Tours of North Carolina's Small Wonder

For a small beach town, there are a lot of big things to do and experience at Kure Beach. Set out for tours of the largest amphibious battle site of the Civil War or spend time with locals hearing about treasured island tales. For time with aquatic animals, head to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to learn about the unique wildlife that inhabits the area.

Under the Sea Adventures

Make your way to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, recently named one of the best aquariums in the country by USA Today’s 10Best, to experience over 2,500 animal residents including Luna, the albino alligator, and Maverick, the bald eagle. Families feeling adventurous can reach into tanks and touch sea stars, horseshoe crabs and dog sharks, too. Watch daily dive shows or embark on a behind-the-scenes tour, where you’ll get an up-close view of feeding time with some of the aquarium’s friendliest animals. Plus, you’ll experience a whole new vantage point from the top of the aquarium’s 235,000 gallon Cape Fear Shoals tank that’s home to sharks, stingrays, moray eels and other fish. While there, grab lunch at the snack bar, SharkBites, and enjoy it outdoors in the aquarium’s Nature Play area, where children and families can climb, build, swing, jump and imagine in a natural space, or Adventure Reef, an outdoor interactive play area for kids.

Historic Grounds

Explore one of the most influential battle sites of the Civil War. The largest land-sea battle of the war was fought at Fort Fisher, located at the south tip of Kure Beach. Visit Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum to explore the South’s largest earthen fort and site of this historic battle. Approximately 10% of Fort Fisher still stands along with a restored palisade fence. See an impressive reconstruction of a 32-pounder seacoast gun at Shepherd's Battery. All tours of the grounds begin in the Visitors Center which features an audiovisual program about the history of the fort. Then meander along a scenic outdoor trail shaded by live oaks, featuring interpretive exhibit panels. The site hosts historical reenactments throughout the year, including an event commemorating the Battle of Fort Fisher each January.

Educational Tours

Every Sunday evening at 7 p.m. throughout the summer, meet Kure Beach ambassadors at Kure Beach’s Ocean Front Park and Pavilion for an engaging, family-friendly beach walk and educational talk. Topics include Kure Beach’s history, beach safety, wildlife education, shell- and fossil-finding tips and beach activities for the little ones. Bring your shovels and buckets to discover more about North Carolina’s Small Wonder.

Scenic Ferry Cruise

Walk or drive on to the Fort Fisher Ferry for a 45-minute cruise to the mainland. The ship leaves from the tip of Fort Fisher, heads up the Cape Fear River and docks two miles from the historic town of Southport. Enjoy beautiful views along the way from the observation deck.