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Lighthouses of the Outer Banks

Updated on October 19, 2014

Plan An Outer Banks Lighthouse Tour

If you love the East Coast, and you love lighthouses, why not plan a lighthouse tour for your next family vacation? The lighthouses featured in this tour are located on a series of long narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, known as the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is known for its beautiful lighthouses, rich history, and pristine beaches. There are more activities listed here than you will be able to do in one trip. Pick your favorites of these options, and you will have a wonderful, custom-made lighthouse vacation for you, and your family. Enjoy this guide to some of the best activities available in the Outer Banks, visit the lighthouses, and see the other great sights the East Coast has to offer.

The Outer Banks area is so fascinating you can plan a vacation centered on any one of the lighthouses, or plan to visit them all in one trip. Just a warning if you are planning on seeing them all in one trip, there are so many other fascinating things to do in the area you will easily get sidetracked, and wish you could increase the length of your stay!

Image: Linette G

Currituck Beach Light Station

The first stop on the tour is the Currituck Beach Light Station, which is located in Corolla, and was built in 1875. It was the last of the tall lighthouses built in the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks Conservationists worked very hard to restore this rustic lighthouse to it's original splendor. You can climb this lighthouse during the day if you visit between March and Thanksgiving. Enjoy the spectacular view of the beach and ocean from the top of the lighthouse.

While you are here check out the nature reserves, and the local beaches. Currituck County's northern beaches are majestic, and relaxing. They have been listed by USA Weekend as ''one of the 10 best undiscovered beaches on the East Coast.''

If you enjoy nature visit the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, or the Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve. The Coastal Estuarine Reserve is only accessible with a four-wheel drive vehicle. If you can access this portion of the island it is worth the effort, to see the natural, untouched, rustic environment.

Corolla or Currituck Beach Lighthouse

A View From The Currituck Light Station Window

A View From The Currituck Light Station Window
A View From The Currituck Light Station Window

Outer Banks Information Links

If you rent a house you may want to come a couple days early, and get a hotel for a night, or two while you check out the northern, or southern areas. This will allow you to check out the outermost lighthouses with a minimum of travel time.

If you would like to make this a learning tour, or just find out more information about the area, check out the following sources:

The next spot on the map when you are traveling through the Outer Banks is the town of Duck. Like its name implies, Duck is famous for it's abundance of water-fowl. It is listed as a natural bird sanctuary. If you enjoy bird watching check out the beaches, woodlands, inlets, and ponds around this small town to find the best birding locations.

Kitty Hawk

The town of Kitty Hawk is famous for being the home of the Wright Brothers while they were working on the discovery of flight. Kitty Hawk is also famous for its delightful beaches on both the ocean, and sound side. While you are there visit the Albemarle Sound, and submerge yourself in the rustic town, of this quaint fishing area.

A Storm Sky Gathers at Kitty Hawk

A Wright Brothers Replica Plane At The Wright Brothers Memorial

A Wright Brothers Replica Plane At The Wright Brothers Memorial
A Wright Brothers Replica Plane At The Wright Brothers Memorial

Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills was the location of one of the Wright Brother's earliest flights, this flight has been immortalized by the Wright Brother's Memorial. The Memorial was constructed in the 1930's it is located at the top of the Kill Devil Dune. This famous landmark can be seen for miles. Stop by, take a hike to the top of the dune, and check out this piece of history.

The Wright Flyer I in Which the First Powered Flight was Made in Kill Devil Hills...

The Wright Brothers Memorial

The Wright Brothers Memorial
The Wright Brothers Memorial

Nags Head

Just down the road from Kill Devil Hills you will find the town of Nags Head. Nags Head features several unique shops including the artists shops in Gallery Row, where you can purchase a beautifully framed print, or painting of your favorite lighthouse. Another great find is Jennette's Fishing Pier, it is the oldest fishing Pier in the Outer Banks. You and your family can enjoy an afternoon of fishing, or just check out the coastline view from the pier.

If you enjoy flying kites pick up a new kite at Kitty Hawk Kites, and visit Jockey's Ridge State Park. Here you can enjoy kite flying, hang gliding or go hiking in the sand dunes. When you are done flying kites, drive over to watch the charter fishing boats come in, and unload their catch. It may inspire you to take your own charter-fishing trip, when you see all of the interesting catches others haul in.

Fishing Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina

Nags Head Pier

Beachfront Homes, Atlantic, Nags Head

Bodie Light Station

Continue through the islands in the Outer Banks, to the Bodie Island Light Station built in 1872. While they were building the Bodie Island Light Station five ships wrecked on the coast nearby, reinforcing the need for a lighthouse in this location. This lighthouse is located in the center of a natural wildlife preserve. While you are visiting the Bodie Island Lighthouse, take a walk along the grass pathway, and check out the bird observation decks. Cross the road to Coquina Beach, and discover a unique, beautiful beach where you can spend the afternoon with your family.

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Part of the ...

Man Paddling Canoe in Mist, Roanoke R...

Cape Hatteras Light Station

The Cape Hatteras Light Station, located in Cape Hatteras is the next lighthouse on the trail. This tower was built in 1870, and is the second tower built in this location, the first tower was built in 1803. The Cape Hatteras Light Station is the tallest lighthouse made of brick in the US.

The 198-Foot Tall Lighthouse on Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Ocracoke Light Station

The Ocracoke Light Station, built in 1823, is located on Ocracoke Island. This rustic lighthouse can only be reached by ferry. Ocracoke is a wonderful island to visit. To get the full affect of the island you will want to put on your walking shoes. It is a quaint little island with a unique collection of specialty shops, take a walk around the town, the lighthouse and the museum. You can dine outdoors at an open-air dockside bar, or check out Blackbeard's Museum, and immerse yourself in the life of a pirate.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout Light Station was built in 1859, and is the most remote; and difficult lighthouse to travel to. From Ocracoke Island, take the Cedar Island Ferry. This ferry requires an advance reservation, call 1-800-BY-FERRY to reserve your spot. After your ferry ride you will need to travel another thirty minutes by car, and take another 20-minute boat ride to reach your final destination. While you are visiting the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, check out the impressive, remote beaches, and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum.

This lighthouse tour does not cover every activity there is to do in the Outer Banks, but it gives you a great start on planning a wonderful vacation. There are several fine restaurants to check out during your stay, and unique shops to stop at along the way. If you are not concerned about sunbathing, check out the islands during the off season. There are still many activities, and you will get the full affect of the rustic history of this natural historic area.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse Silhouetted a...

Rent a House On The Beach in the Outer Banks

If you want to make a week of it (or two), check out the house rentals along the beach. Depending on the season, you can rent a house to fit most budgets. From single family homes, with an ocean view, to multi-family homes with pools, and hot tubs, located right on the beach. Here are a couple of the realtor's sites to check out for house rentals in the Outer Banks:

Share your favorite places, lighthouses, and things to do.

Have You Been To The Outer Banks?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm so glad I found this. Thank you for sharing, these photos captured the moments, and your articles are interesting.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Stopping back by to give your a Squid Angel blessing!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      8 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lighthouse lens! Added to my lensroll for Fenwick Island Lighthouse

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 

      8 years ago

      I favorited this lens a long time ago and had to come back and bless it. It's just so beautiful and I hope to see these lighthouses some day.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      No, but it would be a treat -- blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      8 years ago from Nashville, TN

      NO. But it seems to be a beautiful place.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      We are planning a trip to the Outer Banks in August. I'm looking forward to photographing the lighthouses there.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Outer Banks Lighthouses! We vacation in Duck almost every summer! Last summer we decided to change things up a little and went to Salvo. Great Lens!

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 

      9 years ago

      I've been photographing the lighthouses of The Great Lakes for the past 4 years. I hope to get to capture the Outer Banks ones someday in the near future. Great idea for a lens. I've learned some new things. 5*

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      9 years ago from Concord VA

      Yes, we always vacation on Cape Hatteras! Great lens!

    • x3xsolxdierx3x lm profile image

      x3xsolxdierx3x lm 

      9 years ago

      Excellent lens! :) 5 stars i love those pics :)

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      I haven't been to OBX in a long time, I could use a getaway. The lighthouses are just massive. Squid Angel blessed!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      10 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Wonderful lens 5****. I hope you will join my new group Lighthouses.

    • patinkc profile image


      10 years ago from Midwest

      I haven't been to the Outer Banks, but I rode out a thunderstorm at the top of a lighthouse in Cozumel Mexico. That was quite a thrill!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      10 years ago from USA

      I live in NC. I think it's time I paid a visit to these beautiful lighthouses!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


      10 years ago

      I love lighthouses. There are several on the shores of SC that's I've seen, but I haven't seen the ones farther north.

      Great lens


    • TopStyleTravel profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens! 5 Stars! Never been to the Outer Banks but I love lighthouses. After reading your lens I will add it to my list and recommend to my clients. Thanks

    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 

      10 years ago

      I doubt I will ever get to the Outer Banks but I really enjoyed this lens, there is something that I find fascinating about lighthouses.

      5* and lensrolled to The Disappearance Of The Keepers Of The Flannan Isles Lighthouse.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      10 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Beautiful lens. I love lighthouses and you have really captured some real treasures.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      10 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      This is a great lens. I was looking for a place to take photographs of lighthouses on the North Carolina or South Carolina coast and this lens gave me lots of great ideas. Thank you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Ah, we love lighthouses and have a friend that also is a big fan -- he makes it a point to visit lighthouses. I've got a few pictures someplace of several lighthouses we've visited -- Hawaii, Hilton Head, St. Augustine.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Been a number of years now but used to spend a good deal of time on the Outer Banks. My favorite area was from Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke. Grreat lense. Thanks!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      beautiful lens. nice information on lighthouses.

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 

      10 years ago

      That's some great lighthouse information you have there. I've always enjoyed seeing lighthouses, and about five years ago, became an avid sail boater. Sailing all around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay in Ontario, has given me plenty of opportunities to see even more lighthouses. I wrote a blog post about lighthouse posters on my website a while a ago. You may enjoy giving it a read.

    • GypsyOwl profile image

      Deb Bryan 

      10 years ago from Chico California

      Oh My! I adore this lens. :D Is this room available? "A View From The Currituck Light Station Window"! That is just where I want to be sitting with a cup of tea looking out over the tree tops. :D I love lighthouses! This is such a beautiful lens Thank You 5* FAV

    • K Linda profile image

      K Linda 

      10 years ago

      Hi Barkley. A million years ago (well, really about 40 years ago), I lived with first husband and infant daughter in the Norfolk, VA, area when he was in the Navy. We used to drive to the Outer Banks on weekends. Very beautiful area. I also love lighthouses and take photos of them wherever I find them. This is a wonderful lens.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      We have sooo many memories from the Outer Banks, one of our most favorite places in the world! My boys remember when we rented a beach house near Kitty Hawk. We had a wonderful time despite the nor'easter that about blew us into the water! They barely remember visiting the Wright Brothers' monument (they were smaller then). My husband and I have very fond memories of camping at Ocracoke. Those are just a few. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love this page!You have everything you need to know about light houses! This is the perfect vacation place! Outer Banks is sooo beautiful if you are ever looking to relocate, Outer Banks real estate is the perfect place to live!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      10 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great job on this lens. I was surprised to see in person how big the lighthouses of the Outer Banks really are...they're huge! I definitely want to plan a trip to return down there. Lensrolled this onto my US Roadtrip lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hello Barkley! You did a great job! Five stars to you. When I came acroos your lens, I was struck by the photos of beautiful lighthouses! I remember my dear friend Holly, she loves lighthouses and collects figurines, posters, photos and anything that has lighthouse in it. I will share this lens to her. Surely she will love this! Let me share too a lens which I find helpful for those who would like to visit places with much comfort Air Charter They give informations and selections on private jets that are best for state tours as well as tour all over the globe. You can check it out!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi Barkely, You have a great lens here with beautiful photos of the lighthouses and other things related to the Outer Banks. Welcome to the North Carolina group. I live on the other end of NC and have never been to the Outer Banks. Act on your dream! JD

    • Karendelac profile image


      10 years ago

      Greetings and Hello.

      This is a great Lighthouse site.

      All my life I have been drawn to all things oceanic and nautical.

      I gave you 5 stars and lensrolled you to 3 sites.

      Please visit my titanic site.

      RMS Titanic, Ship of Dreams

      best wishes to you,


    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I've been to all of the lighthouses except Currituck. Hopefully I'll check that one off my list in the near future. I've added you to my lensroll: Triangle Area, NC (Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill).


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