Lighthouses, North Carolina

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  • Information about the inlet
    Information about the inlet
    by grandmaR
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    From our boat
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    Closeup of fuel building
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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Bodie Island Lighthouse

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bodie Island Lighthouse
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    Built in 1872 this lighthouse lives in the shadow of its more famous neighbor, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This lighthouse was decommisioned by the Coast guard and turned over to the park service in 2000.

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    Oak Island Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Lighthouse from the Fort Fisher Ferry

    The name of the Oak Island Lighthouse comes from Oak Island (duh!) which is one of the most southern parts of the North Carolina coast. It replaced the Cape Fear Lighthouse on Bald Head in 1958.

    Oak Island Light stands 169 feet and uses an airport beacon rather than a Fresnel lens. This gives it the most powerful beam of all American lighthouses surpassed in brilliancy only by a French light on the English Channel. Two heliocopters were used to put the lamp in place. The beacon produces 2,500,000 candlepower and shines over 24 nautical miles. Because such intense blinding heat is generated by this light, repairmen must wear protective clothing and even then, they can work only a short time.

    Because of the need for a rock foundation solid enough to support the tower, the lighthouse builder had to go 125 feet underground. In winds up to 60 mph, this tower may sway as much as three feet.The concrete used during construction contains paint, so the structure will never need repainting. It has three horizontal sections, black at the top, then white and then grey.

    As the last manually operated lighthouse in the world, it is switched on each evening, just before sunset, and switched off, just after sunrise. The Oak Island light tower is currently in the care of the U.S. Coast Guard. Each week, someone climbs the 134 steep steps to inspect the light. This is the last lighthoues built in North Carolina and one of the last built in the United States.

    I took this picture when the light was still on, and timed it carefully so I could see the flash.

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    Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Currituck Beach Light in November
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    The historic light station at Corolla village (36 22 36 N, 75 49 51 W) is known as the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Technically it is NOT the Corolla Lighthouse.

    It is one of eight lighthouses positioned along the Outer Banks and was built after the Civil War to fill in the remaining darkness between Bodie Island and Cape Henry, Virginia. Construction was begun in 1873, at the Whaleshead settlement adjacent to Currituck Sound and was completed in 1875.

    It stands 163 feet high and is constructed of more than one million bricks. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse was left unpainted in order to distinguish it from the other lighthouses along the Outer Banks.

    According to the NPS, "The lighthouse remains today an active aid to navigation and for a number of years was the only lighthouse along the Outer Banks open to the public. It is the only lighthouse in North Carolina still housed in its original structure. It is one of only a dozen lighthouses nationwide with an original Fresnel lens still in use. In 1973, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places."

    The non-profit Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. had a 20 year lease on the lighthouse, and has now been awarded ownership of the historic structure.for education, park, recreation, cultural, or historic preservation purposes in 2003.

    More pictures information on my Corolla page

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    Ocracoke Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Lighthouse from the parking lot
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    Located in the fishing village of Ocracoke on one of the highest spots on the island of Ocracoke, this is the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina and is equipped with a fourth-order Fresnel lens.

    The first Ocracoke lighthouse, a 54-foot wooden tower was built on the Ocracoke Inlet entrance in 1798. This was where Edward Teach, otherwise known as "Blackbeard the Pirate," lived at one time. The channel shifted, rendering the lighthouse ineffective, and it was destroyed by lightening in 1818.

    It was replaced by a light vessel in the inlet in 1820, but by 1822 shifting sands made this useless, and Congress authorized the money to build the present tower which stands only 75 feet tall. Becaise it is the shortest lighthouse on the North Carolina Coast it can be only be seen for 14 miles.

    The lantern room is a bit off-center and one side of the tower is steeper than the other though architectural plans show all details in line. The lighthouse was cemented and whitewashed in 1868, giving it the appearance it has today. Originally fueled by whale oil, it is now lit by automatic electric power. It is still an active lighthouse, and is not open to the public.

    It has survived numerous hurricanes including the Hurricane of 1944. This hurricane flooded the entire island - some homes had 25-30 inches in them. Water lapped against the doorstep of the lighthouse and was seven inches deep in the keeper's house.

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    Bodie Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bodie Island and Lighthouse Keeper's House
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    The 150 ft tall Bodie Island Light (which is not actually on an island) is 4 miles north of Oregon Inlet, and is encircled by two black and three white bands. It is an active lighthouse which is equipped with the original first-order Fresnel lens (which is treated as a separate property from the tower itself). The 160,000 candlepower beacon flashes 19 miles over the ocean in the on for 2.5 seconds and then off for the same period pattern.

    Originally built on Pea Island in 1847, and rebuilt with improvements in 1859, the 80 foot tower was blown up in 1862 by Confederate troops to prevent its use as a position marker by the Union forces.

    On October 1, 1872, the present tower was put into operation and is the third lighthouse built here. According to a lightkeeper on duty at the time, shortly after this light was activated, a flock of wild geese flew into the lantern, causing severe damage to the lens. It was quickly repaired, and a wire screen was placed around the light to prevent further mishap. It was also necessary to put a lightening rod on the tower.

    The light was electrified in 1932, which ended the need for an on-site keeper. Finally, all of the light station’s property except the tower itself were transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. Still a functioning U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid, the tower is closed to the public.

    One of the attractions of this lighthouse is that it isn't open to be climbed, so I don't have to feel guilty about not climbing it. It is all surrounded with that orange plastic web fencing at ground level - apparently because pieces sometimes fall off of it - which is another reason that it can't be climbed I guess.

    Although the tower is not open for climbing, the lighthouse keeper cottage is now a museum, and there are ccessible restrooms, a visitor center, walking paths, and a unique bookstore.

    Open All Year 9am - 6pm in summer, 9am - 5 pm rest of year
    5/31/04 - 9/6/04 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
    9/7/04 - 5/29/05 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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    Cape Hatteras

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 3, 2009

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    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
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    At 208 feet tall, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (tallest in the United States) is painted in black and white spirals. The light can be seen for 20 miles, warning ships of Diamond Shoals which is a twelve-mile long sandbar that lies just offshore where so many ships have foundered. Diamond Shoals is the meeting place of the cold Labrador current and the warm Gulf Stream and where they meet are the shifting sands of Diamond Shoals.

    The present lighthouse is the second of three. It was modeled after the light at Cape Lookout and had a first-order Fresnel lens to magnify a small oil wick flame at the tower's top. In the 1920s, erosion became a major problem to the new lighthouse. By 1936, the sea was lapping at the base of the tower, so the Coast Guard built a frame tower further inland.

    The light from the temporary tower was moved to the present lighthouse on July 23, 1950, which put it back into operation. When reactivated, it was replaced by a rotating beacon--a double affair with 1000-watt lamps in each beacon--visible for 20 miles. However, it has been reported as being seen 51 miles at sea and 115 miles in the air.

    The octagonal base of brick and granite, measures twenty-four (24) feet by forty-five (45) feet six inches. The black and white barber-pole paint, or "candystriping" was added in 1873 to make the lighthouse more distinctive during the day. Today, the beacon is automated, but at the time it was built, the keeper had to wind weights suspended by heavy cables in order to rotate the thousand-prism lens

    In the summer of 1999, the lighthouse was moved 2899.57 feet from its original location

    The "Double Keeper's Quarters" is used to house the "Museum of the Sea" and the Buxton Visitor Center.

    Opening for Climbing:
    Good Friday to Columbus Day (weather permitting)

    Lighthouse Fees:
    $6.00/Climb Adults - Day
    $3.00/Climb Child (12 and under) - Day
    $3.00/Climb 62 and older - Day

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    Price's Creek Front Range Light (ruin)

    by grandmaR Written May 6, 2005

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    Price Creek Light from the Fort Fisher ferry
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    Originally there were several lighthouses on the Cape Fear River. In addition to this one at Price Creek, the others were Campbell Island and Ortons Point. Prices Creek built in 1849 once consisted of a front and rear range light, built to guide shipping into the hazardous river. Both lights were deactivated in 1861. There are now many more modern ranges to guide shipping into the river, so this range is not needed.

    What remains today is the 20' tall brick conical tower of the front light, without its birdcage styled lantern room or lens. The lighthouse has been restored by the owner of the private property, but it is inaccessible by land.

    However, it can be seen from the Southport-Fort Fisher ferry. It is the closest lighthouse that can be seen from the ferry. Bald Head and Oak Island can also be seen but are more distant.

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    The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Written May 6, 2005

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    Looking out along the dock

    This is a replica of an 1877 screwpile lighthouse that was located offshore in Croatan Sound. It was decommisioned by the US Coast Guard in 1955. It has a short tower with the lantern on roof of the 1 1/2 story wooden keeper's house. An attempt to move the structure to the mainland by an individual destroyed it beyond repair.

    The replica was dedicated on September 25, 2004, and contains exhibits highlighting Roanoke Island's maritime heritage, including a history of the Marshes Lighthouse and its keepers. It is located along the waterfront walk of "Shallowbag Bay" just off the east end of Queen Elizabeth Street in Manteo on what used to be called the "sewer-pier" back in the early 1990s. The sewer treatment facility no longer exists and the pier has been completely renovated

    Hours:
    Tuesday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm

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    Cape Fear Light aka Bald Head

    by grandmaR Updated May 6, 2005

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    Bald Head at Night
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    The 20-mile area of shoals called Frying Pan Shoals guard the entrance to the Cape Fear River from the north. The Cape Fear Lighthouse which was built on Bald Head Island did not ever really protect shipping from those shoals. There is also another smaller shoal area south of the River but it is not nearly as extensive.

    The current lighthouse, nicknamed "Old Baldy," was build in 1818 about a mile from the ocean. Bald Head light was finally discontinued in 1935. From 1941 to 1958, Old Baldy produced a radio beacon to direct ships into the Cape Fear River Channel in times of fog and bad weather.

    Today, it is a restored historical site (inactive) on Bald Head Island and can be climbed. Donation of $3 requested to tour lighthouse

    I have not climbed it, but it has been reported that there is a wooden staircases and plaster chipping off brick. I've always thought that the outside looked a bit like it had mange or something.

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    Bodie Island Lighthouse

    by tpangelinan Updated Nov 28, 2003

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    Bodie Island lighthouse

    The Outer Banks of North Carolina have some of the most beautiful lighthouses. If you follow route 12 south from Corolla on down to Ocracoke Island you'll find serveral, wonderful photo ops! We feel this is a must do, make it like a treasure hunt!

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    Nags Head - Light house

    by Hexepatty Updated Sep 23, 2003

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    Or maybe it's kill devil hills? Ahhh.. no doubt some other VTr has this same photo. Probably a FEW other VTrs, smile... Near Ocracoke. I know I went there. We took a ferry at one point too to somewhere. Gosh it's pretty in this area. ALways hit be hurricanes, sadly...

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    Ocracoke Lighthouse is the...

    by KathyW Written Sep 11, 2002

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    Ocracoke Lighthouse is the oldest (1823) and shortest (75 feet) of the Outer Banks lighthouses. It's actually the second oldest operational lighthouse in America.

    Ocracoke Island is reached only by ferry. We caught the ferry at the southern end of Hatteras Island, about a 45 minute ride. There's then a 12 mile drive to Ocracoke Village, which is an interesting place for a day trip... or even a more extended trip. Since Ocracoke is more isolated than the rest of the Outer Banks, it does have a different atmosphere-- definitely more laid-back!

    The lighthouse is a short walk from the village, on Silver Lake. Although its still operational, its not open to the public.

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    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is...

    by KathyW Written Sep 11, 2002

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    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the best known of the Outer Banks lighthouses, especially because of its famous relocation last year due to erosion of its old location. We have not visited the lighthouse since it has moved to its new location.

    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is similar to Bodie Island, but its black and white stripes are diagonal. It's located near the southern end of Hatteras Island and is 180 feet high. The lighthouse was built in 1869. I climbed to the top in 1998 (my husband and daughter stayed at the bottom as it was very windy). There is a visitors center.

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    Bodie Island Lighthouse is...

    by KathyW Written Sep 11, 2002

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    Bodie Island Lighthouse is south of Nags Head, just before you cross the bridge at Oregon Inlet. This lighthouse is also 150 feet high and was built in 1872. It is identified by its horizontal black and white stripes. The keepers quarters have been restored and now serve as a visitors center. However, the lighthouse itself is not available to the public.

    Nearby is a beautiful desolate beach-- Coquina Beach. It's a very natural beach and good for swimming.

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    Currituck Beach lighthouse is...

    by KathyW Written Sep 11, 2002

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    Currituck Beach lighthouse is the northernmost lighthouse, just outside the town of Corolla. The red-bricked lighthouse was built and first lighted in 1875. It is 150 feet high. The property also includes a Lighthouse Keeper's House.

    Currituck lighthouse is open to the public and you can walk to the top (214 steps). The view from the top is well worth it! My husband did climb to the top but refused to go out on the circular platform. There's a neat shop on site where you can buy lighthouse things.

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