The Top Lighthouses in North Carolina

Are you on the coast of North Carolina and want to visit or maybe just learn about our lighthouses? North Carolina boasts seven historic lighthouses, many of which are known throughout the United States. Each light station is rich with history and offers a great view of the surrounding coast.

We listed the seven popular lighthouses and towers in this article.

Top Lighthouses in North Carolina

Oak Island Lighthouse

The Oak Island Lighthouse is located in the Town of Caswell Beach near the mouth of the Cape Fear River in Southeastern North Carolina. It sits next to the Oak Island Coast Guard Station on the east end of Oak Island in Brunswick County looking south out at the Atlantic Ocean. With a light that can be seen for 16 miles, it is one of the world’s most powerful. It is open for climbing the 131 steps all year by appointment, or select days Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Old Baldy Lighthouse

Bald Head Lighthouse, known as Old Baldy, was built in 1817 and is the oldest lighthouse still standing in North Carolina. It is the second of three lighthouses that have been built on Bald Head Island since the 19th century to help guide ships past the dangerous shoals at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. This is North Carolina’s southernmost lighthouse and is only accessible by water or air. It is open for climbing the 108 steps starting March 1.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse was built on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina in 1823 by Massachusetts builder Noah Porter. The whitewashed lighthouse stands 75 feet tall. Its diameter narrows from 25 feet at the base to 12 feet at its peak. The lighthouse was built to help guide ships through Ocracoke Inlet into Pamlico Sound. It is the oldest still-operating lighthouse in N.C. and the second-oldest still-active facility in the nation. This lighthouse doesn’t allow climbing to the top.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is a 163-foot high lighthouse located on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. It flashes every 15 seconds and is visible at least 12 miles out to sea and up to 19 miles. It is one of the very few lighthouses that operate during the day. It became fully automated in 1950. This lighthouse is most recognized for its large black-and-white diamond design. There are 207 steps and 360-degree views of the area’s beautiful ocean waters and undeveloped beaches. It is open for climbing from mid-May through mid-September on Wednesday – Sunday.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Light is a lighthouse located on Hatteras Island, on the Outer Banks, in the town of Buxton, North Carolina, and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks are a group of barrier islands on the North Carolina coast that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the coastal sounds and inlets. This lighthouse is the nation’s tallest and most recognizable and is commonly referred to as “America’s Lighthouse.” It is open for climbing from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The current Bodie Island (pronounced “body”) Lighthouse is the third that has stood in this vicinity of Bodie Island on the Outer Banks in North Carolina and was built in 1872. It stands 156 feet tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It is open for climbing from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The Currituck Beach Light Station is on the northern Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. It was built in 1875 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1973. The lighthouse is made from red brick, making it unique as compared to the common black-and-white color scheme of many lighthouses to the south. It is open for climbing from mid-March through late November.

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