Bodie Island Lighthouse Facts and History

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The Bodie Island Lighthouse was opened by the National Park Service for climbing in the spring of 2013 and is located just north of the Bonner Bridge within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This picturesque lighthouse is commonly photographed at sunset as it is easy to pull onto the west shoulder of NC-12 to take a well-timed picture. Find it online at

Bodie Island Lighthouse Quick Facts

  • Bodie Island is pronounced “body”. Folklore says the origin is due to the number of bodies that washed ashore after shipwrecks in these waters of the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”
  • The current Bodie Island Lighthouse is the third that has stood in this vicinity.
  • Stands at 164 feet high and was first lit in 1872, electrified in 1932 and re-lit in 2013 after restoration.

Bodie Island Lighthouse in North Carolina

The grounds feature a visitor's center in the old keeper's quarters with exhibits, an Eastern National Bookstore, and a self-guided nature trail that winds through the soundside forests and marshes. The lighthouse and keepers house are tucked away amidst tall pines and marshland creating a quiet respite from the busier parts of the beach.

The lighthouse was originally constructed on Pea Island, south of Oregon Inlet in 1847 but was abandoned 12 years later due to poor foundation. Rebuilt in 1859, the then 80-feet tall lighthouse was blown up by Confederate troops in 1861 fearing that the tower would be used by Union forces during the Civil War. Across Oregon Inlet in the current location on Bodie Island, construction of the new 156-foot tall black and white horizontally-striped lighthouse was completed in 1872 with the installation of a first-order Fresnel lens, eventually electrified in 1932.

Bodie Island, NC map

Tickets for the guided tours of the lighthouse run daily from late April through Columbus Day and are available for sale on site. The tours are 45 minutes long and are limited to 22 people. Children must be at least 42” tall.