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The North Carolina Coast Sights

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

  • Nautical Site/Lighthouse

Updated 11/07/2012

Fodor's Review

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, authorized by Congress in 1794 to help prevent shipwrecks, was the first lighthouse built in the region. The original structure was lost to erosion and Civil War damage; this 1870 replacement is, at 210 feet, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. Endangered by the sea, in 1999 the lighthouse was actually raised and rolled some 2,900 feet inland to its present location. A visitor center is located near the base of the lighthouse.

In summer the principal keeper's quarters are open for viewing, and you can climb the lighthouse's 248 steps (12 stories) to the viewing balcony. Children under 42 inches tall aren't allowed to climb the lighthouse. Offshore lay the remains of the USS Monitor, a Confederate ironclad ship that sank in 1862.

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Sight Information


Lighthouse Rd., off Rte. 12, 30 mi south of Rodanthe, Buxton, North Carolina, 27920, United States

Sight Details:

  • Visitor center and keeper's quarters free, lighthouse tower $7
  • Visitor center and keeper's quarters: Memorial Day–Labor Day, daily 9–6; 9–5 rest of yr. Lighthouse tower: mid-Apr.–Memorial Day and Labor Day–mid-Oct., daily 9–4:30; Memorial Day–Labor Day, daily 9–5:30

Updated 11/07/2012


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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Vitoarc

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Aug 10, 2010

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Review

Make sure you call ahead in the summer! What the NPS fails to tell you is that they CLOSE walking the stairs to the top when the inside temperature of the lighthouse gets too high! During the hot summer months you are rarely permitted to enter the lighthouse.

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