Sandwiched between Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher is the tiny seaside town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. The three areas together make up Pleasure Island. Kure Beach has been a favorite vacation spot of many for decades. It’s quiet and calm, with enough attractions in its own right, but also close enough to a big city.
With that in mind, here are five must-see events and attractions you should be sure to check out when you visit Kure Beach.
Kure Beach Fishing Pier
Constructed in 1923, the Kure Beach Fishing Pier is the oldest of its kind along the Atlantic Coast. It’s a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Pleasure Island. It stretches 712 feet out from the beach, giving visitors miles of unobstructed view of the coast. You don’t need a fishing license to throw a line over the edge and catch fish, but there is a nominal fee for each pole you bring. Admission is free for people who just want to walk and feel the salty air on their skin. It’s a great place to soak up the sun, enjoy an ice cream cone, and look out onto the water.
Fort Fisher/Southport Ferry
Drive down to the very southern tip of the island to catch the Fort Fisher Ferry. It’s a drive-on ferry, so you can take your car with you out on the water. Pedestrians and cyclists are also welcome to ride. The ferry starts at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and heads two miles down the coast to dock at the town of Southport on the other end.
It’s a 45-minute ride during which you can exit your vehicle and walk up to the observation deck for a more comfortable seat and a better view. Spend the afternoon in Southport before heading back to Kure Beach.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Just south of Kure Beach is the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. It holds hundreds of species of marine life and offers dozens of exhibits about wildlife, aquatic environment, and coastal weather.
The aquarium is also home to a rescued bald eagle and an albino alligator named Luna. Touch tanks let kids feel stingrays and sharks, and see the underbellies of horseshoe crabs. There are various shows throughout the day, including feedings of different animals and talks with underwater divers.
Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival
For more than two decades, Pleasure Island has hosted some of the best food, drinks and music at this two-day festival. The Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival has four stages for music, and dozens of booths for seafood, drinks, and crafts.
Face painting, educational exhibits, and inflatables in the Kidz Zone make it a family-friendly event that keeps the kids entertained for hours. The festival takes place at the Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area in Kure Beach and is one of the biggest happenings on the island.
Cape Fear Kite Festival
Every November, the skies of the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area are filled with kites of all types for the Cape Fear Kite Festival. The huge kites take the shape of sea creatures, animals, divers, and more.
Lay out a blanket and watch the beautiful kites dance in the clouds. It’s a great way to close out the season and enjoy a quiet time in Kure Beach.