Outer Banks Lighthouses
Few attractions along the Outer Banks of North Carolina are as famous as the lighthouses that dot our coastline. From the tallest lighthouse in the United States to a structure that stands on Blackbeard the Pirate's former stomping grounds, the lighthouses of the Outer Banks have guided mariners safely through the treacherous shoals of the Graveyard of the Atlantic for centuries.
You can climb the Outer Bank's lighthouses. While the timeframe varies from lighthouse to lighthouse, most are only open for climbing from mid-April to mid-October, so don't miss your chance to take in an unparalleled view of the Outer Banks from the top of one of our most well-known attractions!
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
A trip to the Outer Banks isn't complete without a visit to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Located in the town of Buxton on Hatteras Island, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has protected one of the most dangerous sections of the Diamond Shoals since it was initially constructed in 1803.
The present-day Cape Hatteras Lighthouse-which is best-known for its black-and-white spiral pattern-is the third rendition of this Outer Banks landmark and was completed in 1870. Earlier versions of the lighthouse-including the original sandstone structure that stood only 90 feet tall and a 150-foot-tall structure that was created when 60 extra feet were added to the height of the original lighthouse-weren't successful at helping mariners navigate the dangerous coastline. Construction on the current Cape Hatteras Lighthouse-whose beam of light can be seen for 20 miles-began in 1868, and the lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1870.
Visitors can climb 257 steps from the base of the CapeHatteras Lighthouse to the top of the 208-foot-tall structure daily from thethird Friday in April through Columbus Day.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
The present-day Bodie Island Lighthouse was built in 1872 and is the third lighthouse to be built on the site since 1848. The first lighthouse-a 54-foot-tall tower that suffered from structural issues-had to be torn down once it started leaning to one side just two years after its completion. The second tower-which was 80 feet tall and constructed in 1859-was destroyed during the Civil War in 1861 by Confederate troops who feared the structure would be used by enemy Union forces.
Although the Bodie Island Lighthouse was not open forclimbing for many years, the structure recently underwent extensive renovationsand reopened for climbing in the spring of 2013.
Visitors can climb now 214 steps to the top of the BodieIsland Lighthouse, where they will be rewarded by views of the Atlantic Ocean, theRoanoke Sound and nearby Coquina Beach.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is open for climbing from thethird Friday in April through Columbus Day.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Outer Banks vacationers who have visited the historic village of Corolla are likely familiar with the popular Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Construction on the Currituck Beach Lighthouse began in 1873, and, unlike its neighbors to the south, the 162-foot structure's red-brick exterior was left unpainted to differentiate it from other lighthouses on the Outer Banks.
The lighthouse still serves as a navigational aid formariners and is characterized by a 20-second flash cycle, in which its beacon stayson for 3 seconds and off for 17 seconds. The beam of light emitted from theCurrituck Beach Lighthouse can be seen for 18 nautical miles.
Visitors can climb 220 steps to the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, where they will be greeted with panoramic views of the Atlantic Oceana and Currituck Sound, as well as the nearby Whalehead Club. The lighthouse is open daily in 2016 from March 14 to November 26 (closed Thanksgiving Day).
Ocracoke Light Station
Although the Ocracoke Lighthouse is not open for climbing, it's an Outer Banks attraction that shouldn't be overlooked during your visit to the beach.
Located in Ocracoke Village-which is situated at the southern end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, on Ocracoke Island-and constructed in 1822, the Ocracoke Light Station is the second-oldest operating lighthouse in the United States. The structure historically served as both as a nautical aid to guide mariners through the tricky waterways of the southern Outer Banks and nearby Ocracoke Inlet, as well as a place for residents of the tiny island to seek shelter during hurricanes.
Ocracoke Light Station stands 75 feet tall and casts a beamof light that can be seen at sea for 14 miles.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016