Buxton, North Carolina: America's Tallest Lighthouse - Climb It

268 steps ascend to the top of a 208-foot-tall barber pole lighthouse, America's loftiest.
Address:
46379 Old Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC
Directions:
US 64 east to the ocean at Nags Head, then 48 miles south on Hwy 12. Signs from both directions on Highway 12.
Hours:
Daily 9-5, April - mid-Oct. (Call to verify)
Phone:
252-995-4474
RA Rates:
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Lighthouse at night. Tallest Lighthouse in the US

Standing 193 feet (above ground), the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, NC is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. The current lighthouse, completed in 1871, replaced an earlier lighthouse. Both were designed to warn sailors of the dangerous Diamond Shoals off the NC coast.

The distinctive "barber pole" paint scheme is consistent with other black-and-white lighthouses of North Carolina, each with their own pattern to help sailors identify lighthouses during daylight hours.

The National Park Service allows visitors to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from the third Friday in April to Columbus Day. Keep in mind the climb is strenuous, equivalent to walking the stairs of a twelve-story building, only on a narrow, two-way staircase. The interior of the lighthouse is not climate-controlled therefore on very hot days the NPS may close access to the interior of the lighthouse with little warning.

[Greg Brown, 02/13/2010]

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