When visitors ask us where they can find the most spectacular views in Corolla and Currituck County, the most common answer is the observation deck of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Standing tall in Historic Corolla for over a century and a half, this stately tower continues to guide ships to keep a safe distance from the chain of barrier islands along the Outer Banks coastline. With National Lighthouse Day coming up on August 7, we would love to re-introduce you to one of our favorite local attractions.
It takes 220 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse, so you will want to wear comfortable shoes for the ascent. The winding spiral staircase within the lighthouse’s unpainted red brick walls isn’t the only point of interest on your self-guided tour, either. When you visit, be sure to spend some time in the ground-floor archives room and browse the historic photos and correspondence of past lighthouse keepers. Additional exhibits on the first three landings also feature displays on the tower’s history, its original construction and subsequent renovation efforts.
In the spirit of National Lighthouse Day, we’re happy to share more Currituck lighthouse fun facts to enhance your experience:
- Despite receiving Congressional approval to build a lighthouse in 1854, it wasn’t until 1875 when the lighthouse was completed and first lit. A year later, a “graphic representation” of the lighthouse was featured at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia to great acclaim.
- Our lighthouse still uses its original Fresnel lens; it’s one of the largest sizes available! The lens operates on a 20-second flash cycle and may be seen from 18 nautical miles away — that’s a little over 20 road miles.
- Nearly one million bricks make up the tower structure, which stands 162 feet from the base to the very top.
- The lighthouse features windows at various landings to bring in light and prevent a claustrophobic feeling for visitors. If you are unsure about making it to the summit, there are places to stop and rest along the way.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse is open daily, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to climb the tower is $10 per person ages 4 and up, and children 3 and under in carriers are admitted free. While you’re in Historic Corolla, don’t forget to see the other attractions in the area, including the newly opened Currituck Maritime Museum, which also features fascinating information about the lighthouse.
Download the Corolla OBX app on your phone, too, for a complete guide of everything to see and enjoy on your Currituck vacation.