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.