Bodie Island Lighthouse#6 in Best Things To Do in Outer Banks
This thrice-built, black-and-white lighthouse sits south of Nags Head on Bodie Island. The first incarnation fell due to poor construction, the second was destroyed during the Civil War and the latest version received a facelift that was completed in 2013. It still functions as a working lighthouse today and can be seen as far as 19 miles from shore. Past visitors said the recent renovation makes this lighthouse one of the best in the area and recommended a stop by the lower level's small museum and gift shop. They were also pleased with the historical information provided by the rangers.
You can tour this 156-foot-tall lighthouse for a small fee ($10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 11 and younger) daily from the third Friday of April through Columbus Day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and only eight people can climb to the top of the lighthouse at a time. If you're planning to make the climb, wear the appropriate footwear: You'll have to traverse 200 steps (the equivalent of a 10-story building) with only one handrail to guide you.
You'll find the lighthouse at Whalebone Junction (the intersection of U.S. Highway 158, U.S. Highway 64 and NC Highway 12) in Nags Head. More information can be found on the National Park Service's website.
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#1 Outer Banks Beaches
The beaches in the Outer Banks stretch for more than 100 miles along barrier islands that frame the eastern coast of North Carolina. These sands are known for their cleanliness and their family friendliness. Each beach has something different to offer travelers, but take note that lifeguards are on duty on all beaches between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The shores at Hatteras Island are known for their fishing and sailing (the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras is the tallest in the United States) as well as their campgrounds and 4x4 beach driving. The northern shores (specifically Kitty Hawk and Kill Devils Hills) are ideal for water sports like surfing and skimboarding, as they see more waves than the southern beaches. Nags Head also completed a 12-mile beach nourishment program that widened the sands so visitors have more room to spread out. Travelers should be mindful that the public parking is limited in Southern Shores. Those bringing their four-legged friend can head to Duck where dogs are allowed to be off their leash as long as they're under control.
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