North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a long stretch of barrier islands, is not only beautiful, serene, and a fantastic vacation destination, it’s also the spot—Kill Devil Hills—where the Wright brothers first took to the air.
Of particular interest to writers and Nicholas Sparks fans, Rodanthe (Nights in Rodanthe) is a town on the Outer Banks. In fact, portions of the film adaptation of Sparks’ book were filmed in Rodanthe.
Our first stop on the islands is Jockey’s Ridge (above photo), the tallest sand dune in the eastern United States. The height of the dunes vary from 80 to 120 feet depending upon the weather and winds.
Jockey’s Ridge is located in Nags Head, N.C., home of world-record fishing, shipwreck remains, and the pirate, Blackbeard.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the country. Standing at 208 feet tall, it’s also the tallest brick lighthouse. The light’s beacon can be seen from 20 miles out to sea, warning sailors of the dangerous Diamond Shoals off the coast of Hatteras.
The waters off Cape Hatteras are so dangerous to passing ships, the area is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
In 1999, the 6,250 ton Hatteras Lighthouse was moved further inland due to an ever-eroding shoreline. A circle of stones marks the lighthouse’s orignal site. In the photo above, the lighthouse can be seen in it’s new location. By the way, Cape Hatteras is the nearest point of land to Bermuda (563 miles as the pelican flies).
Names of former lighthouse keepers are engraved in each stone in the circle.
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, N.C. was first lit on December 1, 1875. It remains unpainted to distinguish it between the two nearby black-and-white-striped lighthouses.
The marsh near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
Walkway through the marsh.
A family of geese enjoy their protected status.
Beach at Nags Head.
Nags Head coastline.
Footprints in the sand are the only sign of human presence. Part of the attraction to Nags Head is the seclusion.