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Come be amazed by the sights and sounds of this majestic beacon on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is perched atop Hatteras Island, is one of the most recognizable representations of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With its distinctive black and white spiral stripes, this iconic structure is a must-visit for anyone exploring the breathtaking beauty and rich maritime history of the of the Outer Banks.

An Historic Landmark

Located at 46379 Lighthouse Rd in Buxton, NC, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has an amazing history that dates back to its original construction in 1797. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in America and stands tall at over 200 feet high! Its primary purpose was to warn ships of the treacherous sandbars, known as “Diamond Shoals,” off the Hatteras coast. These hidden sandbars have been the downfall of countless ships throughout history, earning the area the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

In 1870, a new, more powerful beacon was constructed to ensure the safety of those navigating the waters. Since it was built, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has undergone several significant changes, the most notable being the one that happened in 1999. Due to the relentless forces of erosion, the lighthouse was carefully moved from its original location to a safer spot 2,870 feet inland!

When you visit, you will marvel at the impressive construction of this towering structure. Comprised of approximately 1,250,000 bricks, the lighthouse reaches a staggering height of 208 feet, with its beacon shining 210 feet above sea level. The lighthouse’s powerful flash pattern, occurring every 7.5 seconds, can be seen up to 20 miles away in clear conditions, providing a vital navigational aid for ships passing through the treacherous waters of the Outer Banks.

For an unforgettable experience, seize the opportunity to climb the lighthouse’s 269 steps, leading to a breathtaking panoramic view of Hatteras Island and the surrounding seascape. You can’t help but be in awe of this amazing landmark’s size and history as you make your way up the spiral staircase.

Explore the Outer Banks

Come and see it for yourself! Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands as a shining example of both human ingenuity and the enduring spirit of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A visit to this majestic beacon is sure to leave a lasting impression and create cherished memories for all who undertake the journey. Discover the enchantment of this incredible coastal landmark.

Fun Lighthouse Facts:

Construction Material: Approximately 1,250,000 bricks
Height Above Sea Level: 210 feet
Height of the Structure: 208 feet
Number of Steps: 268
Flash Pattern: Every 7.5 seconds
Visibility: 20 miles in clear conditions


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse FAQ

What is the significance of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse?

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a historic beacon known for helping sailors navigate the waters of the Atlantic. It has since become an iconic symbol of North Carolina’s maritime heritage. Standing as the tallest brick lighthouse in North America, it has protected one of the most hazardous sections of the Outer Banks, known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, for over 150 years.

Can visitors climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse?

Yes, visitors can climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse during certain times of the year. With 257 steps, equivalent to climbing a 12-story building, the lighthouse offers a challenging ascent that is rewarded with breathtaking views from the top. It’s advised to check the lighthouse’s schedule for climb times as they can vary throughout the year.

What are the visiting hours and admission fees for the lighthouse?

The visiting hours for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse vary by season, so it’s best to check the official website for the most current information. There is a fee to climb the lighthouse, with discounts available for seniors, children, and groups. The grounds and visitor center are accessible to the public free of charge.

Are there any special events at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse?

Throughout the year, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse hosts a variety of events, including educational programs, night climbs, and celebrations of local history and culture. These events allow visitors to learn about the lighthouse’s history and the Outer Banks’ natural environment.