Top 5 Outstanding Lighthouses on the Outer Banks to See

Lighthouses are located from the top of the Outer Banks in Corolla to the bottom in Ocracoke. They monitor and direct ships through dangerous routes and sound. Every lighthouse in the Outer Banks has a distinct personality, special qualities, and an interesting past, yet they are all vital to the coastline and the security of ships traveling through the region.

This page serves as a guide to the Outer Banks lighthouses, with historical details on each lighthouse, basic visitor information, recommendations for when to visit, lodging options close to the lighthouses, and more. We hope that this will assist you in organizing a fun trip to view the breathtaking lighthouses along North Carolina’s coast.

Top 5 Outstanding Lighthouses on the Outer Banks to See

Also Read: What Is the Meaning of OBX?

THE LIGHTHOUSE AT CURRITUCK BEACH

Corolla, NC 27927 1101 Corolla Village Rd

The northernmost lighthouse on our list and in the Outer Banks is the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, which is situated in Corolla, North Carolina. One of the few in America still using a first-order Fresnel lens that can be seen from 18 nautical miles distant, the lighthouse was originally lit in 1875.

The lighthouse has 220 stairs up to its summit and is 162 feet tall. Either they may take a guided tour or ascend the steps on their own. It costs $12 to visit the lighthouse (for those four years of age and up), but it’s free to walk outdoors.

A tiny, quaint gift shop with souvenirs and other lighthouse-related stuff is located next to the lighthouse. People can visit the lighthouse seven days a week from March to December.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is a well-known tourist destination because climbing is enjoyable and accessible. It’s worth the effort since the vista you’ll be treated to once you reach the summit is unlike anything else on the Outer Banks.

THE BODIE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

Nags Head, NC 27959, 8210 Bodie Island Lighthouse Rd

Situated on the Roanoke Sound side of the peninsula, near the southernmost point of Nags Head, lies the unique Bodie Island Lighthouse. Built in 1871, this lighthouse with black and white stripes is the only one still standing on Bodie Island. First applied in 1872.

Several repairs have subsequently been made to the lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, with the most recent one taking place in 2013. The summit, which has 214 stairs leading up to it, has sweeping views of the ocean and marshes.

About twenty miles distant, a flashing light produced by this fully operational lighthouse may be seen. The 214 steps can be climbed at the visitors’ own pace or by joining a guided tour.

Adults must pay $10 to enter the Bodie Island Lighthouse; elderly and children under 11 must pay $5. There will be sporadic operations of the Bodie Island Lighthouse from April 26, 2023, until October 9, 2023. Instead of pronouncing “OH” long, Bodie is pronounced, “Body”.

LIGHTHOUSE ROANOKE MARSHES

104 Fernando Street, Manteo, NC 27954

Located close to Manteo, North Carolina, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a modest lighthouse situated on a boardwalk that stretches into Shallowbag Bay. Similar to Bodie Island Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is the third lighthouse named after the area; the other two were lost and abandoned. The current one was constructed in 2004.

The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is distinctive in that it resembles a traditional beach bungalow from New England with a little lighthouse protruding from the top. In addition to the cottage below, visitors may explore the historical and educational displays. There are restrictions for climbing the actual lighthouse due to public safety concerns.

While the boardwalk is accessible year-round, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. throughout the spring, summer, and early fall. This is a great place to take pictures and discover the background of the Outer Banks. It is one of the Outer Banks’ most underappreciated lighthouses due to its size and position.

LIGHTHOUSE OF CAPE HATTERAS

Buxton, NC 27920 (4673 Lighthouse Rd)

When it comes to architecture, the 1870-completed Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is unmistakable due to its unique black-and-white strip pattern throughout. The purpose of the stripes was to aid seamen in identifying the pattern and determining which lighthouse they were seeing.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, standing at 198 feet, is the highest brick lighthouse in the United States and maybe the whole globe. There are 257 steps leading to the top, however, due to major repair work, the lighthouse itself is not open to the public. The date of the lighthouse’s reopening is still pending.

That does not mean you cannot attend! You may take pictures and explore the grounds surrounding the lighthouse any time of day, seven days a week.

LIGHTHOUSE OF OCRACOKE

360 Lighthouse Road, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Ocracoke Lighthouse, the southernmost lighthouse on the Outer Banks and the last lighthouse on our list is only accessible by boat or small plane. Situated on the southernmost point of Ocracoke, the 75-foot lighthouse was constructed in 1823 to aid mariners in navigating the Pamlico Sound.

The Ocracoke Lighthouse is a modest keep structure atop a plain white brick tower. Because of safety concerns, the lighthouse is not available to the public, although during the summer, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds, read the informative inscriptions, and take pictures. The public can visit the lighthouse site for free.

THINGS TO DO NEAR THE LIGHTHOUSES OF THE OUTER BANKS

There is more to see at the Outer Banks than just lighthouses. You should take advantage of the wonderful activities that are near many of the lighthouses while you’re there.

National Wright Brothers Memorial

1000 North Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

This sizable area honors the Wright Brothers’ historic achievement of completing the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. The 420 acres of grounds are open for visitors to explore, have picnics, snap photographs, and view the 60-foot granite monument honoring the Wright Brothers. You may remain in the park for as long as you’d like, although there is a nominal admission cost.

Wild Horse Tours in Corolla

1159 St F, Corolla, NC 27927

A sizable herd of wild horses that have roamed the area for generations may be seen at Cordova Beach, which is located on the northernmost tip of the Outer Banks. Enjoy off-roading experiences such as Corolla Wild Horse Tours and many more where you may spot these gorgeous horses. For a singular experience, you may board the 15-person open-air safari car!

National Seashore of Cape Hatteras

Buxton, North Carolina 27920

The greatest conserved area on the Outer Banks is the seven villages that make up the seventy-mile-long Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The location is perfect for a range of outdoor pursuits, such as hiking trails, beach drives, camping, fishing, and plenty of chances to see nearby animals.

On the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has some of the greatest camping spots. The best beach camping is found at four campsites spread out along the 70 miles of coastline. Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, Frisco, and Ocracoke Campground are the names of these campsites.

The State Park of Jockey’s Ridge

Nags Head, NC 27959, 300 W Carolista Dr

Maybe the largest dune system on the East Coast is found in Jockey’s Ridge State Park. There are km of coastline, marine life, and dunes in this 427-acre park! Hang gliding and windsurfing are popular hobbies, while hiking and beach activities are also accessible. For good cause, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is the most well-liked in North Carolina.

Pier Jennette

Nags Head, NC 27959 7223 S Virginia Dare Trail

The oldest and longest pier in the Outer Banks, Jennette’s Pier offers a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean. The public fishing areas, outdoor exhibits, indoor aquarium, weather station, and other attractions draw large crowds to the lengthy pier. On the pier are places for loading kayaks, boat rentals, and public beach access.

Dolphin Tours in Nags Head

Nags Head, NC 27959 7517 S Virginia Dare Trail

On a 40-foot pontoon boat, the Nags Head Dolphin Cruise offers a fantastic chance to get out on the sea and see these stunning marine animals. The journey departs from Nags Head and crosses Roanoke Sound on a boat for around two hours. Researchers and knowledgeable guides inform guests about the biodiversity of the Outer Banks throughout the voyage by sharing their discoveries.

Roanoke Island Festival Park is located on Roanoke Island.

1 Festival Park Road, Manteo, NC 27954

A 27-acre park called Roanoke Island Festival Park honors the first English colony in North Carolina. All ages may enjoy events at the historical park, including museum exhibits, historical costume performances, boat reconstructions, and hands-on history instruction. To further understand the significance of the park, visitors are encouraged to take a tour or explore it independently.

The park hosts a range of activities all year long, including firework displays, live music concerts, and the renowned Elizabethan Christmas program. If you’re ever on the Outer Banks, you have to visit Roanoke Island Festival Park. Several visitors remark that they could easily spend a whole day discovering and taking in everything the park has to offer.

Aquarium of North Carolina

374 Airport Road, Manteo, NC 27954

Situated on Roanoke Island, the North Carolina Aquarium is a dynamic and distinctive attraction. The aquarium has thousands of fish species, a display of buried marine treasures, a touch tank with stingrays and jellyfish, a wetland exhibit, and a 285,000-gallon shark tank.

The aquarium also runs a sizable program called Sea Turtle Aid and Rehabilitation (STAR). Every day, there are indoor and outdoor educational opportunities for visitors to partake in, including fishing, kayaking, animal health tours, and behind-the-scenes excursions.

The Gardens of Elizabeth

1411 National Park Dr., Manteo, NC 27954

Beautiful, vast botanical gardens inspired by those created for Queen Elizabeth I during her reign are known as the Elizabethan Gardens. Each year, hundreds of people visit the seasonal blooms, which showcase native Southern plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, and animals.

The garden is filled with several elements, such as rose gardens, butterfly gardens, birdbaths, and a discovery house. It is recommended that guests visit the Royal Exchange store for a few little items and plants after they visit the park.

National Historic Site of Fort Raleigh

1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954

Fort Raleigh National Historical Site is home to the state’s first English colony, Roanoke Colony. The website also offers details on the cultural history of the region, including those of the Native Americans and other European settlers of Roanoke Island.

The enormous park has fishing areas, hiking paths, a visitor center with educational films and artifacts, a memorial from 1896, and the renowned Waterside Theatre, where performers perform a symphonic drama about the vanished Roanoke colony called “The Lost Colony.” This outdoor symphonic drama is the nation’s first and longest-running production of its kind.

Sunset Cruise on the Outer Banks

1205 North Highway, Manteo, NC 27954

For more than 40 years, Outer Banks Adventures has led trips and offered life-changing experiences. With a wide range of cruise itineraries, dates, and styles, they provide unique airboat experiences. The dawn or sunset expedition, which allows visitors to go for two hours and capture the most breathtaking scenes on the lake, is their most well-liked excursion.

Chicamacomico Rescue Station

23645 North Carolina Highway 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968

One of the most notable historical sites on the East Coast and one of the few mostly preserved life-saving stations in the nation is the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. Constructed in 1874, the fascinating structure served for many years as the region’s main life-saving service center.

Explore exhibits inside that tell the narrative of the life-saving station and the Outer Banks. There are real artifacts, maps, and other items, together with interactive exhibitions.

National Wildlife Refuge on Pea Island

14500 North Carolina Highway 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968

To give birds a secure location to rest throughout their migration, the Pea Island Federal Wildlife Refuge was created in 1938 as a nationally protected area. Turtles and other endangered animals might find refuge in the area.

Over 370 distinct bird species visit the island throughout the year. Although the island is tiny, it has a beautiful half-mile ascent, beaches, and spots for kayaking or paddling, and fishing. To learn about every species on the island, there are guided trips available.

The Atlantic Museum’s Graveyard

59200 Museum Dr., Hatteras, NC 27943

One of the most visited museums in the Outer Banks is the Atlantic Museum’s Graveyard. This well-known maritime museum honors both maritime history and ships that have collided on the shore on the Outer Banks. The museum offers a fascinating family/youth treasure hunt with hidden things throughout the museum and prizes at the end, in addition to intriguing exhibits and antiques.

Ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke

59063 NC-12, Hatteras Island, North Carolina

After visiting the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, you have to take a 70-minute boat voyage to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Ferries go from Hatteras Port to Ocracoke often and for free throughout the day. This boat is a good option if you rent or own a car and need to get across the island quickly.

Dine at Neighbourhood Restaurants

The Outer Banks are renowned for their varied food and top-notch local restaurants. There are over 300 restaurants in the Outer Banks, each with a unique flare, style, and menu.

The greatest fresh seafood that is harvested locally is served in a variety of eateries along with Southern cuisine, North Carolina barbecue, handmade ice cream, and pretty much everything else you can imagine. The fantastic eateries on the Outer Banks have plenty to offer every tastebud.

Among the most well-known restaurants in the Outer Banks are Duck Donuts, which has many locations on the Outer Banks, Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant (Kitty Hawk), Sam & Omie’s (Nags Head), Tortugas Lie (Nags Head), and Diamond Shoals Restaurant (Buxton).

Top 5 Outstanding Lighthouses on the Outer Banks to See

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Conclusion

The fact that we can see and even climb inside some of the Outer Banks lighthouses is very incredible, and they occupy a particular position in history. Without a doubt, you should stop by these stunning lighthouses on your Outer Banks trip to see these amazing historical artifacts and learn more about the local area. With this knowledge, we hope you can better plan your trip and enjoy everything that the Outer Banks have to offer.

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