Click the links below to view information about activities for this park.
|Education and Events||Picnicking|
|Exhibits and Fort Tour||Swimming|
Education and Events: Regularly scheduled education and interpretive programs about Fort Macon State Park are held from April 15 to October 30. Please use the 'Events' link on the menu to the left to search our database of park events.
To arrange a special exploration of Fort Macon State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Fort Macon State Park have been developed for grades 6-8 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Fort Macon program introduces students to the geologic process of barrier island movement and to the plants and animals that thrive in this shifting environment. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators. To learn more about environmental education or to search our database of upcoming workshops, please click the Education Tab, above.
Exhibits and Fort Tour: Explore the history of Fort Macon State Park in the for museum room located in the fort casemates. Exhibits and displays acquaint you with the fort's history, and restored quarters offer a look into the lives of officers and soldiers.
Admire the fort's powder magazines, counterfire rooms with cannon emplacements and wide moat that could be flooded to protect the fort during a siege. The fort features several original and replica cannons, a restored Hot Shot Furnace and Restored Bake Oven.
Join a guided tour of the fort or conduct your own following the guide available at the bookstore. The fort is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and closed Christmas Day. Historic reenactments are often held on the fort's inner court or parade ground.
Fishing: Fishing may be enjoyed at the park throughout the year. There is a variety of fish inhabiting the surf and inlet waters depending on the season.
Hiking: Fort Macon has over 1.5 miles of ocean beach for hiking. As you walk along the beach you may see one of the 302 different species of birds found in the park or experience the thrill of watching Dolphins playing in the ocean.
Picnicking: Picnic facilities in the park include outdoor grills, drinking water, picnic tables, shelters and restrooms. Trash containers are centrally located. The restrooms, located close to the picnic tables, are open year-round, unless in the event of freezing weather.
Swimming: Fort Macon's beach is a popular source of recreation. From June through Labor Day, a seaside bathhouse and refreshment stand are open and lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Because of strong water currents, visitors are encouraged to swim only in the protected area. Surfing is not allowed in the protected swimming area. Wading, swimming and surfing are not allowed on the inlet beaches.
The main entrance to the citadel is known as the sally port 1 and is the primary entrance to Fort Macon. The three sets of original doors date from 1843-1844. Directly ahead is the inner court known as the parade ground. On either side of the parade are vaulted rooms known as casemates.
To the left of the sally port are the rooms that make up the restored section. These rooms appear as all the fort's casemates originally would have in the 1800s. The windows, doors, shutters, wooden flooring and ornate trim have been duplicated exactly from copies of the fort's original plans. These rooms house restored soldier quarters and the Fort Macon Museum, with exhibits detailing different periods of the fort's history.
Casemate 2 was the fort's guardhouse until the War Between the States. Thereafter, it was an office for the commandant or adjutant. It is presently being used as the Book Store and Gift Shop.
Casemate 3 has been used at different times as an office, officers' quarters and storage. It is presently being used for and Exhibit on the Fort's construction. The gunpowder magazine located adjacent to casemate 3 presently houses a slide show on the fort's history.
Gunpowder magazines M are located in the angles under the stairways. They were used to store gunpowder and are protected by extra thick walls, as well as by the stairways themselves.
Under the stairs are underground cisterns for drinking water. The water is provided by natural rainwater that filters through the soil above the casemates, passes through zinc pipes in the walls between each casemate, and flows through underground channels at the foot of the parade wall to reach the fort's cisterns.
Casemates 4-8 were usually used as officers' quarters and constituted what would be termed on many military posts as the "Officers' Row." At other times, Casemate 4 was used as an officers' mess. Casemate 6 was used in the early 1870s as the post library and school, where a private of the garrison taught the children of the families living on the post. Casemates 4 and 5 have been restored to show examples of enlisted men's and officers' quarters from the period of the War Between the States. Casemate 6 is now used as the Ranger's office.
Casemate 7 is an exhibit on Fort Macon during the War Between the States. Casemate 8 shows 19th Century Soldier Life.
The gunpowder magazine M adjacent to Casemate 8 has been restored inside to show all three of the fort's magazines as they would have originally appeared. Directly in front of the doorway of Casemate 8 is a restored hot shot furnace H, which was used to heat cannonballs until they were red hot. The cannonballs were used to set wooden warships on fire during an attack. Casemate 8A was used as a kitchen, as a storeroom and as the commanding officer's office in World War II. It is a Gallery of Uniforms.
Casemate 9 was used for offices, as soldiers' quarters during the War Between the States and as a company mess room in the 1870s. Casemate 10 was also used either for offices, soldiers' quarters or storage. Today, Casemate 10 is a restored World War II barracks.
Casemate 11 is the main postern, which was used to provide access to the gun emplacements of the main channel fronts via the bridge over the ditch. During the time the fort served as a prison (1865-1876), the postern was also used as a prisoners' messroom.
A massive brick baking oven stood in the center of Casemate 12 until the U.S. Army demolished it during the World War II occupation of the fort. A replica oven now stands in its place. Casemate 13 was the main garrison kitchen.
Casemates 14 through 18 have always been used as quarters for enlisted men. Casemate 18 was also used as an ordnance storeroom for ammunition during the War Between the States. The two small rooms behind the magazine were also used to store ammunition. One of them (19A) is a postern that provides access to the ditch and counterfire galleries under the covertway, or outer wall.
Casemates 19 through 24 have been used at different times as offices, storerooms, enlisted men's quarters and prison cells. When the fort was used as a prison, these rooms were fitted with iron bars and prison doors. Although intended to hold up to 200 inmates, the largest prison population at the fort was 120 men. The remaining rooms were used frequently for other purposes. Casemate 23 was used as a kitchen and mess room during the War Between the States and features a restored cooking range. Casemate 24 is a restored commissary storeroom.
Casemate 25 was used for ordnance storage, or commissary and quartermaster storage, through the years of the War Between the States. Afterward, the casemate was used as a guardroom. Casemate 26 originally housed prisoners of war and was used after the War Between the States for quartermaster or commissary storage. Both of these rooms currently house maintenance equipment and are closed to the public.
Surrounding Fort Macon's citadel is the sunken area known as the ditch, which was formerly deeper and could be turned into a moat by flooding it with sea water from a nearby canal. The moat posed an obstacle to an enemy assault. Across the ditch is the fort's outer wall of defense known as the covertway. Notice the rooms C under the covertway that look down the avenues of the ditch. These are counterfire galleries from which the fort's defenders could open fire with cannons and small arms to annihilate enemy attackers trapped in the ditch.
Tour the covertway or the top of the citadel, where most of the fort's original cannon emplacements still remain and from which excellent views of the ocean, inlet and surrounding area can be obtained. An attendant is on duty during the summer months to answer questions. Enjoy your visit to Fort Macon.
N.C. Division of Parks & Recreation • 1615 MSC • Raleigh N.C. 27699-1615