• Spring-time view of the seashore, with shorebirds returning to the surf.

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Bodie Island Facilities Reopening

    On July 5th, NPS facilities on Bodie Island will reopen. These include Oregon Inlet Campground, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and the Coquina Beach Swim Area. All Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island facilities are still closed until further notice.

Light Stations

Guardians of the Sea
Throughout history, the watery perils that exist off North Carolina's coast have endangered mariners as well as any ocean going passengers. Hundreds of ships have fallen prey to formidable currents, fierce storms, and shifting shoals in the infamous "Graveyard of the Atlantic." The construction of lighthouses on the Outer Banks, therefore, was crucial to protect both lives and commerce against the hazards of the sea.

Two tall coastal lights, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras, were built in the 1870s to warn ships traveling along the Outer Banks of the dangerous shoals along the islands. The Ocracoke Lighthouse, a harbor light at the southern end of the seashore, was completed in 1823 as a light to mark Ocracoke Inlet and Silver Lake.

Today, these three light stations, so called because they have multiple buildings including a lighthouse and a keepers' dwelling, still serve as active aids-to-navigation along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Did You Know?

The Principal Lightkeeper's Quarters and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move toward their new homes, a safer distance from the ocean.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick structure ever moved. When it was built in 1870, it stood 1,500 feet from the shore. By 1999, the lighthouse was within 100 feet of the ocean. To protect it from the encroaching sea, it was moved inland a total of 2,900 feet over a 23-day period.