Our recent trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina proved to be a trip to see lighthouses as well as wild horses. There are three lighthouses that were easy to get to during this trip so we made it a priority to see take a day to go see them all. We were staying in the Corolla Light area so it was easy to see the first one and we could walk to it from our beach house which was nice.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is a beautiful red brick lighthouse that rises above the surrounding trees to show off its beautiful light in Corolla Village. It is a first order lighthouse with which means it has the largest of the Fresnel Lens.
A few facts from the Currituck Beach Lighthouse website include the following:
Number of steps: 220
Height to focal plane of lens: 158 feet
Height to top of roof: 162 feet
Number of bricks: approximately one million
Thickness of wall at base: 5 feet 8 inches
Thickness of wall at parapet: 3 feet
Position: 34 miles south of the Cape Henry Lighthouse (VA)
32 1/2 miles north-northwest of Bodie Island Lighthouse
Coast Survey Chart: 36° 22’36” N latitude,
75° 49’51” W longitude.
Next up was a trip to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It is located in the Cape Hattaras National Seashore Park. We had seen it in 1999 when we had taken a trip with our boys to the Outer Banks. it was in the process of getting ready to be moved at that point so we were able to finally see it in its new and safer placement this time.
According to the Wikipedia source here are a few prominent facts about this graceful lighthouse.
Year first constructed 1845 (original tower)
1870 (current tower)
Year first lit 1857 (original tower)
1870 (current tower)
1936 (skeleton tower)
1950 (current tower)
Granite, timber and rubble (first location)
Reinforced concrete (current location)
Markings / pattern
Black and white spiral bands with red brick base with granite corners.
210 feet (64 m)
187 feet (57 m)
First order Fresnel, 1870
24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi)
Flashing white every 7.5 seconds
The final lighthouse we visited was Bodie Lighthouse. Built in 1872 this lighthouse stands 156 feet tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side located within Cape Hatteras Seasshore Park and is south of Nags Head. It has been renovated and is now can be climbed by tourists just as the previous two I have featured today. We decided that we were happy to just see these from the outside this time and didn’t pay the modest fee to climb any of them.
I found the following facts provided by the United States Coast Guard to be very interesting.
Historic light station information – North Carolina Bodie Island Lighthouse:
1847: The contractor on the first project was Mr. Francis Gibbons, of Baltimore, who would later become a prominent lighthouse builder on the West Coast. Cost was $5,000 but problems with location and design of the tower caused a ten year delay in construction. The tower was highly unstable and soon after it was completed, it began to lean toward the sea.
1859 – The Bodie Island Lighthouse had deteriorated and the Lighthouse Board secured a $25,000 appropriation from Congress to erect a new tower. This new tower was 80 ft (24 m). and its lantern was a third-order Fresnel lens.
1861 – In the fall of 1861, Confederate troops stacked explosives inside the tower and blew it apart.
1871 – A third lighthouse was completed in 1871 partially with material left over from construction of a new tower at Cape Hatteras. The tower was 156 ft (48 m). with a first order Fresnel lens that made its light visible for 18 nautical miles (33 km). The Bodie tower is painted with white and black horizontal bands.
United States Coast Guard
If you make a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina it is easy to see lighthouses. If you are like me they are one of the must see things and I am thrilled that we were able to see these three on our recent trip.
If you are a lighthouse lover tell me which one is your favorite one that I shared today. I think they are all beautiful but I do have a favorite. Don’t forget to Comment for a Cause for The Wounded Warrior Project.
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I saw Hattaras when I was a kid. So it’s my favorite of your 3. Don’t remember if we climbed it or not. Maybe not with 4 kids.
Hatteras is very impressive and I love the base of it—-it looks amazing in its new location.
We climbed the Currituck lighthouse. It was so beautiful inside, as well. I was scared witless when we got to the top and just clung to Mike’s hand like a little girl, but it was beautiful to see.
I don’t get freaked out with the height but Chris is not a fan anymore for some reason. We climbed Currituck years ago and I have climbed a lot of other ones over the years. It is always nice to just look at them from the ground as well. 🙂
Beautiful pictures! I have seen all three (and many others) but have NEVER climbed a lighthouse – or even been inside!! Sweet story about the Currituck Light: there’s a web-cam in the area where you and Mr. Diamond stayed during your recent trip. The camera pans from left to right. And, at night, you can just barely catch a glimpse of the Currituck Light. But you don’t see it with every “pan” of the camera.My Motor Man has a little nightly ritual where he watches the cam until he sees the light at the lighthouse. Sweet….. Here’s a link to that web cam: https://www.visitob.com/webcams/corolla-light-resort-beach-webcam/ Have you ever visited the New England area? LOTS of lighthouses there, too!
I have climbed quite a few lighthouses over the years but just did not feel like doing it on the days we were visiting these. We make it a point to see lighthouses wherever we go so we have that in common as well! What a surprise. 🙂 Oh and thanks for the link to the webcam! Going to check it out!
This armchair traveler loved your post! I recently completed a jigsaw puzzle of the National Parks of the USA- and the Hatteras Lighthouse was depicted. Fun to put it together, with the stripes! Also, I recently read an excellent novel WHOSE WAVES THESE ARE that had a lighthouse theme and I learned about Fresnell lenses for the first time! So happy you had a grand vacation
My hubby is a Fresnel lens lover and I have learned from him over the years what they are so it is fun to see them up close. And thanks–we really did have a grand vacation! And soon one on Lake Erie!!! Hope to see you then!
Our kids and my hubby climbed the Hatteras lighthouses when we were there. For me, it was too hot and I was too claustrophobic to do it (we were there in August that year). Lighthouses are one of my favorite things. Glad you got to enjoy all three on the Outer Banks.
Chris is getting a bit claustrophobic as he gets older and I wanted to cram as much as we could into our days so we decided not to climb this time. But it is wonderful to just stand outside and look at them!
I too have been to all three lighthouses. They all are unique in their way. If I had to pick one it would be Bodie as my favorite.The setting around the lighthouse I found very pretty and peaceful. Chuck and I prefer to look at them instead of climb. Of course with Him being 76 and me 66 you know why. lol
I loved Bodie as well because it was just such a beautiful setting as you said. ARen’t they all just so different and wonderful?
I love seeing and finding lighthouses. We have a similar red brick lighthouse in Jupiter that’s still functional. I’ve even climbed it a time or two. 🙂
I am a lighthouse lover. I used to collect them. I’d have to say that my favorite here is Cape Hatteras. And I do think your picture is postcard perfect!
I love them all but I like the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse the best. The candy cane stripes are very striking. Lucky you to see three fabulous lighthouses!
I think my favorite is the last lighthouse.