Cape Hatteras National Seashore
The sound of ocean waves, the starry night sky, or the calm of the salt marshes, you can experience it all. - NPS
Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a protected seashore within North Carolina's Outer Banks region that stretches over 70 miles from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island. This National Park Service protected seashore was officially established as such in 1953, though it has had a long local history well beyond that.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore holds historic lighthouses, nature excursion opportunities, and outdoor recreation galore, many guests enjoying boating, wind-surfing, off-roading, exploring the lighthouses, and more. You can 'enjoy the beach, kayak the sound, or climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse' while here, as well as enjoy beach fires, fly kites, picnic, and shell.
The park itself was shaped by water, wind, and storms, with plenty of beach and dune area, wetland and shrub thickets, and maritime forest throughout. Take a hike around the seashore and see various flora and fauna within these areas, with plenty of sea turtles, shorebirds, and reptiles to spot along the way.
As mentioned before, there are 3 historic lighthouses within the protected seashore area, including Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Lighthouse. Here is a bit more about each of them:
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - The tallest brick lighthouse in North America, standing at 210 feet. There are a total of 257 steps, equaling out to 12 stories. There are regular daytime tours and 'Full Moon' tours available, during which you can learn much more about the history of the lighthouse, such as why this lighthouse was needed to help protect the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic'.
- Bodie Island Lighthouse - Enjoy views of Bodie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound from the top of this 200-step, 10-story lighthouse. Bodie Island Lighthouse stands at 156 feet tall and is one of very few to still have the original first-order Fresnel lens.
- Ocracoke Lighthouse - This lighthouse is only open for visitors during the summer, and only the base of the lighthouse is open, due to the stair condition inside. It stands at 75 feet tall and has a history of having its lens system dismantled during the Civil War.