Outer Banks Lighthouses
For more than two centuries, lighthouses have guarded the Outer Banks coast. Generations of seaborne travelers and mariners have sought the comfort of these beacons’ reassuring light as they navigated perilous channels and shoals that mark the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
The beautiful bare brick beacon was built to fill the last remaining “dark spot” of the North Carolina coast. Prior, many ships foundered in the 80-mile navigational void at night, but the Currituck Beach Lighthouse with its beam visible for 18 miles, help solved the problem.
This lighthouse is modeled after an 1877-1955 screwpile lighthouse that once guided mariners along a narrow channel connecting the Pamlico Sound to the Croatan Sound, at the south side of Roanoke Island.
Located just south of Nags Head, the Bodie Island Lighthouse today is the third version of the beacon built to help mariners maneuver the coast from Cape Hatteras to Currituck Beach. The original Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced “body”) was built in 1847, on the south side of Oregon Inlet.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, also known as America’s Lighthouse, is the tallest brick beacon in the country standing 208 feet. The familiar black and white spiral-striped landmark serves as a warning to mariners of submerged and shifting sandbars, which extend almost twenty miles off Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Ocracoke Lighthouse is North Carolina’s oldest operating lighthouse. It now stands 75 feet tall and serves as a harbor light, emitting a constant fixed beam. The exterior’s solid white coloration serves as its identifying mark to mariners by day. The Ocracoke Light is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation. With its aid, yesterday’s sailing vessels safely navigated the channels. Today, fishing and pleasure boats pass within its view. Though the lighthouse is not open for climbing, the site can be visited daily. Ocracoke Island is accessible by a free ferry. Ocracoke, NC