Seven majestic lighthouses mark the coast of North Carolina from the Outer Banks to Brunswick Island. Not only do lighthouses teach people about the past, but they also give those brave enough to climb amazing views of the surrounding coastal lands. Here are the lighthouses that allow visitors, along with the quaint little towns that border them.
Old Baldy Lighthouse is located right off of Bald Head Island. The island is only accessible by boat or air and is home to 10,000 acres of unspoiled beach and forest preserves. Visitors can catch a quick ferry from Southport and stay at Bald Head Island vacation rentals.
Old Baldy is over 200 years old. The keeper’s cottage has been restored so that guests can see how the original quarters functioned. You can climb to the top, which is 108 steps, starting in March.
Visitors can cross over to Oak Island from the Brunswick Island beaches. Oak Island is open to the public all year round, but you must make an appointment to climb the lighthouse. The journey includes 131 steps and some ship ladders, so come dressed appropriately. This lighthouse is known for its extremely bright light which can be seen from 16 miles away.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the most recognizable in the country due to its “barber pole” design. It is located in Buxton, North Carolina, and is known as America’s Lighthouse. It was completed in 1870 and the light still functions today. Cape Hatteras is one of the tallest lighthouses, taking 257 steps to reach the top. This is equivalent to climbing a 12 story building! Climbs take place in the Spring and Summer only.
The lighthouse at Bodie Island is located at the entrance to Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Nags Head. This is not the original lighthouse, although some artifacts are displayed in the museum on site. There is also a neat little bookstore which is in the former keeper’s quarters. The Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Lighthouses can be visited on the same day and operate under the same schedule. This one is a little easier of a climb, topping out at 214 steps.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse is in Corrolla, North Carolina. This is the northernmost lighthouse on the list. It was made from one million red bricks in 1875, giving it a unique appearance. The first-order Fresnel lens is one of only a few still in operation. It continues to flash every 20 seconds and can be seen from 18 miles away. Visitors can climb the 220 steps from the middle of March to late November.