Coastal Region

More than 300 miles of barrier island beaches, two national seashores and dozens of charming small towns

North Carolina Coast

With more than 300 miles of barrier island beaches, two national seashores and dozens of charming small towns, the pristine landscape of the North Carolina coast is made for relaxation. Explore our seven coastal lighthouses. Tee it up on world-class golf courses. Taste exquisite seafood caught the same day. See the beauty of wild horses and native wildlife in picturesque settings. Visit sites steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history, or just enjoy the sand between your toes.

Outer Banks Area

Wilmington Area

Oak Island Area

North Carolina is the home to several coastal lighthouses.

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Pirates of the North Carolina Coast

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The Graveyard of the Atlantic

For centuries, the often-treacherous waters off the Outer Banks of North Carolina have claimed hundreds of seagoing vessels. Today, wreck-loving scuba divers can reap the benefits on dozens of sites that are well preserved, accessible and packed with marine life

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Things to Do

Ocracoke Lighthouse
Region: Coast 

  Address : Lighthouse Road
Ocracoke, NC 27960
  Hours: The Lighthouse base is open by Park Service volunteers for viewing during limited hours in the summer. Call 252-928-6711 for more information.
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone: (252) 928-6711

  Visit Website: Launch Site

Ocracoke Inlet was first placed on the map when English explorers wrecked a sailing ship there in 1585. Two centuries later, this was one of the busiest inlets on the East Coast. Ocracoke Inlet was the only reasonably navigable waterway for ships accessing inland ports such as Elizabeth City, New Bern, and Edenton. Ocracoke Village, then known as Pilot Town, developed as a result of the inlet’s use. Pilots, hired to steer ships safely through the shifting channels to mainland ports, settled the village in the 1730s


Bodie Island Lighthouse
Region: Coast 

  Address : NC 12
Nags Head, NC 27959
  Hours: 9 am to 5:45 pm daily
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone: (252) 441-5711

  Visit Website: Launch Site

In 1837, an expedition commissioned by the US government and led by Lieutenant Napoleon L. Coste began to find a spot for a new lighthouse on the dangerous Outer Banks. Coste finally settled on an Oceanside location in Pea Island, noting that "more vessels are lost there than on any other part of our coast."


  Address : Queen Elizabeth Street
Manteo, NC 27954
  Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-5 pm
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone: (252) 475-1750

  Visit Website: Launch Site

Today’s lighthouse is the fourth incarnation of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, and uses a fourth order Fresnel lens. Once fairly numerous, no less than a dozen screwpile lighthouses served as aids to navigation along North Carolina’s trafficked rivers and sounds, dating back to the 1800’s. Easily accessible along the Manteo Waterfront, the lighthouse contains exhibits highlighting Roanoke Island’s lighthouse and maritime history.


  Address : 7 Dock Street
Edenton, NC 27932
  Hours: 10 am - 4 pm daily
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone: (252) 482-2637

  Visit Website: Launch Site

The Roanoke River Lighthouse has survived for over 100 years despite hurricanes, ice floes, war, neglect, and being transported three times. It has seen lighthouse keepers come and go, known the sorrow of death and the happiness of safely returned ships. This, the last remaining screw-pile lighthouse in North Carolina, has found a new, permanent home in Edenton Bay’s harbor. It is here the stories of her past will be remembered and told for new generations.


Old Baldy Lighthouse
Region: Coast 

  Address : 101 Lighthouse Wynd
Bald Head Island, NC 28461
  Hours: March 15-Memorial Day: Tues-Sat 10-4, Sun 11-4. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 11-5. Labor Day-Dec 15: Tue-Sat 10-4, Sun 11-4. Dec 15-Mar 15: Call for hours.
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone: (910) 457-7481

  Visit Website: Launch Site

The first lighthouse on Smith Island was the Bald Head Light, completed in 1795. It was on the banks of the river at the island’s southwest point and was quickly threatened by erosion. It was pulled down in 1813 and a new lighthouse was commissioned to replace it. In 1817, Daniel S. Way built the new lighthouse, “Old Baldy,” for $15,915.45. Old Baldy was always intended to light the mouth of the Cape Fear River and was never intended to illuminate the Frying Pan Shoals off the Cape.


Oak Island Lighthouse
Region: Coast 

  Address : 300 Caswell Beach Rd.
Caswell Beach, NC 28465
  Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day, open for tours to the second level only on Wednesdays & Saturdays from 10 am - 2 pm. Year-round tours by appointment.
  Seasons: Year Round
  Phone:

  Visit Website: Launch Site

The Oak Island Lighthouse was completed in 1958 at a total cost of $110,000.00. The lights are 169 feet above the water. A misconception is that the lighthouse itself is 169 feet tall. The actual structure is 153 feet tall