If you have been following along with our adventures for any time at all then you know we have been down the east coast of the US starting at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and down through the Gulf of Mexico were we are still exploring at the time of this writing (Texas).
When we set out visiting lighthouses was not really something we had planned to do. However, when you are traveling down the coast there are many and most are easy to access so stopping and snapping a quick photo is pretty easy. Plus, we really had no set agenda for what we would visit and see. We intended this trip to be flexible so why not?
We have NOT seen them all, but here are the ones we did visit in the order we saw them. We have seen a few so I’m breaking this up into multiple parts.
Cape Hatteras Light (1870) – Hatteras Island – Buxton, NC
Meandering Life Rating: (5 / 5)
This was the first lighthouse that crossed our path while exploring the southern regions of the Outer Banks. I think, after seeing this beauty, it made the idea of visiting as many as we could (without going too far out of our way) a reality.
We loved this lighthouse not only because of its obvious beauty and colors but of just how well maintained it is. The whole grounds surrounding it are well done. A must see if in the area!
To quote Wikipedia:
Its 210-foot height makes it the tallest brick lighthouse structure in the United States and 2nd in the world. Since its base is almost at sea level, it is only the 15th highest light in the United States, the first 14 being built on higher ground.
Bodie Island Light (1872) – Nags Head, NC
Meandering Life Rating: (5 / 5)
We had visited the Bodie Island Light on a previous trip to North Carolina but decided we had to see it again on our Trip of a Lifetime.
Like the Cape Hatteras Light, the grounds here are very well maintained and the lighthouse itself is also in wonderful condition. I will note that we have only gone into one of the lighthouses we have visited. There are various reasons for this (after hours, closed, not accessible and shot from a distance, etc.) but wanted to make sure you knew that we are basing our ratings on the overall structure and surrounding park.
One of the standout features of this park is the little nature trail with an overlook near the lighthouse.
It stands 156 feet (48 m) tall and is located on the Roanoke Sound side of the first island that is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The lighthouse is just south of Nags Head, a few miles before Oregon Inlet. It was renovated from August 2009 to March 2013, and was made climbable by the public. There are 214 steps that spiral to the top. The 170-foot structure is one of only a dozen remaining tall, brick tower lighthouses in the United States — and one of the few with an original first-order Fresnel lens to cast its light.
Roanoke Marshes Light (1877) – Manteo, NC
Meandering Life Rating: (4 / 5)
We stumbled upon this replica while meandering around the quaint little town of Manteo in North Carolina. We had stopped for some wonderful homemade ice cream and then wandered down to the water.
Little is recorded about this light, which was replaced in 1955 with an automated light on a shorter tower. It marks the south entrance to the channel through Croatan Sound, to the east of a marshy shoal extending from the western shore. Ironically this places it in the deepest bottom in the area. There was a predecessor light on this site, beginning in 1857. The pictured light, of conventional screw-pile construction, was lit in 1877. When the light was decommissioned, an unsuccessful attempt was made by a private party to move it, but the house was lost in the sound. In 2004, a replica of the light was dedicated at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum in Manteo, North Carolina.