This remarkable five-sided fort, with 26 vaulted rooms, is one of North Carolina's most visited attractions. Completed in 1834, it was the site of the Battle of Fort Macon fought in 1862. Exhibits inside the fort's walls and tunnels document the daily lives of soldiers stationed there. Constructed from brick and stone, the fort changed hands twice during the Civil War. Visitors can walk around the exterior and climb the stairs of the grassy structure for 360-degree views.
Guided tours run at 11am Monday to Friday. There are three trails around the park for visitors, ranging from half a mile to 3.5 miles. Choose from a beach walk or maritime forest walk, with the chance to see dolphins offshore and up to 302 bird species. Bring a picnic and use the outdoor grills, drinking water and picnic table facilities in the park.