Time to Climb-NPS Opens Outer Banks Lighthouses

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Now that the weather is getting better, it’s time to think about the view from the top—in this case the top of Outer Banks lighthouses. The two lighthouses that are part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore are ready for climbing.

Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses are extraordinary structures; Cape Hatteras in Buxton, opened in 1870 is 193’ tall and is the tallest brick lighthouse on the East Coast. Forty-three miles north is its close cousin, Bodie Island Lighthouse. Dedicated in 1872 and 170’, it was patterned after the Hatteras Lighthouse using many leftover materials with the same contractor building it.

The view from both lighthouses is absolutely breathtaking. The world seems to fall away, running out to distant horizons. At the foot of Hatteras Lighthouse is Buxton Woods, running off to the south.

Bodie Island Lighthouse rises above the marsh and wetlands of South Nags Head. Looking south and east Oregon Inlet is clearly visible.

The climb to the top can be somewhat strenuous—narrow, twisting metal stairs and very little ventilation can get things pretty warm, especially in the summer. But whatever the effort—that view from the top makes the journey with while.

Lighthouses are available for climbing from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. There is a fee, age, weight and height requirements so check with the National Park Service for more information.

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