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Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
South Fort Fisher Blvd
P.O. Box 243
Kure Beach, NC 28449
(910) 458-5798
Park Description

It was the largest naval bombardment and land-sea battle fought in any war up to that time. The outcome of the six-hour battle contributed significantly to the end of the long and bitter struggle of the Civil War. And, this historic event took place at Fort Fisher.

The 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.

In early 1865, a fleet of 56 ships bombarded the fort prior to a land assault by a force of more than 3,300 infantry. Fort Fisher was captured and the Confederate supply line was broken. Approximately three months after the fall of Fort Fisher, the Civil War came to an end.

Enjoy a leisurely day at the ocean shore. Comb the beach for sea stars, keyhole urchins and whelk shells. Or, simply lie back on the sand and enjoy the aerial acrobatics of seagulls, terns and brown pelicans as they soar above the waves. You may want to venture into the mud flats and marshes to watch sandpipers and other shorebirds as they search for food. Learn about endangered species. Loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers and other rare species nest along this sandy shore. Explore the North Carolina coast; visit Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. This stretch of pristine shoreline offers many enjoyable activities.

Located on the southern tip of Pleasure Island near Wilmington, Fort Fisher lies between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Cape Fear River on the west. Here are miles of white, sandy beach for sunning, swimming and fishing. The salt marsh, tidal creeks and mud flats form a natural outdoor laboratory exhibiting the wonders of a coastal environment.

Common ocean catches include bluefish, puppy drum and Virginia mullet. Spot and flounder share the estuary with numerous shellfish.

Explore Fort Fisher State Recreation Area by foot. A short trail meanders through the marsh, allowing hikers a chance to view sound-side flora and fauna.

Off-Road Vehicles
For visitors wishing to fish, sunbathe or view nature in the southern portions of the park, four-wheel-drive vehicles are allowed to operate within a limited corridor along the beach, at certain times of the day and with a valid permit ($10 per day or $40 for annual permit allowing unlimited visits). Drivers must follow designated routes, avoiding dunes, vegetation and marked nesting areas. Only registered motor vehicles are allowed in the four-wheel-drive access area (no ATV"s). Exercise caution, portions of the access may flood at high tides; soft sand and sharp drop-offs are common. Click here for more information on permits and regulations.

More than seven miles of beach provide all of the sun, sand, sea and sky you can soak up in a day. Experience the ocean away from the crowds; walk along on one of the few remaining undeveloped stretches of shoreline on our southern coast.

From the recreation area parking lot, an elevated boardwalk leads over the sand dunes to the beach. The adjacent visitor"s center includes a refreshment stand that is open during summer months, the park office, nature exhibits and restrooms. Lifeguard service is provided in a designated ocean swimming area from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Hours of Operation: Park hours November-February: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. March: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. April-May: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. June-August: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. September 1-14: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. September 15-September 30: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. October: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Park office hours November-February 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday March-October 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Closed Christmas Day

Four-wheel-drive beach access March 15 - March 31: 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. April and May: 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. June, July, August: 6 a.m.-8:30 p.m. September 1 - September 14: 6 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. September 15 - March 14: 24 hour access

Fees: No entry fees for this park
Metro Region: Wilmington NC
Park Management: State

Printed Materials
Fort Fisher Site Map (Today)     Fort Fisher Site Map (Back)     Fort Fisher Site Historical Map    

Beach   Fishing   Handicap Accessible   Historical Civil War   Historical WWII   Museum   Ocean   Open Space   Parking   Ranger Station   Restrooms   Scenic Views   Swimming-Nature   Trails, Natural Surface   Vending Machine   Wildlife Viewing   

Wake County Parks and Recreation Short Term
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