecosystem. New informational displays about the beach, ocean, maritime forest, salt marsh and more have been added, along with an activity table and a saltwater aquarium. The picnic area has also been enhanced with large sun shades, and the bath house has been renovated to accommodate more guests.

Fort Fisher State Historic Site

In response to increased visitor visitation, a new Fort Fisher State Historic Site Visitors Center and Museum has been planned for development, which will be nearly four times larger than the current space to accommodate its more than 800,000 annual visitors.


Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor included Kure Beach at #17 in its roundup of 20 Best All-American Family Vacations Your Kids Will Love.

Logo for the Southeast Tourism Society

The 25th Annual Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration was named by the Southeastern Tourism Society as one of its Top 20 Events.

Logo for Vacation Ideas: Dream Vacation Magazine

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of the 25 Best Aquariums in the United States, according to Vacation Ideas: Dream Vacation Magazine.

msn logo

MSN.com named Kure Beach one of the 17 Best Beaches for a Budget Vacation in 2017 for free oceanfront parking, a National Historic Landmark with a fort and exhibits to explore and public green space with seasonal programs and activities for the whole family.

usa today

USA TODAY ranked Kure Beach as one of the 11 Beaches in the World Where History Was Made for the Battle of Fort Fisher's impact on the Civil War.

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Tripping.com included Kure Beach among its list of the 10 Best Beaches in North Carolina.

Trip Savvy Logo

TripSavvy named Kure Beach one of the Best Family Beach Vacations in the Southeast.

trip advisor

TripAdvisor.com included the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in its roundup of Top 25 US Aquariums.