"Cape Hatteras" Top 5 Page for this destination Lighthouses Tip by grandmaR

Lighthouses, North Carolina: 19 reviews and 44 photos

  Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
by grandmaR
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - North Carolina
      Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
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  • From the parking lot - North Carolina
      From the parking lot
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  • Top of lighthouse - North Carolina
      Top of lighthouse
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  • Sign board for visitor's center - North Carolina
      Sign board for visitor's center
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  • Informational sign - North Carolina
      Informational sign
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At 208 feet tall, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (tallest in the United States) is painted in black and white spirals. The light can be seen for 20 miles, warning ships of Diamond Shoals which is a twelve-mile long sandbar that lies just offshore where so many ships have foundered. Diamond Shoals is the meeting place of the cold Labrador current and the warm Gulf Stream and where they meet are the shifting sands of Diamond Shoals.

The present lighthouse is the second of three. It was modeled after the light at Cape Lookout and had a first-order Fresnel lens to magnify a small oil wick flame at the tower's top. In the 1920s, erosion became a major problem to the new lighthouse. By 1936, the sea was lapping at the base of the tower, so the Coast Guard built a frame tower further inland.

The light from the temporary tower was moved to the present lighthouse on July 23, 1950, which put it back into operation. When reactivated, it was replaced by a rotating beacon--a double affair with 1000-watt lamps in each beacon--visible for 20 miles. However, it has been reported as being seen 51 miles at sea and 115 miles in the air.

The octagonal base of brick and granite, measures twenty-four (24) feet by forty-five (45) feet six inches. The black and white barber-pole paint, or "candystriping" was added in 1873 to make the lighthouse more distinctive during the day. Today, the beacon is automated, but at the time it was built, the keeper had to wind weights suspended by heavy cables in order to rotate the thousand-prism lens

In the summer of 1999, the lighthouse was moved 2899.57 feet from its original location

The "Double Keeper's Quarters" is used to house the "Museum of the Sea" and the Buxton Visitor Center.

Opening for Climbing:
Good Friday to Columbus Day (weather permitting)

Lighthouse Fees:
$6.00/Climb Adults - Day
$3.00/Climb Child (12 and under) - Day
$3.00/Climb 62 and older - Day

Directions: Take NC 12 South from Nags Head until you reach Buxton. It is approximately 50 miles south of Nags Head on the left
othercontact: (252) 473-2111
Phone: (252) 453-4939
Website: http://www.carolinalights.com/north-carolina-lighthouses/cape-hatterass-lighthouse

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 3, 2009
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