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

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

Base of Bodie Island and Ocracoke Lighthouses to Open for Viewing

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Date: June 16, 2008
Contact: Outer Banks Group, (252) 473-2111

As a special treat for Outer Banks visitors this summer, National Park Service Outer Banks Group Superintendent Mike Murray has announced that the bases of the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Ocracoke Lighthouse will be open for public viewing. The towers themselves, however, will not be open for climbing due to structural constraints.

Throughout most of the summer, viewing hours at the Bodie Island tower are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. June hours at the Ocracoke tower are Sundays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Viewing hours may change from month to month. Parking at the Ocracoke Lighthouse is extremely limited and visitors should consider walking or bicycling to the site.

A National Park Service ranger or volunteer will be stationed at the towers to greet visitors wishing to gaze up the spiraling stair cases. Visitors can hear stories of the light stations’ past and learn about restoration projects.

The 156-foot Bodie Island Lighthouse, completed in 1872, is located a short distance south of Nags Head, NC in an open and isolated setting next to a freshwater pond and a light keepers’ dwelling that currently serves as a seashore visitor center. In contrast, the 77-foot tall Ocracoke Lighthouse was built in the heart of the old village of Ocracoke in 1823 on what is now known as Lighthouse Road. The grounds of the adjacent keepers’ quarters are not open to the public since that structure serves as a private residence.

Both lighthouses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For information about lighthouse visitation hours after June, contact the Bodie Island Visitor Center at 252-441-5711 and the Ocracoke Visitor Center 252-928-4531.

-NPS-

Did You Know?

A navigational chart showing Cape Hatteras and Diamond Shoals

When the Home sank on Diamond Shoals off of Cape Hatteras in 1837, there were only two life jackets for all 130 people on board. Ninety people died. Congress passed the Steamboat Act the next year, requiring all vessels to carry one life jacket per passenger.