Lighthouses of the Outer Banks
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
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:
- Lighthouse Society Lighthouse Tour
Find out more information on the Lighthouses in the Outer Banks.
Get a free travel guide, and find more information on the Outer Banks and what you can expect to find there.
A free map of the North Carolina coast. Information on the towns of the Outer Banks, and what's great to see.
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.
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 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 Brothers Memorial
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. http://www.jennettespier.net/
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 ...
Outer Banks Information
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
Outer Banks Lighthouse Guides
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.
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.
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:
- Joe Lamb Jr. Realtors
Plug in the date and location you're looking for and find the perfect rental vacation house.
These are just a couple of the many vacation house rental companies available.
- Beach Realty & Construction/ Kitty Hawk Rentals
View some of their fine Outer Banks vacation rentals for the perfect family beach vacation or browse their real estate listings for great investment opportunities.
Share your favorite places, lighthouses, and things to do.