Online Originals: Fort Macon extends hours ahead of busy tourism season

Crystal Coast

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Fort Macon State Park is expecting big turnouts this year. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, state parks are starting to open up more.   

Fort Macon extended its park hours until 9 p.m. to accommodate more people. Officials there say they’re so busy this time of year that the parking lot fills up by the afternoon. 

“We’re open basically with daylight to give the citizens of North Carolina more opportunity to enjoy the park,” said Fort Macon State Park Superintendent Randy Newman. 

If you don’t like crowds, they say to come early.  

“We’re looking for a big year,” said Newman. “People are getting out on the trails more, people are taking advantage of being outside.” 

The fort has a museum and guided tours at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The exhibit rooms located inside the fort are still closed due to Hurricane Florence, but they expect to reopen early next year.  

“We’re almost ready,” said Newman. “It’ll be toward the first of the year when we open up the exhibits back in the fort.” 

Father and son duo Doug and Alex Anderson say they’ve been visiting the fort since the ’80s and say they’re excited to be here again. 

“We’re here on vacation, we come here almost every year,” said Doug Anderson. “I was stationed at Cherry Point in the ’80s and we’ve been coming back. We’ve been coming to Fort Macon probably since the mid-’80s.”

“I feel like I grew up here,” said Alex Anderson. 

Alex Anderson said it’s a drawing point for them to visit every time they come to the Crystal Coast. “It’s incredibly nostalgic,” said Alex Anderson. 

For more information about the Fort, visit their website here.

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