Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Fort Fisher on Kure Beach

Fort Fisher is just one of the many attraction to see on your Kure Beach vacation

A Kure Beach vacation is a wonderful way to experience the beautiful North Carolina coast. With miles of pristine beaches and family-friendly activities, there are few places that offer so much for its visitors. Today, Kure Beach is a quiet family friendly place, but it hasn’t always been that way. Today we travel back in history to look at one of Kure Beach’s iconic features, the Civil War-era Fort Fisher.

Civil War Era

Known as the “Gibraltar of the South,” Fort Fisher served as a Confederate Fort during the Civil War. Originally, the fort was nothing more than a shore battery of 12 guns. The main defensive feature of the fort was provided by the natural sand dunes of the area, which was all to change with the arrival of Col. William Lamb in 1862.

Col. William Lamb, was young, ambitious, and had a very distinct vision of what he believed Fort Fisher should be. Based loosely on the famous Malakoff Tower in Sebastopol Russia, Fort Fisher would soon be transformed into a massive defensive fortification that protected the vital Confederate Port of Wilmington for most of the Civil War.

The fort was finally captured on January 15, 1865, when a massive Union assault overwhelmed the defenses of the fort. This assault included units from the 27th USCT, made up entirely of black troops. Fort Fisher had fallen, and the Civil War had come to an end, but as we will see… Fort Fisher was far from fading from history. 

Fort Fisher During WWII

Many visitors are surprised to learn that Fort Fisher was active in the coastal defense of the United States during more recent history. During World War II, Fort Fisher was a remote firing range and training facility. Soon after the outbreak of war, dozens of new structures, tents, latrines, fresh water facilities, and even a landing strip were constructed to support the troop presence at Fort Fisher. Sadly, while necessary at the time, much of this construction damaged the remaining parts of the original Civil War Fort. However, Fort Fisher played a critical role in training troops in anti-aircraft training during the second world war. Take a close look around and you can still see the vestiges of this era. To read more about Fort Fisher and its role in the coastal defense of North Carolina during World War II, click here.

Visiting Fort Fisher Today

Getting to Fort Fisher is easy from any of our Kure Beach vacation rentals. Located just down the road at 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd S. Kure Beach, NC 28449.

The Fort is open to the public free of charge. Hours of operation are from Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 am-5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm-5 pm. The fort is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.

Visiting the Fort will take approximately an hour for a quick walk through, or up to several hours for a more in-depth visit. You’ll also want to spend time at the Fort Fisher State Recreation area, so plan on making a day of this visit. The park is handicap accessible with the exception of the old gun emplacement. For more information, the Fort Fisher Visitor Center can be reached at (910) 251-7343.

Things To Do and See at the Fort

Visitor Center- The visitor center is the first place you’ll want to stop. Take a moment to watch the ten-minute long audiovisual program, which gives visitors a great summary and overview of the fort’s design and history. The visitor center also features a small gift shop and restroom facilities.

Walking Trail- After leaving the visitor’s center, take a moment to follow the approximately quarter-mile trail that circles around the remains of the fort. Along the way, you’ll find several placards, with pictures and interesting facts about the fort. Make sure to visit the Battle Acre monument which is a memorial to those killed at the Fort. As you make your way around the trail, stop at the restored gun emplacement and imagine what it must have been like being a soldier on this then desolate outpost. Finally, your walk will end at a pavilion that has a display about the local underwater archeology.

Historic Buildings– Due to the massive amount of destruction the fort suffered, along with years of severe and punishing storms, less than three-hundred yards of the original earthen works remain. However, there are still portions of both the land and the ocean side to see. Additionally, there are still partial remains of the famous Batter Buchanan.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area- Just around the corner from the fort is the Fort Fisher State Recreation area, which provides visitors with an amazing array of activities. From 4-wheel drive beach driving to bird watching to sunbathing, there is something for everyone. These six miles of pristine beaches, surrounded by saltwater marshes, are the perfect place for birdwatching, learning about the loggerhead turtle population, paddling, and of course surf fishing. 

Have Your Wedding at Fort Fisher

If you are looking for unique and beautiful wedding destination, Fort Fisher might be the perfect place for you. With several waterfront locations available, including the famous Fort and Ocean Grove, this serene landscape on the waterfront will provide you with incredible memories of your special day. For more information, click here.