Kure Beach: A Hidden Gem on North Carolina’s Coast
Kure Beach, nestled between Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher, is a hidden gem on the North Carolina coast. With its stunning sandy beaches and a plethora of water activities, it’s an excellent destination for a relaxing and adventurous holiday. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the charm of Kure Beach, exploring its rich history, natural beauty, family-friendly attractions, and much more.
Kure Beach’s history is deeply intertwined with the Kure family, who left a lasting legacy in this coastal paradise. The town is named after Hans Kure, a Dane who moved to the Cape Fear coastline in 1895. He purchased an impressive 900 acres of land, laying the foundation for the area’s development. Hans Kure’s son was responsible for the construction of the original Kure Beach Fishing Pier in 1923, making it the first pier on the Atlantic coastline.
Over the years, the pier has undergone multiple reconstructions due to wear and tear, and today, it stands as a remarkable 700-foot-long structure. It’s not just a fishing pier; it’s a destination in itself. The pier features a shop selling fishing necessities, an arcade, and souvenir shops, making it an ideal spot for both anglers and sightseers.
Kure Beach stands out for its sheer beauty. It’s an excellent and affordable choice for a family vacation.
In 1947, the town officially became known as Kure Beach, a nod to the Kure family’s dedication to enhancing the area’s appeal. Since then, Kure Beach has continued to grow in popularity as a favored beach destination on the East Coast.
One of the main attractions in Kure Beach is, of course, its pristine sandy beaches. Whether you’re looking to swim, kayak, surf, or simply bask in the sun, the coastline offers numerous opportunities for water enthusiasts. The town’s strategic location, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River, ensures that you have access to both calm waters and rolling waves.
The beaches are not just for water activities; they are also perfect for leisurely strolls, beachcombing, and picnicking with the family. The sound of waves crashing on the shore and the feel of the soft sand beneath your feet make Kure Beach an ideal spot for relaxation.
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Kure Beach is more than just a beach destination; it’s a place where families can create lasting memories. Let’s explore some of the family-friendly attractions and activities that make this coastal town special.
Ocean Front Park: Located near the fishing pier, Ocean Front Park is a public seaside green space that offers a host of amenities. It features a boardwalk, a well-equipped playground, swings, oceanfront benches, and public restrooms. It’s a perfect place for families to relax and enjoy the ocean views. The park also hosts free summer programming, including events like Turtle Talks, Stories by the Sea, and the Boogie in the Park concert series.
Joe Eakes Park: For those seeking more active adventures, Joe Eakes Park is another fantastic public park in Kure Beach. It’s home to sports courts, including baseball, tennis, basketball, and volleyball. There’s even an 18-hole disc golf course for those who enjoy a round of frisbee golf. The park also features a playground, a picnic area, and a dedicated dog park, making it a versatile destination for families.
Fort Fisher State Historical Site: History buffs will find a lot to explore at the nearby Fort Fisher State Historical Site. This significant landmark sheds light on the American Civil War and the battles that took place in this area. Guided tours are available, and one of the highlights is the 32-pound seacoast gun. Visitors can step back in time and learn about the events that unfolded at this historic site.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher: Located nearby, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a must-visit attraction for families. It has been recognized as one of the best aquariums in the United States by the Travel Channel. Here, you can come face to face with live alligator feedings, watch diving exhibits, and experience up-close and personal encounters with sea turtles and otters. The aquarium also boasts a two-story tank and a touch tank, offering an immersive experience with marine life.
Kure Beach isn’t just about natural beauty and history; it also offers a variety of entertainment options and dining experiences. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing evening of live music or a satisfying meal, the town has something for everyone.
Live Music Events: Kure Beach invites visitors to groove the night away with live music events and concert series. One such event is the oceanfront Boogie in the Park concert series, which offers free, family-friendly concerts. Another option is the Blakeslee Air Force Recreation Area’s summer lawn concerts. These events provide a perfect opportunity to enjoy music while soaking in the beach atmosphere.
Dining Options: Going hungry in Kure Beach is virtually impossible. There are numerous restaurants and nightclubs around the area, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, a casual beachside café, or international cuisine, you’ll find a variety of dining options to suit your palate. Don’t forget to savor some local seafood specialties and enjoy the laid-back coastal vibe.
Kure Beach is not only a place for history and family fun; it’s also a haven for nature enthusiasts. The area boasts a wealth of natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor activities.
Coquina Rock Formation: Kure Beach’s coastline features a unique and rarely seen coquina rock formation. Visible only during low tide, this distinctive rock is cemented together by seashells and coral. Its estimated origin ranges from 12,000 to 80,000 years ago. To witness this hidden gem, you can enter the beach near the Ocean Dunes Condos, right before you reach Fort Fisher.
Fort Fisher State Recreation Area: For those seeking undisturbed wildlife and unspoiled scenery, the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a perfect destination. It offers six miles of undeveloped shoreline where you can observe species like Loggerhead sea turtles and enjoy fishing along the shore. The natural wonder of the coquina rock formation is another attraction you can explore during your visit.
Zeke’s Island Reserve: If you’re interested in exploring the unique natural habitats of the area, a visit to Zeke’s Island Reserve is a must. This estuarine reserve is made up of a collection of isolated islands, offering miles of pristine shorelines. The reserve features various habitats, including tidal flats, salt marshes, shrub thickets, maritime forests, sand dunes, and ocean beaches. Activities like kayaking, hiking, shelling, fishing, and birdwatching can be enjoyed in this remarkable natural setting.
Kayak Adventures: For those looking to get out on the water, kayak adventures are readily available. You can embark on a guided kayak tour to Shark Tooth Island or Zeke’s Island Reserve. These tours offer opportunities to explore the pristine waters, observe rare species of birds, and enjoy the tranquility of these coastal habitats. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, you can find excursions suitable for your skill level.
Kure Beach is teeming with opportunities for wildlife encounters. Here are some of the ways you can get up close and personal with the local fauna:
Sea Turtle Conservation: Kure Beach is part of a sea turtle conservation effort, and you can learn about different species of sea turtles from volunteers during the weekly Turtle Talks. These dedicated volunteers patrol the beaches during nesting season to ensure the safety of sea turtles and their hatchlings.
Birdwatching: For bird enthusiasts, Kure Beach offers extraordinary opportunities for bird watching. The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, with its miles of trails through maritime forests, marshes, and beaches, is a prime location for spotting various bird species. You can encounter warblers, Loggerhead Shrike, the Peregrine Falcon (the world’s fastest bird), Red-throated Loons, Surf Scoters, and American Oystercatchers, among others. The diverse habitats provide a rich and rewarding birdwatching experience.
Kure Beach offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious apartment suite, a beach cottage, a vintage motel, or a cozy side street inn, you’ll find options that cater to your needs. Many of the hotels, motels, and inns in Kure Beach offer beautiful ocean views, and everything you need is conveniently close by.
As you plan your visit to Kure Beach, keep in mind that it’s a year-round destination. The town provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for visitors, and the locals take pride in preserving its natural beauty and rich history. Kure Beach is a place where you can relax by the ocean, explore the past, engage with marine life, and create cherished memories with your loved ones.
From its sandy beaches and family-friendly attractions to its historical landmarks and natural wonders, Kure Beach offers a complete holiday experience. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a beach lover, this charming coastal town has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, head to Kure Beach, and get ready for a vacation filled with sun, fun, and adventure.
With its diverse offerings and breathtaking scenery, Kure Beach is undoubtedly a destination worth considering for your next holiday trip.
What’s Nearby Kure Beach
Near Kure Beach, you’ll find an array of captivating destinations to explore. The Fort Fisher State Recreation Area offers six miles of pristine shoreline and the chance to observe undisturbed wildlife, including Loggerhead sea turtles and unique coquina rock formations. A short drive away, Carolina Beach State Park beckons with its lush maritime forests, hiking trails, and a chance to glimpse the Venus flytrap in its natural habitat. If you’re up for a slightly longer journey, the vibrant entertainment and endless stretches of sandy shores at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina await. And for those seeking a serene escape, Woods Bay State Park in South Carolina boasts a peaceful cypress-tupelo swamp and a boardwalk that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of the natural world. These neighboring locations provide a diverse range of experiences, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy near Kure Beach.
Kure Beach Parking Information
Kure Beach offers a variety of parking options to accommodate visitors. Metered parking spaces and public parking lots are conveniently available, and paying for parking can be done through pay stations, pay-by-phone or text, and online via the Premium Parking website. Parking enforcement takes place from March 15 to September 30, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with rates set at $5 per hour (subject to change).