Currituck Beach Lighthouse#5 in Best Things To Do in Outer Banks
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Before 1875, ships sailing by the North Carolina coast faced a 40-mile "blind spot" between Bodie Island and Virginia's Cape Henry. Then the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla was created. To this day, the lighthouse still functions and orients incoming boats. If you have visited other lighthouses, you may notice something a bit different about this one – the exterior was never painted and still maintains its original exposed brick (approximately a million of them!). Today, you can get your heart pumping and climb the 220 steps for gorgeous views of the area from the top, which recent visitors highly recommend for the outstanding photo-ops. Afterward, pick up nautical-themed souvenirs at the gift shop (located in a small house that was probably part of the keeper's residence). If you're visiting during the school year, keep in mind that the lighthouse often hosts school groups on the weekdays, which can crowd the site.
To reach the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, take Route 12 north toward Duck and Corolla. The lighthouse is open from early spring through Thanksgiving weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and general admission and parking is free. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, it stays open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. To climb the lighthouse, it's a $10 fee, children ages 7 and younger can climb with an adult for free. The lighthouse also closes during inclement weather for safety reasons. Visit the lighthouse's official website for more information.
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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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