Tips for Climbing Bodie Island Lighthouse
After a four-year long renovation, the public is finally able to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Bodie Island Lighthouse for the first time. Until recently, only lighthouse keepers, family members and a few others have been allowed to climb the 214 steps, or 156 feet, to the top.
When it was completed in 1872, the Bodie Island Lighthouse sent its warning to sailors along a stretch of the Outer Banks that had been dark since an earlier lighthouse was destroyed during the Civil War. Its light was magnified by a Fresnel lens, made of 344 glass prisms that were removed during the restoration and cleaned, and now have been reassembled atop the 170-foot tower.
Seaside Vacations recently climbed to the top of the Bodie Island Lighthouse and is sharing its top tips for climbing this majestic Outer Banks landmark.
- Get your tickets in advance.
Tours fill up quickly so get your tickets in advance. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and only 22 people are allowed on each tour.
- Wear tennis shoes.
The Bodie Island website prohibits bare feet, flips flops, and heels over 1 ½ inches high.
- Bring a bottle of water.
Depending on when you visit the lighthouse, it’s probably a good idea to bring along some water to quench your thirst as you climb all 214 steps. Note: only bottled water is allowed inside the lighthouse.
- Don't forget your camera!
After climbing 214 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of the Outer Banks. From the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Pamlico Sound on the west, you’ll want to capture the breathtaking scenery.
- Be prepared for wind.
When you're 156 feet up in the air, and on the Outer Banks, there's a good chance it will be windy. Note: the park ranger will go out on the balcony first and test the wind speed. As long as it's blowing less than 35 knots, you'll be able to step out onto the balcony.
- Leave the littlest ones at the bottom.
You must be at least 42 inches tall to climb Bodie Island Lighthouse. Children under 12 must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old.
- Immerse yourself.
A friendly park ranger guides each tour – stopping on several landings as you climb to the top – teaching you about the history of the lighthouse, the Graveyard of the Atlantic, stories about life as a lighthouse keeper, and more.
“Being able to climb this majestic lighthouse in its inaugural year was truly a memorable experience,” said Kristen Constantineau. “I encourage our visitors to spend part of their vacation climbing to the top of this legendary Outer Banks landmark. You’ll get a remarkable view of the Outer Banks that most visitors will never experience.”
Guided tours are offered at the Bodie Island Lighthouse at set intervals, on a daily basis. For more information, including tour times and admission price, please visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse website.