Built in 1832, the Ocracoke Lighthouse continues lighting the way for mariners traveling through the Ocracoke Inlet.
Located on the Ocracoke Island along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway is the 75ft tall Ocracoke Lighthouse. This historical landmark, that was built in 1823 and is the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation, continues lighting the way for sailors traveling through the Ocracoke Inlet. It is a beautiful site to see but it isn’t easy to reach unless you are already in the area.
Ocracoke Lighthouse is located on Lighthouse Road in Ocracoke North Carolina. If you are driving, the only way to reach Ocracoke Island is by Ferry. It is about 4 1/2 hours from New Bern traveling over the Cedar Island – Ocracoke ferry to the South, or 1 1/2 hours from Hatteras over the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry to the North. Once you are on Ocracoke island the drive isn’t very far as it is a small island; but the town has big charm and the beaches are beautiful , wild, and very remote. Unfortunately there isn’t adequate parking at the lighthouse nor are there any restroom facilities. There are only a total of 5 parking spots with 1 of them reserved for handicapped parking. Parking is also not allowed on the street. On our visit to the lighthouse there was no parking available and we had to circle the block a few times until a spot became available. Parking is also limited to only 15 minutes.
From the parking lot, the lighthouse stands beautifully visible in the distance with a well maintained fenced walkway leading to the base of the lighthouse. There is an informative sign board at the start of the walkway along with another sign about half way down that explains some of the history of the light station along with the neighboring house, now a private residence, that used to house the lighthouse keeper.
The lighthouse isn’t open to the public so all you can do is walk to the locked door at the base of the lighthouse and enjoy it from the outside. Perhaps one day the public will be allowed to enjoy this beauty from the inside but for now, you have to settle for the view from the outside.
But not for too long as you can only park for 15 minutes. Hurry back to the parking lot when you are done enjoying Ocracoke lighthouse so that someone else can have your parking spot.