Outer Banks: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Today I want to share some pics from my vacation last week to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The beach here at Kill Devil Hills is less crowded and more natural than other beaches I've visited.
We climbed the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in the US at 208 feet. The light at the top can be seen 20 nautical miles out at sea and in clear conditions it can be seen from 51 miles away. Years ago, the lighthouse served a vital purpose of warning sailors away from the dangerous Diamond Shoals, sandbars that extend about 14 miles out into the ocean. These caused ships to run aground. To give you an idea of how dangerous this area of the ocean is, about 2000 shipwrecks have been found out there and include ships from the 1500s to the 1900s. It is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
Inside the lighthouse, looking down through the center of the spiral steps.

This is the first lighthouse I've visited. It is equal in height to a 12 story building and contains 248 steps. Great exercise! I was sore the next day.

(View from the top to the ground)

The view from the top is spectacular. From here you can see the site where the lighthouse used to sit (below, on the left side of the picture where that big sandy spot remains.) It was moved in 1999 to save it from the encroaching Atlantic and erosion of the shore. As for how this feat was accomplished, I have not researched it. A storm was approaching in this picture.

The view also includes the natural, beautiful and unspoiled Cape Hatteras National Seashore. With so much development and commercialization on most every beach, it was wonderful to see this virtually untouched beach. It stretches for 75 miles from south of Nags Head to Ocracoke Inlet. Amazing! It's home to lots of wildlife.

Here's a great map of the area with all the interesting islands. After you're on the site, click the map to enlarge.
Since we stayed in Kill Devil Hills, we had to drive over 70 miles along these narrow islands to arrive at the lighthouse. We didn't have time to visit all the places we wanted to. If you've been to the Outer Banks, which is your favorite site?




Anonymous said...

Hi Vonda,

You took beautiful pictures! I loved the one looking down through the center stairway. I visited Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks last year and had a lovely time. Being from the west coast, however, I was surprised at the difference between the Atlantic beaches and the Pacific ones. I was thrilled when my first book about the San Diego Light house sold last year. There's just something about those lighthouses, isn't there?

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Gorgeous photos. I absolutely love lighthouses and the view looking down through the stairs is awesome. Thanks for sharing part of your holiday with us.

Holly Greenfield said...

Beautiful pictures, Vonda! We were down there a couple of years ago, headed toward Cape Hatteras, but it was during a huge storm and the bridge to Hatteras closed! So we never made it that far.

Calista Fox, Author said...

Thanks for sharing, Vonda! I love lighthouses! I'm sure your visit inspired a story idea or two.

Deb Marlowe said...

Beautiful pictures! The Outer Banks is one of our favorite vacations spots--the beaches are gorgeous and there is a wonderful mix of of developed/undeveloped land.

Thanks for sharing!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Excellent pix, Vonda! I'm envious, though we're headed to St. Simons this weekend. I hope we have good weather.

Lise said...

Stupdendous pix and views and I'm sure you had a most refreshing vacation! This is always my favorite kind of place. Somewhere wild, where nature can be enjoyed up close and personal.

Beautiful vistas. Wish it had been me!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for visiting, everyone! I'm so glad you like the pics! I have fun taking them and take too many.

Kathryn, I haven't visited the west coast, so I'm sure I'd be surprised at the difference too. It seems to me the beaches are much wider aren't they? And the waves larger? Congratulations on your lighthouse story sale!!

Paisley, I'm glad you like the photos. I had fun with the interesting composition on the one down through the steps.

Holly, oh no! I'm sorry to hear you were on your way to Hatteras but wasn't allowed to go. When we were on top of the lighthouse, we noticed the storm moving in and figured they'd make us climb down, but it was only mild. They do make people climb down if there is thunder. It would be a terrifying place during a severe storm since the islands are so narrow.

Calista, I hope it does inspire a story or two. So far nothing. :( I'll have to try harder. LOL

Deb, yes, you're right a great mix of nature and convenient businesses. As I'm sure you know, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills are both incredibly developed with a restaurant every 100 yards. LOL (That isn't a technical measurement.)

Carol, oooh St. Simons. Nice! I hope your weather is great too! You'll have to share your pics! Have fun!!

Lise, it was incredibly refreshing! Only wish I could've stayed lots longer! I miss it. You must go sometime!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful pictures, Vonda! The Outer Banks is on our list of places to visit. After reading about your trip, we may very well move it up a notch or two. Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic pictures! I love the views of the ocean and the staircase. Sounds like you had a great time!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Vonda, I have almost the same picture of my son standing at the top of that same lighthouse last week too, who knows we all could have been there at the same time and didn't even know it! Unbelievable!!!! Your photos are beautiful, I'll have to share ours with you!!!!


Lexi said...

Great pictures, Vonda. I was on the Outer Banks in July. I didn't climb up the Hatteras Lighthouse, but many of the family did. It was a great place, wasn't it?

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks for dropping by, ladies!!
Deb, yes you'll love it! It's a very laid back, relaxing place.

Vanessa, thanks!! We sure did. There's lots more to explore there.

Andrea, it's too funny that we were at the Outer Banks at exactly the same time! I look forward to seeing your pictures!

Lexi, yes indeed! We loved it! The climb was hard but the view from the top was worth all the hard work. LOL! Did you take pictures?

Randy said...

As usual, your photos are GORGEOUS. I would LOVE to get to that neck of the woods one day. As you know, I'm a lighthouse fanatic. I'm jealous that you got to visit such a historic one. Thanks for sharing!

Natasha Moore said...

Great pictures! We've visited the Outer Banks every year for about 5 years now and we still haven't seen everything we want to. I also have that same shot of the shadow of the lighthouse taken from the top.

We stay at a campground in Rodanthe, about half way between Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras. Your pictures make me want to go back!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks Randy! If you love lighthouses, this is the place to visit. There are several others scattered around close by.

Thanks Natasha! Wow you visit every year? I'm jealous! I remember going through Rodanthe. The whole area is gorgeous!

Liz Falkner said...

Fantastic photos, Vonda. It sounds like you had a great time. The one with the view from the top to the ground had me shaky. That's quite a distance.

Kill Devil Hills. Hmm. Interesting name. Doesn't it just sound perfect for a suspense? LOL.

Eliza Knight said...

Beautiful pictures Vonda! I love the Outer Banks. Last week must have been the IT week to go, I know three other people that were there :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks Liz! Yes, we loved it! Anyone afraid of heights would likely have a problem on top. :-) Yes, Kill Devil Hills would be a great name for a suspense.

Thanks Eliza! Must have been. Sure glad we went last week instead of this week if they got as much rain as we did.