Sun, Sand & Friends in Kure Beach, NC
As we headed east to the North Carolina coast, we left the mountains in torrential rain with temperatures in the 50s. The forecast was not promising. But after hours of driving in the rain, when we turned south from Wilmington, the sun came out to play.
Our good friends have bought a home at Kure Beach and I can see why. On Pleasure Island, just after passing through the more touristy Carolina Beach, with its tee shirt shops, hotels, and boardwalk amusements, you enter an area of lo-rise colorful, beautifully maintained homes. Not only is Kure Beach lovely, but we were fortunate to meet our friends’ wonderfully funny and engaging neighbors (I was also envious of everyone’s amazing tans).
Sandwiched between the Atlantic and the Cape Fear River, Kure Beach extends south to the entrance of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site at the tip of New Hanover County. It’s easy to drive onto a car ferry for the half-hour ride to visit the charming historic town of Southport. Once there, we enjoyed a dockside seat and a delicious seafood (shrimp for me) lunch at the Fishy Fishy Café. I loved the all-American small-town feel of the restored homes and majestic oaks.
On Kure Beach, the shoreline sand has been recently replenished and is nice and wide, with dunes protecting the homes. Since it’s after Labor Day, lifeguard stands have been taken in for the winter and there weren’t too many people around this breezy afternoon. A few people were fishing, kids playing in the surf, and one lone surfer-gal. I was content to walk on the edge of the surf; for me the water was chilly, and I could feel a gentle undertow. (I’m a bathtub-warm, Gulf-coast girl). Walking along the waters’ edge of any beach is one of my favorite things in the world, and it was a perfect way to end a day.
After another delicious meal (crab cake, this time), we took an evening walk on the old wooden Kure Beach Pier. Originally built in 1923, the 711-foot pier is privately owned and is the oldest fishing pier on the East Coast. Filled with hopeful fisher-folks casting lines, you gotta love the pier slogan “Man! You should’ve been here last week!”
I couldn’t imagine what people were doing when I saw them searching the dark shore with flashlights. Turns out, some were catching sand fleas for bait, and others looking for shark teeth. If I had more time and a good light, I would’ve happily joined the hunt for shark teeth.
Maybe next time.