The nine acres of Fort Macon State Park make up some of the finest outdoor exploration available on a Crystal Coast vacation getaway. The second most-visited park in the state at 1.3 million visitors annually, this protected area offers a window into Civil War history and a glimpse of the coastal flora and fauna of North Carolina.
A short drive from many Atlantic Beach vacation rentals, this state park is always worth an afternoon visit. Below is a guide to one of Atlantic Beach’s most impressive attractions, from the historic emblems to the diverse wildlife.
About Fort Macon State Park
Opened in the 1936, Fort Macon State Park is a nature preserve and historic site that is home to a number of essential attractions for visitors.
Visit the fully-restored Fort Macon, where a famous battle was fought in 1862, fish along the park’s shores, or spend the day exploring the moderate, flat trails.
Whatever you do, keep your eyes peeled for the more than 300 species of birds known to live in the park, as well as the playful dolphins in the sea.
Visitors can play and swim along its beaches, take a kayak trip, go surf fishing, and comb the beach for treasures. It’s a family-friendly adventure that has a little something to see for all.
Fort Macon State Park is located at 2303 E. Fort Macon Rd., Atlantic Beach, NC.
Things to Do at Fort Macon
The state park has three main attractions.
Fort Macon: Fort Macon is the centerpiece of the park and undoubtedly its main attraction. Guests can visit the fort and find detailed information in different exhibit windows.
The fort casements area, the small armory within the fort’s walls, will introduce the structure’s history and details of its famous battles.
The fort includes a restored Hot Shot Furnace, a living quarters display, replica cannons, and a look into daily life in the past with historic tools, weapons, and accessories.
Education Center: The education center features videos, a handful of museum items, insight into the park’s wildlife, and a map of the area. It doubles as the visitor’s center. Various Atlantic Beach events and programs are hosted or depart from the education building. While most events are free, some may require pre-registration.
The Beach: The park is surrounded on three sides by pristine beaches. Swimming is only allowed in designated swimming areas due to water currents, and lifeguards may be on duty during swimming hours, particularly in the high season.
You can contact the park rangers at (252) 726-3775 for more information on park events and amenities. It’s one of the main places to see for visitors who want to take home a small piece of North Carolina’s vivid history, while also appreciating its natural and isolated wonders.
Entrance to the park is completely free. You can drive, walk, or bike in. No boats are permitted into the park.
The park’s hours vary depending on the attraction. Fort Macon is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, while the swimming areas are open from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
The Coastal Education and Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the bathhouse area, which includes parking and a picnic area, is open seasonally 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Various events are posted throughout the year. You can enjoy Atlantic Beach events such as musket demonstrations, moon parties, and special fort tours. Visit the state website for further details.
For more on some of the finest Atlantic Beach vacation rentals, contact our team at (252) 247-7610. We can work with you to help plan a brilliant vacation getaway filled with historical attractions, water adventures, and a memorable exploration of the Crystal Coast.