The Outer Banks: Bodie Island Lighthouse

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Our first adventure when we got to the Outer Banks was a visit to the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The drive to our beach house didn’t take us nearly as long as I was anticipating — even with a couple of bathroom breaks — so we found ourselves with 3.5 hours to kill before we could check into our house. After some lunch, we decided to drive up Route 12 a bit. We got as far as Pea Island when we decided to turn around and I announced I wanted to visit the lighthouse we saw from the road: the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Outer Banks Must-Do: Bodie Island Lighthouse via

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is only one of a few brick tower lighthouses in operation in the United States. It’s also unique in that it still uses its original first-order Fresnel lens, and only a few lighthouses still have them. You can read more about its history here.

Outer Banks Bodie Island Lighthouse via

This is one of five lighthouses located along the Outer Banks. Of those, there are only three that visitors can walk up and the Bodie Island Lighthouse is one of them. We didn’t get the chance to do this as the next tour up wasn’t until 4:30 and we didn’t want to wait. It was hot, the boys were tired, and we were anxious to check into our house. Instead, we decided to walk the nature path that runs alongside the lighthouse.

There was a guide stationed on the walk who pointed out different wildlife and answer questions. We spied fish, crabs burrowing under the sand, and this beautiful egret!

Outer Banks Bodie Island Nature Walk Egret via

We ended up visiting the lighthouse again on our last full day in the Outer Banks. This was because the boys both saw things in the gift shop the first time and we had told them they couldn’t spend their money yet. We had told them if they had money left at the end of our trip we might come back. While L spent his money earlier that week, G still had some. He was sweet enough to offer to pay for the toy L had been wanting all week. #ProudMamaMoment right there!

I had hoped to walk up the lighthouse, but it just wasn’t happening. It was just as hot that morning as it was the afternoon we visited the first time and we didn’t think the boys were really up for the walk up the 214 stairs to the top. It had been a late night and we were exhausted, so we just walked around the gift shop so the boys could get the toys they wanted.

It was on this day that I learned that I was saying “Bodie” all wrong. It’s actually pronounced “Body” not “Boh-Dee.”

Outer-Banks-Bodie-Island-Nature-Walk via

Visiting the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks, North Carolina via

My tips for visiting Bodie Island Lighthouse

    • Familiarize yourself with their rules/what to expect/ticket prices before you go by visiting the National Parks Service’s Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbs webpage. L barely made the height requirement to climb 🙂
    • Visit first thing in the morning when it’s less crowded and a little cooler out.
    • Bring bug spray, especially if you think you’ll do the nature walk.
    • Wear sunscreen.
    • Bring binoculars if you have them.
    • Bring your camera!
  • Wear shoes comfortable for walking in and won’t slip off.

I’ll be sharing more about our week at the Outer Banks in the upcoming weeks. I took SO! Many! Pictures! and still have a ways to go combing through and editing them all. I hope you’ll stay tuned!

If you’ve visited the Bodie Island Lighthouse, would you add any family-friendly tips?

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