Seeking a relaxing way to spend the afternoon? Pack some snacks and a beach blanket and head on over to Kure Beach, North Carolina. Located along the northern section of the Cape Fear Coast, there are plenty of sandy spots and green spaces to enjoy an uncrowded experience. Leave the noise and crowds of commercialized beaches behind, and soak up the serenity and sunshine at Kure Beach.
The town of Kure Beach moves at a leisurely and casual pace, inviting visitors to explore the area at their leisure without the distractions of crowded roads and long lines. Sightseeing adventures range from the discovery of historic attractions and monuments commemorating the area’s role during the Civil War, to browsing the marine exhibits at the North Carolina Aquarium. Waterfront dining establishments offer a plethora of fresh seafood entrees and libations. Locally owned boutiques feature resort style clothing, handmade gifts and works by local artists and craters.
Kure Beach officially became a town in 1947. The efforts of a former boat captain of Danish heritage aided in the incorporation of the area. Hans Kure started purchasing oceanfront real estate in the late 1880’s. The visionary developer bought property which was considered wast land consisting of Scrub Oak trees and sand dunes. He built a small railway to transport visitors from the river inlet to the waterfront. In 1915, Kure and his sons completed work on a bathhouse and waterworks. Kure then divided up portions of the land into lots to build homes upon. Once completed, the Kure family sold the tracts and helped finance a road to both Kure and Carolina Beaches.
A population explosion in 1933, due in large part to the opening of the ethyl-Dow plant provided a shot in the arm to the economy of the growing community. After rumors spread that a German submarine fire upon the plant in 1943, the facility closed. A story about the alleged incident appeared in a local newspaper. During the second World War a military shipyard in nearby Wilmington and Air Force Base at Fort Fisher spurred the town’s population. After the end of WWII, a boom in building occurred and many beach and vacation homes erected in the recently incorporated town. When first diagrammed on a plat map, Kure Beach distinctly resembled the letter “T.”
In 1965 the federal government purchased land to build a buffer zone between the Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal and the river. The areas was utilized as a shipping area for the United States Department of Defense. Tourism spiked in the 1980’s due in part to the construction of Interstate 40. Easy access to the coastal community prompted visitors from neighboring inland areas and other states to discover this hidden gem of a town.
Kure Fishing Pier
Talk a leisurely stroll to the end of the pier and watch passing boats and perhaps even a romping dolphin. Cast a line and catch your own dinner from the oldest pier on the Atlantic Coast. In 1923 Kure purchased the area which is now Kure Beach. With the assistance of his son, Kure envisioned a waterfront entertainment complex for area citizens and visitors. While the pair designed multiple structures for the beach area, the pier was the only project to see completion.
The first pier was destroyed by marine boring insects within a year. The second pier was built using cement pilings and lasted until 1954 when it was destroyed by Hurricane Hazel. Bill Robertson purchased Kure Pier and added tackle shop. During the 1960’s Robertson added a larger tackle shop which also included a bingo hall and gift shop. In the early 1970’s a patio and showers were constructed. In 1984 Hurricane Diana destroyed nearly half of the pier. Robertson’s son Mike bought the pier and restored it to it’s previous length of 711 feet. Mike Robertson has restored and replaced portions of the pier by damages caused from hurricanes to allow visitors the joy of walking or fishing along this popular historic attraction.
Walk on sacred ground while exploring Fort Fisher. Before it was lost to Union forces, it served as the main port for transporting good to the Confederacy. While participating in a walking tour, you will encounter the remains of earthworks with Southern soldiers used as a makeshift hospital, telegraph office and barracks during the Civil War. Living history reenactments occur on weekends during warm weather months. The Visitor’s Center features artifacts and photos from the era. There is no charge to enter the historical park, but donations are accepted.
North Carolina Aquarium
The aquarium offers interactive exhibits, marine animals habitats and a bicycle path. Wander around the exterior of the building on sunny days and enjoy the walking path and observation deck which overlooks the trails and a pond. Learn about the ongoing efforts to preserve sea turtles and participate in hands-educational activities. The touch pool features small water creatures and stingrays. Get eye to eye with an alligator and watch the “Waters of Cape Fear” video and virtually explore a coastal reef, swamp and the Cape Fear River.
North Carolina Military History Museum
Visit the museum and explore old military vehicles, artifacts and photos. Historical displays are located both inside and outside. No fee is charged to tour the facility, but donations are accepted.
Joe Eakes Park
Joe Eakes Park offers an fenced area for off-leash play with “Fido” and a picnic area. Multiple sports courts and open green spaces allow visitors to enjoy the native North Carolina flora and fauna. Special events and activities occur during warm weather months.
Kure Beach is home to multiple special events and festivals throughout the year. The Boardwalk Blast offers live music, children’s activities and art shows three days a week during summer months.
The Beach Music Festival features free music concerts and activities each June.
The annual Children’s Fishing Day event is a family style tournament held on the pier each June.
Carolina Sand Blast Beach Soccer Tournament is four-on-four tournament for both children and adults. The two day event is routinely held in early June.
The North Carolina Aquarium’s “Surf it, Save it” festival features a multitude of hands-on displays, marine animals, photos and activities. The event occurs during June annually.
Know Before You Go
Leashed dogs are permitted on Kure Beach from October through December.
Destinations weddings are permitted, but sans a tent and chairs.
Lifeguards are on duty during summer months.
No fee public parking and boat access ramps are available.
Alcoholic beverages, glass bottles and fires are not permitted on the beach.