Adorning the East Coast, lighthouses serve not only as a beacon of light but a beacon of hope for sailors and maritime pilots. The Ocracoke Lighthouse on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore makes for a great addition to your beach vacation itinerary! Plan a day trip to Ocracoke Island and spend your time hiking or biking throughout the village. There, guests can visit quirky shops and see the lighthouse up close! People of all ages can appreciate the architecture, history, and purpose of this magnificent tower. Continue reading to learn more about the lighthouse and access our Vacation Guide for more must-see attractions to visit during your vacation!
About the Ocracoke Lighthouse
- The Ocracoke Lighthouse serves as the oldest North Carolina lighthouse in operation.
- Additionally, it is the second oldest lighthouse in the United States.
- It stands at just 75 feet and is the smallest lighthouse on the Outer Banks.
- Ships and maritime pilots can spot the beacon of light from up to 14 miles into the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
- This brilliant beacon sits at the southern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The History of the Lighthouse
- The construction of the lighthouse began in 1794 on Shell Castle Island.
- As the main channel migrated over the years, the Ocracoke Light Station became obsolete in its original location.
- After lightning struck the lighthouse, the government erected a new glowing tower in its place, in 1823. This structure is the lighthouse that you can see today!
- The light that beamed from this tower utilized an oil-burning method until the early 1900s.
- Now, an electric light produces a stationary beam that lights dark nights on the Outer Banks.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
A day trip to visit this splendid spectacle on Ocracoke Island is one of the best things to do on the Outer Banks! We want you to have the best day, so check out some of our tips before planning your visit:
- Visitors must take a ferry to get to Ocracoke Island. You can find a ferry that departs to the Northern tip of the island from Hatteras Island!
- The lighthouse is not open for climbing.
- You can park at the edge of Lighthouse Road, which is just steps away from the lighthouse itself.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, opt to walk or bike your way to the lighthouse from town so that you can avoid the crowds in the summer!
Where to Stay
Regardless of where on the Outer Banks you stay during your vacation, you won’t regret planning a day trip to Ocracoke Island to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse! Paramount Destinations boasts an array of beautiful vacation homes from Corolla all the way to the Southern Shores! Wherever you choose to stay, you’ll encounter so many amazing attractions, such as golfing, dining, and shopping, that the whole family will enjoy. We know you’re going to love it here as much as we do. What are you waiting for? Your dream family vacation awaits!