Bodie Island Light Station (pronounced Body – according to the Park Ranger for all the shipwrecked bodies that regularly washed ashore) was a highlight of our visit because it was such a surprise that we got to climb it!
The lighthouse we climbed is actually the third lighthouse in this area, about halfway between Cape Hatteras and Currituck Light Stations and south of Oregon Inlet. Originally erected in 1847, it began leaning within two years due to poor construction and shifting sands. Construction on the 2nd Bodie Island Lighthouse, still south of the inlet, was operational in 1859, but fell victim to the Civil War when retreating Confederate troops blew it up in 1861 so it couldn’t provide navigational aid to the Union.
In 1872, the current brick lighthouse was erected a mile and a half inland on the north side of Oregon Inlet – interesting that it kept changing location due to shifting sands of the Outer Banks. It’s black and white horizontal stripe design was partially due to leftover construction materials from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to the south.
Except for a flock of geese crashing into the light just a couple of weeks before it was originally lit, the lighthouse finally found a permanent location.
Towering 170 feet above the ground, park visitors can now climb the 214 steps to the top for the first time ever (as of a major renovation completed in 2013). For $8 (less for seniors), our 45 minutes climb was accompanied by a park ranger who provides history, local lore and information.
For information on tickets to climb the lighthouse, click here: You can either make reservations or buy tickets at the visitors center and museum in the old Lighthouse Keeper’s house. And if you’ll be there during a full moon, be SURE to ask about Full Moon Climb tickets – best to get those in advance because they were sold out when we inquired.
The lighthouse is open from the 3rd Friday in April to Columbus Day in early October annually. Tours are from 9 AM to 5:45 PM daily and start every 35 minutes and last about 45 minutes. For reservations or up to date information, call 252-475-9417.
Ask the ranger to unlock the door so you can see the first order Fresnel lens that still resides in the lighthouse for yourself. It was one of the highlights of our visit.
Oh, and don’t forget to stay off the grass & on the walkways. We’ve never seen this twist on keeping visitors on the sidewalks, but this seemed to be working just fine. 🙂
Have you been to Bodie Island Lighthouse? What did you particularly like? Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment and share! CHEERS! Jan