Fort Macon State Park
Originally designed to guard Beaufort Inlet and Beaufort Harbor, Fort Macon has been the site of wartime tragedies and triumphs, and is now the most visited park in North Carolina. During the Civil War, the fort changed hands several times between Union and Confederate forces, eventually falling into disrepair. The fort was sold to North Carolina for one dollar in 1924 and was restored as a part of the state park system in 1934, and finally opened as the state’s first functioning park in 1936.
The fort was taken over by the federal government once again during World War II and used to protect a number of important nearby facilities. Now the state park is home to a protected beach, complete with a seaside bathhouse, sunny nature trails, family-friendly picnic facilities, and a rich supply of fish. Visitors take spirited ghost tours highlighting the eccentric past the fort has experienced. The fort underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, restoring the 26 casemates, or vaulted rooms, used as shelter, kitchen space, and as prison cells for soldiers.