A little history about the Fort first.
Construction of the fort began in 1826, it is a five-sided structure of brick and stone with twenty-six vaulted casements (rooms) with outer walls that are 4.5 feet thick, it was part of the chain of coastal fortifications for national defense. Its purpose was to guard Beaufort Harbor, North Carolina's only deepwater ocean port. It was named after state senator Nathaniel Macon, who procured the funds to build the facility. During its history it has seen Robert E Lee as an Army engineer, seized by the N. Carolina militia, retaken by Union forces to be used as a coal fueling station for the navy, a federal prison, closed in 1903, sold to the state of North Carolina to be used as a state park, restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps and then leased back to the military to be used during World War II.
You enter the fort through three sets of doors in the sally port, you can then wait there for a volunteer or ranger to take you on a tour of the fort or you can set out on your own. All of the casements contain an exhibit showing what life was like in the fort during different times in its history. Each is different and very well done, to really understand the fort you should plan on visiting them all.
Then climb the stair and walk around the top of the citadel, this is great, here you have a view of the parade grounds, a nice ocean breeze and an excellent view of the ocean waves breaking as they enter the inlet, I could stay up there for hours. From here go outside the citadel into the moat area for a walk around the fort, (the moat could be flooded if needed) notice all the gun ports, which could be used to shoot an enemy trapped in the moat.
This is one of the best-preserved Civil War time Forts and the "Friends of Fort Macon" have done an excellent job restoring it and placing the displays.
A quick run through will be about 30-40 minutes, to really see and feel the fort plan on at least two hours, if you still have time enjoy a picnic or a walk on the beach.
My personnel favorite part of the Fort is directly in front of the doorway of Casemate 8, it is a restored hotshot oven, they wood fire up the stove and then place cannonballs in one end on tracks, they would let them heat until they were red hot. They were then fired at wooden warships to set them on fire during an attack.
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Built in 1826-1834 on the east end of Bogue Banks in Carteret County, Fort Macon replaced Fort Dobbs, a wooden structure built in 1756 and Fort Hampton, a similar structure which eventually washed away.
Today the fort looks much the same as when it was built. The pentagon-shaped fortress is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. General Robert E. Lee was stationed at Fort Macon as a young Army officer. The scene of an significant Civil War Battle while occupied by Confederate troops, the fort was under a Union artillery siege from March 23 - April 26, 1862. Its fall into Union hands gave the Northern forces complete control of the entire North Carolina coast. It was re-garrisoned during the Spanish-American War and again during World War II.
Now Fort Macon is a 398 acre state park, one of the most poplar in the United States. Swimming, fishing, nature programs and trails, guided tours of the fort, a museum with numerous exhibits and audio-visual displays are some of the activities available. The old Fort Macon Life Boat Station, where history was made again as late as 1990 when the U. S. Coast Guard named a woman to its command, is adjacent to the state park.
The fort is great but the beach is also very nice and since its a state park --well maintained.
From journal "Beaufort by the Sea