Bogue Banks: Fort Macon
More barrier island beach resorts line Bogue Banks, which runs south of Morehead City in a nearly east-west orientation for some 25 miles. The half dozen family-oriented resort towns have freely accessible—but quite often crowded—beaches. The largest, Atlantic Beach, across a bridge from Morehead City, has a boardwalk backed by a go-kart track and a small amusement arcade. The very enjoyable North Carolina Aquarium (daily, $10.95 adults), five miles west of town on Hwy-58, features extensive displays on the local loggerhead sea turtles.
At the northeast end of Bogue Banks stands Fort Macon State Park (daily, free), which centers on a massive pre-Civil War fortress overlooking the harbor entrance. The pentagon-shaped masonry fort, completed in 1834, was captured early in the Civil War by the Confederacy. In April 1862, Union forces retook Fort Mason after a bombardment and controlled Beaufort for the rest of the war.