Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure Beach

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Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a 287acre North Carolina state park in New Hanover County, North Carolina in the United States. Located near Kure Beach, North Carolina, it includes Fort Fisher, site of a major naval engagement during the American Civil War. The recreation area also served as a home for the Fort Fisher Hermit, Robert Harrill. Harrill lived in a bunker and shared his beliefs about "common sense" with thousands of visitors every year while surviving on what he could gather from the surrounding salt marsh and oyster beds.Today, the recreation area consists of the remains of the earthen Fort Fisher and a museum at Fort Fisher State Historic Site, an oceanfront beach pavilion, a large lagoon popular with windsurfers, and a long stretch of beach that is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. The beach is an important nesting ground for sea turtles, and state park rangers regularly patrol the beach to identify recently built turtle nests. Once they are identified, they are clearly marked and surrounded with a mesh fence to prevent vehicles from driving over the eggs. The openings in the mesh are large enough to allow newly hatched turtles to pass through and return to the sea.HistoryThe city of Wilmington on the Cape Fear River was an important port of entry for the Confederacy during the Civil War. And, by late 1864, it was the last southern port open to trade. Fort Fisher, built in 1861, served to protect this valuable port from Union ships. In 1864, the first of two Union attacks on Fort Fisher took place. The fort held strong during the first battle and Union forces withdrew, but the Confederacy was not so fortunate the next time. The First Battle of Fort Fisher, during the American Civil War, was the largest naval bombardment and land-sea battle fought in any war up to that time.
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Fort Fisher State Recreation Area Reviews
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  • If uncrowded, unspoiled beach is what you’re after, you need look no further than Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. This state-maintained park, located at the southern tip of Pleasure Island, a few m...  more »
  • Such a wonderful area to go to spend the day by the water! Everything is easy to access. The beach was not very crowded during the time I went. The staff in the area were friendly. The only thing was ...  more »
  • We have visited before and we always loved the beautiful beaches and it's my favorite view by the old trees. This time we walked the Basin Trail . Very cool trail. If you have never been on it, it's a...  more »
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  • Make sure your out by 5 or you will be locked in the parking lot and towed. Beautiful place and beach, loved it! But 5:03 and gates were locked. And had to pay $50 in cash.
  • Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, just south of the town of Kure Beach and next to the historic site and aquarium, is a great place to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf in the Wilmington area. Once you turn onto Loggerhead Road of US-421, there is a large free parking area to the left. But it fills up fast, so try to arrive early. Stairs and a boardwalk lead to the Visitor Center with a concession stand that sells soft drinks and snacks and the bathrooms and rinse stations. There is also a picnic area with grills. The boardwalk leads over the dunes and to about six miles of pristine, undeveloped beach. So whether you're looking to sunbathe, swim, or play in the sand, this is a great location. Lifeguards are on duty during summer. In addition to the beach, there is a one mile trail that leads through an interesting salt marsh and maritime forest environment. The trailhead is just past the visitor center and leads through a maritime forest then heads out to the beach, where the trail alternates between sand and boardwalks and ends at an overlook to the Basin, an artificial lagoon created by the addition of a rock jetty in the Cape Fear River. The area past the overlook is part of Zeke's Island Coastal Reserve. The trail is also great for birdwatching - herons, egrets, ibises, and pelicans can all be seen from the trail. Just before the overlook, there is an old WWII bunker where Robert E. Herrill, the hermit of Fort Fisher lived for almost 20 years. It is also possible to hike to Bald Head Island (yes, you can hike to an island). Keep in mind that it's 8 miles one way, so rather long if you intend to hike out and back. Alternately, you could take the ferry from Bald Head Island to Southport and then to Fort Fisher. It's best to do this hike at low tide so there is more compact sand to walk on.
  • This is an entrance to the ocean. Very nice little museum and bathrooms. Picnic tables with shade. It's also the entrance to the drive on beach. There's a fee for that daily or you can get a yearly pass.
  • The basin trail is a nice easy short walk, brings you to a WWII bunker. The area and beach is kept clean and is beautiful even in the "off" season.
  • Great historical park. Plenty to do, and a lot to learn. The Visitors Center is a must, as well as the walking tour of the fort, and the other monuments..
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