What is the best way to tour all the Lighthouses of North Carolina?
We recommend starting with Currituck at the northern corner of north Carolina. (Unless you are coming from the southern coast on NC. In that instance just reverse this.) You can cover several lighthouses in a shorter amount of time starting from there. You can take Hwy 158/Hwy 12 through the northern Outer Banks.
We also recommend staying in Kill Devil Kills. By staying there, you can go to the Currituck Lighthouse about 25 mi. to the north, The Wright Brothers Memorial and Bodie Island, about 10 miles to the south. These three can be seen the same day.
The Northern Lighthouses (Currituck, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras) are all open to the public most days. You can climb Currituck and Cape Hatteras for a fee. Bodie is only open on the lower level on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10am to 2pm, due to problems with it's stair case.
You can continue from there to the south and see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, about 50 miles to the south (about 40 mi. south of Bodie.) Then continue on to Ocracoke. It's about a 30 min. ferry ride south of Hatteras Island. The Ocracoke Lighthouse is on the southern end of the Island.
The Ocracoke Lighthouse is privately owned. It's perimeter is open for viewing but that's all.
Continue on from Ocracoke. There is a 2.5 hour ferry ride to Cedar Island. There is not much once you get there. Your next major town/city would be Beaufort, follow the signs for Hwy 70 west, either one of these places would have comfortable places to stay. Although there are a few local places to stay on Harker's Island.
On the way to Beaufort you can follow the signs, just off of hwy 70, to visit the Cape Lookout National Seashore, at the end of Harker's Island. There are a couple local ferry services that run to Cape Lookout from Harker's Island. At the end of Harker's Island is also the Cape Lookout Museum along with a waterfowl museum that are both nice to checkout. Cape Lookout also has a great visitors area at the lighthouse site.
Hwy 70 takes you through Morehead City. Take Hwy 24 out of Morehead City and head towards Wilmington (you will need to take Hwy 17 south out of Jacksonville) Bald Head Island is just south of Wilmington. On the way to that ferry you can take a quick 6 mile detour and drive right up to the Oak Island Lighthouse. Both are just outside of Southport.
There are numerous places to stay in Wilmington.
Our website has most of the contact information for all of these places. There are also maps to get to each of the sites.
How many North Carolina Lighthouses still exist today?
There are a total of 9 original Lighthouses still standing and 2 Light Towers
The Lighthouses are:
Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Bald Head Island Lighthouse, Oak Island Lighthouse, Prices Creek Lighthouse, Roanoke River Light - The original river light
The 2 Light Towers are:
Diamond Shoals and Frying Pan Shoals
Roanoke Marsh Light is a replica located on the waterfront in Manteo, NC
Roanoke River Light replica is located in Plymouth, NC
Which lighthouses can I climb?
1) Currituck Beach Lighthouse - Go to http://www.currituckbeachlight.com/visit.php for current schedule and fees
2) Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - Go to http://www.outerbanks.org/attractions/lighthouses/cape_hatteras_lighthouse.asp for current schedule and fees
3) Cape Lookout Lighthouse - The grounds are always open, it will open in the spring at least 3 days a week through the end of the summer.
4) Bald Head Island Lighthouse
5) Oak Island Lighthouse ( Please see http://www.oakislandlighthouse.org/tours.htm )
The replica lighthouses may also be climbed in Manteo and Plymouth.
Note: Tours a these lighthouses are not run year round, so please check with the individual lighthouse to make sure they are open for tours.
Can you have a wedding at one of the NC lighthouses?
Yes. Many of them you can. You must get prior approval and a permit to have one at most of them. They do have limitations on what you may have or decorate there. Contact the Lighthouse you are interested in directly for more information.
Which lighthouse was the largest ever to be moved due to erosion problem?
Cape Hatteras was the tallest to ever be moved.
I am interested in a driving tour of NC lighthouses. Can you tell me which lighthouses are accessible by car, and wouldn't require taking a ferry to visit?
You can visit many of the lighthouses without needing to get on a ferry:
Currituck Beach Lighthouse ( Corolla )
Bodie Island Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Ocracoke can be driven to but it requires a vehicle ferry to get to the island of Ocracoke.
Oak Island Lighthouse
in addition to the replica lighthouses at Manteo and Plymouth.
What NC lighthouse is diamond painted and why?
This lighthouse would be Cape Lookout. Each of the lighthouses in North Carolina are painted in a different pattern to tell them apart from each another.
What is the best time of year to explore all of the lighthouses?
Most of the lighthouses are open from late spring to early fall for touring, but the grounds are open year round.
Anytime of year is a great time to see the lighthouses. It all depends on what time of year you like. Spring is also a good time since it hasn't gotten too hot yet and shops around the lighthouses that may have closed for the winter are opening up.Summers are a hot time to go but a great time if you want to get a little beach time in. My favorite is late summer or fall. The temperature is a little cooler but you have to keep an eye on the weather since that is prime hurricane season for the Outer Banks. Winter is a great time to visit too. You'll need to check ahead of time for the hours the lights are open since most go to a short schedule in the winter.
Where is the Bald Head Lighthouse located?
It is located on Bald Head Island. It can be reached by a passenger ferry out of Southport, NC.
Why was each lighthouse painted differently?
Each of the lighthouses in North Carolina are painted in a different pattern to tell them apart from each another.
While on vacation in NC we stay on Topsail Island. Are there any lighthouses close enough for us to tour?
Topsail Beach is in between the Wilmington area and Carteret County. Cape Lookout is about 1.5 hour drive to the north. Just northeast of Beaufort, in Harker's Island.
Oak Island and Bald Head Island Ferry is about 1 hour to the south. Just south of Wilmington.
Cape Lookout requires a private ferry (at last check around $10-$15 a person round trip) to get there. There are several listed on our site. I recommend the Local Yokal. The lighthouse is not open for climbing but the grounds are always open and is a nice quiet beach to visit. This would probably be an entire day trip, but there are many things to visit along the way.
Oak Island is one that you can drive right up to and doesn't take long to see. You would need to contact them ahead of time to tour the inside of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is about the only thing there so see.
Bald Head Island Village and lighthouse is a really neat experience. You take a ferry ride out of Southport (last check was about $15 round trip). Once you are there, you can take a short walk to the lighthouse, or call ahead and rent a golf cart to checkout the entire island. There are shops, restaurants, and several beach areas to visit throughout the island. This would be an entire day trip on the island.
Any of these are great places to visit.
Why are they all colored/painted differently?
They are painted differently to tell them apart during the day.
What is Bald Head Island lighthouse used for today?
Bald Head Island Light is used as a historical monument and still offers aid during the day to passing ships and boats.
I live is Washington state. DO you know of a place that I can purchase postcards of the North Carolina lighthouse that they will ship them to me in an envelope?
Check out our Gallery and Gifts page! There you can purchase pictures, postcards and other gifts with your favorite North Carolina Lighthouses on them.
Which lighthouses are close to myrtle beach, SC.
Oak Island and Bald Head Island are about 1.5 hours from Myrtle Beach. They would make a great day trip for someone in Myrtle Beach.
Is the cape Hatteras still used today?
Why do we have lighthouses?
To help guide ships along the coast.
How much does it cost to climb the Cape Hatteras?
The price changes yearly. We do try and keep the Cape Hatteras page on our site up to date.
Check the Cape Hatteras page for the latest information.
How long would it take to tour all NC lighthouses?
Depending on the person, it could take as little as 4 days. We recommend a week since each of the lighthouses is about 40 miles apart (as a bird flies). Though they are all on land many take ferry's to get there.
Are all North Carolina Lighthouses on land?
All of the lighthouses are on land. North Carolina does have 2 light stations (Texas oil rig type) that out in the ocean, just off shore.
Any ghost tales?
Check back shortly! Lots to come!
Are there benches or places to sit so we can relax and admire Cape Hatteras lighthouse?
There are many areas to sit and admire Cape Hatteras. They have a nice information and visitor's center in addition to shelter areas to sit at. Part of one can be seen in the Cape Hatteras information picture in the Hatteras page of the site.
We are going to Wilmington beach, could you tell me what light houses are in that area? Thank you!
Bald Head Island and Oak Island. Price's Creek can also be seen on the ferry ride from Southport to Fort Fisher.
Where is the best place to fly in to North Carolina to go see the light houses? I best place I have found is Raleigh/Durham. Then I believe you have to drive over 3 hours. Is there a closer air port?
You could fly into New Bern, NC - This puts you in the middle of them all.
You could fly into Virginia Beach, Va and explore the northern lighthouses.
You could fly into Wilmington and explore the Southern lighthouses.
It's all in what you want to see.
Is it true that the diamond shapes on the cape lookout light house,black diamonds face north and south and the white diamonds face east and west?
Yes, that is correct.
May I scatter the ashes of a loved one into the Bodie Island winds?
You will have to contact the lighthouse on an individual basis to see if they allow you to scatter ashes there.
Most probably will, though you will need to coordinate it with them and possibly acquire a simple permit.
Can you get married at a lighthouse?
Yes, most of them will allow you to get married. You would need to contact the individual lighthouse directly, or National Parks service, whichever applies, to find out what is needed.
Most require you to get a permit in advance.
What is the tallest lighthouse?
Cape Hatteras lighthouse is Americaâ€™s tallest lighthouse at 198 feet high.
How are these lighthouses used today?
Most are still uses as they were originally intended, as location markers along the coast. Others are used as museums and as monuments in our history.
Does the light turn inside?
Yes. The active lighthouses have a lens that turns inside.
How would sailors see lighthouses at night? How would they see them in the day?
Each light has a different flashing pattern. This allows sailors to know where they are at night.
Each light also has a different pattern painted on it. This allows sailors to know where they are during the day.
Why do some sites say there are 7 NC lighthouses and others say 9?
There are 7 lighthouses along the ocean seaboard. Then there are 2 additional lighthouses along the coastal rivers. Come sites only count the ones along the ocean while others count all 9 of them.
Do you have any historical information on Diamond Shoals Light Tower and Frying Pan Light Tower?
We are currently in the process of adding information on these 2 light towers.
I heard PART of a story on WSOC-TV news yesterday about a lighthouse structure sold at auction near South Port, NC for $500K yesterday (March 4) but can't find any story on the Internet confirming this.
Yes, In March (2009) Frying Pan Shoals was purchased for around $515,000 by a South Carolina company. The company plans to use part of the tower for a commercial diving school that will be run by the International Diving Institute in Charleston.
We own Lighthouse Passports. Does each lighthouse offer a stamp for our books?
Most of them do.
How far apart are North Carolina's lighthouses spread apart?
Each if the North Carolina Lighthouses are about 40 miles apart with the exception of Oak Island and Bald Head Island, which sit across the sound from each other.
What county is Cape Hatteras located? And what body of water surrounds it?
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is located in Buxton, NC. In Dare County.
It has the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern part of its shores and Pamlico Sound on its western shore.
One of NC's lighthouses flashes the most powerful beam in all of Amercia, which lighthouse is it?
The most powerful beam in the U.S. is in the Oak Island Lighthouse.
Is there a light house on an island in NC that you can serve as a guest volunteer to help operate the store and assist visitors?
Many of the lighthouses allow knowledgeable volunteers to assist on site. You would need to contact the light you are interested in volunteering with for more information. Some are through the National Parks service and others are by "friends" of the specific Lighthouse.
What is the closet lighthouse accessible by car to Emerald Isle?
The closest lighthouse to Emerald Isle is Cape Lookout. It can only be gotten to by passenger ferries out of Beaufort, Morehead City or Harker's Island. Morehead is about 20 minutes from Emerald Isle.
The next closest one it Oak Island in Southport. It is just south of Wilmington. You can drive right up to it.
There is also Bald Head Island that you can reach by passenger ferry out of Southport. It takes you to the Village of Bald Head Island and you can walk to the lighthouse from the ferry landing.
Which is the best ferry to take from Ocracoke to Cape Lookout, and how long is the ride?
The you need to take from Ocracoke is the one going to Cedar Island. The Ferry ride will take about 2.5 hours. You need to be at the ferry landing at least 30 minutes before it departs.
Once you reach Cedar Island you need to head to Harker's Island. It's about a 40 minute drive due to slow speed limits.
Follow the signs to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. They are usually brown signs.
In Harker's Island you need to catch a passenger ferry (boat) over to Cape Lookout. We recommend Calico Jack or the Local Yokal. Their contact information is on our Cape Lookout page.
which lighthouse was the largest ever to be moved due to erosion problem?
Cape Hatteras was the tallest.
What is the nickname for the waters off the coast of North Carolina?
The Graveyard of the Atlantic
Can you see the Cape Lookout Light from Emerald Isle?
Emerald Isle is about 50 Nautical Miles from Cape Lookout. You might be able to see the Cape Lookout lighthouse light on a good really clear night but it is doubtful.
Are pets allowed on the Cape Lookout and other lighthouses?
Yes, Pets are allowed on most of the lighthouse sites. They are considered State Parks in many ways. You would just need to make sure you cleaned up after them.
Exactly what city is Cape Hatteras located in?
Are there any lighthouses that you can stay overnight in?
Some of the lighthouse do allow you to be "keepers" for a short time. You will have to contact the individual lighthouse for more information. The contact information is listed under each lighthouses page.
Which lighthouse is closest to Holden Beach?
The closest lighthouses in North Carolina would be Oak Island Light and Bald Head Island Light. If you take the ferry over to or from Ft. Fisher you could also see what remains of the Price Creek Light.
Are there any groups that are trying to restore any of the lighthouses? Or are there any further plans to doing so?
There are several groups that are trying to restore and maintain the lighthouses in North Carolina. As of now most of them have some sort of group backing them and have been restored or are in the process of being restored right now.
What is the temperature on oak island?
The current temperature and weather conditions for the areas of each lighthouse can be found in the column on the right side of the page for each of the lighthouses.
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