Learning. Discovering. Exploring.
Fort Caswell’s Environmental Stewardship Program lets North Carolina’s estuaries, marshland and beaches become the classroom.
As you cross the bridge into Oak Island, you will drive right over one of North Carolina’s most diverse ecosystems: the estuary. Estuaries are areas where the river meets the sea, and they are “nurseries” for many plant, fish and animal species. Fort Caswell is located right on an estuary, surrounded by the Cape Fear River, Atlantic Ocean and unsullied marshland.
Because Fort Caswell sits on such a unique ecosystem, we offer a Coastal Education program that focuses on giving kids hand-on experience in an outdoor environment. Students can get their hands wet looking for crabs, use sieves and seines to discover flora and fauna, view plankton under a microscope and even kayak up a tidal creek! Our curriculum is designed to correlate with NC Essential Standards for Science and Social Studies. Curriculum is either developed on-site or made available through agencies and programs including (but not limited to):
Our programs are offered to public, private or homeschool groups. Read below for more information on our specific programs and sign up today!
“The program at Fort Caswell really reinforced the lessons from the classroom. The students were engaged and had a blast. Thank you for such a great experience!”
- Fletcher Academy
We offer this program to student groups needing to arrive and depart on the same day. Students will rotate between 4 stations where they will be introduced to 2 different ecosystems: the estuary and the beach. Topics include Estuary Explorations, Tide and Dune Exploration, Marine Ecology, Water Quality and Maritime History.
Arrival times may vary, but we ask for a minimum of 4 ½ hours to get through the activities. Lunches are provided at additional cost, but we also welcome groups to bring sack lunches from school or home.
Program Pricing: $15/student. Each classroom receives 4 adult passes. Additional adults are $7.50.
Half-day Overnight Trips
“One of my favorite activities was crabbing, both ghost crabbing and blue crabbing. I want to come back really soon!”
-7th grade student, Arborbrook Christian Academy
This program is available as one or more half-days to student groups staying on-site. Students will rotate between 3 stations at one site. The program lasts for 3 hours and is offered in the morning or afternoon. Nighttime Ghost Crab Hunt, Pirate Program and History Hayride are available in the evening by request at an additional cost.
Program Pricing: $8/student for each ½ day program. No teacher or chaperone fees if staying with us.
“All my [teaching] fellows had positive comments on this leadership retreat – they were especially happy to visit the beach!”
- Director, UNC Pembroke Teaching Fellows Program
Our coastal education staff offers a 1 ½ hour Leadership and Team building workshop for youth. The “activities with a purpose” are designed to build trust, responsibility and communication skills within a group setting. Students are given time to reflect and comment on observations, challenges, successes and failures of group efforts during debriefing time at the end of the workshop.
Program Pricing: $8/student; No program fee for teachers or chaperones.
Boy’s and Girl’s Barracks
- Large bunk rooms. Guests must bring their own linens, towels and pillows.
- 50 person minimum / 175 maximum for each building
- Dormitory style housing. Guests must bring their own linens, towels and pillows.
- 6 residence buildings available. Minimum / Maximum occupancy vary by building
- Fort Caswell also offers cottages and hotel-style housing.
To see a full range of housing options, please visit Reservations.
Ft. Caswell has two dining facilities on campus. Meal times are flexible; however, if your schedule doesn’t allow for a leisurely cafeteria style meal, we will be happy to prepare bag lunches for your group or even quick biscuit breakfasts.
Want to learn more about the area? The coastal Cape Fear region has lots to offer in terms of environmental education centers, historical sites and museums. Fort Caswell provides a central location for lodging and meals as you journey around to our cultural and natural history sites.
Below are links to commonly visited educational venues from the surrounding area. Let us help you make the most of your field trip experience for you and your students