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North Carolina Coast Filled with Lighthouse Treasures

October 1st, 2013 by admin

Lighthouses have been a fixture along coastlines throughout the globe.  As settlers arrived in the New World and opened ports to trade with their European mother countries, lighthouses were erected up and down the Atlantic coast to safely guide these merchant ships through the often dangerous waters.  While many of these lighthouses still stand they have been obsolete for some time.  Instead of warning ships as they approached the coast they now draw tourists from inland.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

cape_hatteras_lighthouseNorth Carolina boasts one of the best maintained and beautiful clusters of lighthouses in the country.  The unique coastline made a string of lighthouses imperative, some of which date back to the 1800s.  Each of the seven surviving lighthouse possesses a rich history and unique structure overlooking some of the most beautiful and well regarded beaches in the country.  For instance, one of the most popular of the lighthouses at Cape Hatteras is not only the tallest, but it rests on the eastern most stretch of land in the country.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse



The Currituck Beach Lighthouse stands on the northern tip of the Outer Banks.  It was built as the last four lights along the Virginia Beach area to the north.  It is still in use today emitting short bursts of light to warn vessels of the rocky coast.




Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie_lighthouseThe Bodie Island Lighthouse is nicknamed ‘Body’ Island Lighthouse.  According to folklore, this grim moniker comes from the amount of bodies that washed up on the island from shipwrecks.  Good thing they finally built a lighthouse there in 1848.  One of its distinctive features are the 22 foot tall horizontal black stripes climbing the tower.


Ocracoke Island Lighthouse



The oldest Lighthouse still in continuous service is on Ocracoke Island.  Built in 1823, this lighthouse sits on a stretch of land off the Outer Banks and was used as a hideout by the infamous pirate, Blackbeard.



Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Cape Lookout LighthouseCape Lookout is the first lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.  The current tower was constructed in 1859, serving a vital role in the Civil War.  It is still in use today and the only lighthouse operational during daylight hours.  Cape Lookout is accessible only by boat so be sure to look into ferry schedules.

Bald Head Island Lighthouse

Bald Head Island Lighthouse

On Bald Head sits the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina.  Old ‘Baldie’ is a different structure, more of octagonal shape without the typical black and white coloring.  The original lighthouse was built in 1795 to warn sailors of the treacherous shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.  The current structure was built in 1817 and although it’s no longer in use it is a tourist destination.


Oak Island Lighthouse

oak_island_lighthouseAnd finally there’s the ‘baby’ of North Carolina’s lighthouses – Oak Island Lighthouse.  This structure was built in 1958 and still maintained by the Coast Guard in conjunction with the local beach community.  Its light can be seen up to 24 nautical miles in darkness.



For those seeking a relaxing vacation then look no further than coastal North Carolina.  Between the world-renowned Outer Banks or the Inner Coastal Waterway there’s plenty of beach to explore and appreciate.  There are pieces of history dating back to the colonial era, the Civil War, Kitty Hawk, and beyond that line the entire North Carolina coast all dotted with these lighthouse treasures.

As well as being destinations for tourists and history buffs, the lighthouse represents a symbol.  The lighthouse is a beacon, lighting the way for travelers and wanderers or anyone else who yearns to return home.


lighthouse_shower_curtainFor those fortunate enough to call the beach home, whether it’s full time or just part of the year, a lighthouse décor scheme is an understated and classy look for a beach home.  For those just visiting, lighthouse gifts are a perfect to either commemorate your trip or to pass on your experience to someone you care about.

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