Visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse
One of the iconic landmarks of the Outer Banks that should definitely be on your vacation itinerary is the Bodie Island Lighthouse. This historic beacon, located in South Nags Head near Oregon Inlet, marks the northern end of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It has been a shining symbol of the Outer Banks for over 150 years and offers visitors a unique and memorable experience.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse boasts a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. The first lighthouse on this site was constructed in 1847 but proved to be structurally unsound. The current lighthouse, standing at an impressive 156 feet, was completed in 1872 and has been guiding ships safely along the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Coast ever since.
One of the defining features of the Bodie Island Lighthouse is its distinctive black and white stripes. The unique pattern of horizontal black and white bands makes it easily recognizable, and it's a favorite subject for photographers and artists alike.
Visiting the Bodie Island Lighthouse offers a great opportunity to experience breathtaking panoramic views, and it’s a fun way to learn about maritime history. Here's what you can expect during your visit:
- Visitor Center: Start your visit at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Visitor Center, where you can explore informative exhibits about the history and significance of the lighthouse. Knowledgeable park rangers are on hand to answer questions and provide insights into the area's maritime heritage.
- Lighthouse Climb: The main attraction is, of course, climbing to the top of the lighthouse, which is open seasonally (typically mid-April to mid-October). A series of 214 steps will take you to the top, where you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and Pamlico Sound. The climb can be a bit strenuous, so be prepared with comfortable shoes and a moderate level of fitness.Tickets must be purchased online on the day you plan to visit, starting at 7am.
- Picnic Area: Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the serene surroundings in the designated picnic area. It's a perfect spot for a family meal or a relaxing break during your exploration of the Outer Banks.
- Gift Shop: Don't forget to stop by the gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs, books, and gifts related to the lighthouse and the Outer Banks.
- The Bodie Island Lighthouse is typically open to visitors from late April through early October. Be sure to check the National Park Service website for current hours and availability.
- Children must be at least 42 inches tall to climb the lighthouse.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for climbing.
- It's a good idea to bring water and sunscreen, especially on sunny days.
- Bring a bathing suit if you’re planning to visit nearby Coquina beach!
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is not just a historic landmark; it's a testament to the enduring maritime heritage of the Outer Banks. Whether you're interested in history, stunning views, or simply capturing the perfect vacation photo, a visit to this iconic lighthouse is a must during your Outer Banks getaway!