The waters off the coast of North Carolina are known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. This portion of the Atlantic Ocean has seen a high number of shipwrecks due to strong currents and winds as well as shifting sands. The lighthouses of the Outer Banks were put in place to guide ships safely through the sea. Now, you can visit them and even climb some to the top to see the Outer Banks from above.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Located in Corolla, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse
was finished in 1875. It was built using red bricks and was left unpainted. This makes it easy to recognize because the other Outer Banks lighthouses are painted. The structure stands 162 feet tall and the light can be seen from 18 nautical miles away. Before the lighthouse was built, the northern portion of the Outer Banks was not the busy vacation destination it is today. Hardly anyone lived there at all. This meant that sailors were passing by in the dark, making it difficult to identify the coastline and steer clear of obstacles. Since its completion, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse has guided countless ships through the dangerous Graveyard of the Atlantic
The original lightkeepers house has been restored and now serves as a small museum where visitors can learn more about the history of the lighthouse. Nearby, you can also tour the historic Whalehead Club
Visitors ages four and up can climb the lighthouse for 12 dollars. This year the establishment is open from March 18th through November 30th. The lighthouse may close for storms.
After climbing the lighthouse and seeing how beautiful Corolla is from above, you may be thinking this is the place for you. The Brad Beacham Group is here to help you find homes for sale in Corolla, North Carolina. Contact Brad to find your dream home!
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
can be found in Downtown Manteo on the waterfront. The structure looks more like a house than a lighthouse and is often overlooked. It is a replica of the original that was built in Wanchese in 1877. Unlike the other lighthouses on the Outer Banks, Roanoke Marshes is a river lighthouse. This is why it stands shorter, at 37 feet tall. River lighthouses are used to guide sailors through rivers and canals toward inland ports.
Inside the lighthouse, you will find a small museum dedicated to its history. Visitors can also explore historical and charming Downtown Manteo. There are shops and restaurants, and educational sites at Roanoke Island Festival Park
Bodie Island Lighthouse
The Bodie Island Lighthouse
can be found just south of Nags Head. It sports black and white horizontal stripes and stands at 156 feet in height. Its light can be seen for 19 miles. It was decided that a lighthouse was needed near Pea Island due to the large number of shipwrecks in that area. After two failed attempts, the third and final lighthouse that we see today was completed in 1872.
The lighthouse is accompanied by the keepers’ house which has been restored and now serves as a ranger office and visitor center. Not only is the lighthouse itself beautiful, but the surrounding land is breathtaking as well. Visitors can walk the grounds and explore the marshes, forests, and ponds. There is also plenty of wildlife to see around the lighthouse.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is open for climbing between April 26th and October 9th. Climbs occur from 9am to 5pm. You can purchase tickets online
for 10 dollars. The view from the top of the lighthouse is a must see!
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Located in Buxton, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
stands 208 feet tall and can be recognized by its black and white swirling stripes. The original Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was completed in 1803, but storms damaged it beyond repair. The current lighthouse was first lit in 1870. Over the years, erosion brought the sea dangerously close to the lighthouse, and in 1999, the lighthouse was moved inland 2,900 feet to prevent it from falling into the ocean. Moving the 208 foot brick building was an impressive feat!
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is currently undergoing renovations and is not open for climbing. However, visitors can still look on from the ground and explore the museum, gift shop, picnic area, nature trail, and nearby beach.
Ocracoke Light Station
Ocracoke has been a busy inlet for hundreds of years. It became recognized as the best way to get to inland ports. But navigating through the barrier island at night was dangerous. The inlet needed a lighthouse. The Ocracoke Light Station
is North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in operation. Built in 1823, it is 75 feet tall and painted white. It is accompanied by the keepers’ quarters where the light keepers lived.
The light station is not open for climbing, but visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds and take pictures. Ocracoke is small enough that visitors can easily bike to the lighthouse from any part of the island.
A Light for All
The Outer Banks has a rich history. Visiting our lighthouses can illuminate the past and help us discover this popular vacation destination’s roots. Lighthouses have guided sailors safely through our seas and inlets, and the view from the top is breathtaking! Be sure to check out some of these historical structures on your next visit to our coast! And if you are interested in finding homes for sale on the Outer Banks, North Carolina
contact Brad Beacham