Enchanting Lighthouses of The Outer Banks
What makes lighthouses so appealing to locals and tourists?
For one, it’s their unique shape. Sometimes the lighthouses have a plain look to them, but some of the ones in North Carolina have their own unique look as well. Often there is a swirl pattern that makes them look like giant candy canes. Other times there are bright colors along with drawings to give the lighthouse a personality. What’s also fascinating about a lighthouse is how old fashioned they are. They are a reminder for days gone by when the lighthouse was the primary use for long range communication with boats.
Beacons of Hope
Lighthouses have also been known to appear in many literary works that focus on life at sea. Even in movies and on television these sentinels are the symbol of inspiration and hope for those who are lost and hopeless. Their presence is a positive one, and all along the East and West coasts of the United States they are seen as a hefty slice of “Americana.” This is why the lighthouses have remained standing for so long with few ever even considering taking them down. For many of us, they are historic monuments of what once was and what continues to be.
There are tons of lighthouses along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and they all work as a team to bring the ships back home. Here are a few of the more popular lighthouses in the region that many tourists love to walk over to on a cool summer day:
Bodie Island LighthouseBodie Island Lighthouse Website
The Bodie Island Lighthouse, (pronounced “Body”) is located just south of the town of Nags Head and Whalebone Junction, where Highway 158, Highway 64, and NC Highway 12 intersect. Visitors travelling towards Hatteras Island can’t help but notice the black and white horizontal striped structure, peaking out over a line of dense cedar trees on the soundside.
Currituck Beach LighthouseCurrituck Beach Lighthouse Website
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse, located in the heart of Corolla, borders the historic Whalehead Club and still functions as a guide for passing mariners. At 162′ feet tall, the lighthouse’s First Order Fresnel light, (the largest size available for American lighthouses), can be seen for 18 nautical miles as the light rotates in 20 second increments.
Cape Hatteras LighthouseCape Hatteras Lighthouse Website
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with its black and white candy-cane stripes, is one of the most famous and recognizable lighthouses in the world. Protecting one of the most treacherous stretches of the Outer Banks, with a beam of light that spans 20 miles into the ocean, the lighthouse is also the world’s tallest brick lighthouse at a staggering 208′ ft. tall.
Ocracoke Island LighthouseOcracoke Island Lighthouse Website
The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse may not be the most imposing of the Outer Banks lighthouses, but as North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in operation, (and the second oldest in the United States), it is certainly one of the most beloved. At just 65′ ft. tall, it is by far the smallest lighthouse on the Outer Banks, but it still towers over the 4 square miles of Ocracoke Village, and its beacon can be spotted up to 14 miles into the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
Roanoke Marshes LighthouseRoanoke Marshes Lighthouse Website
The Roanoke Marshes lighthouse is often one of the most overlooked of the Outer Banks lighthouses, simply because of its small stature, limited visibility and remote location tucked away at the quiet east end of the Manteo waterfront.
Illuminate the Dark
The Outer Banks is proud to feature some of the finest lighthouses on the Eastern coast of the United States. These lighthouses are a treat to the eyes, but more importantly, they are the beacons that bring the many ships of the North Carolina waterfront back to their docks. They stand tall, and will remain standing, for as long as they continue to provide a great service.