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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.

46379 Old Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC
US 64 east to the ocean at Nags Head, then 48 miles south on Hwy 12. Signs from both directions on Highway 12.
Daily 9-5, April - mid-Oct. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Visitor Tips and News About America's Tallest Lighthouse - Climb It

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.


America's Tallest Lighthouse

The lighthouse is being refurbished and is not open for climbing. It's an impressive structure and the story behind its move, outlined in the museum, is interesting. The museum is in the lightkeeper's home, which was also relocated.

[Kathy & Ron Summer 2021, 06/08/2021]

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]

Nearby Offbeat Places

British Cemetery on U.S. SoilBritish Cemetery on U.S. Soil, Buxton, NC - < 1 mi.
The Cora Witch TreeThe Cora Witch Tree, Frisco, NC - 4 mi.
Graveyard of the Atlantic MuseumGraveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras, NC - 10 mi.
In the region:
Nags Head Nag, Nags Head, NC - 47 mi.

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