Bodie Lighthouse

The Northern Sentry of the
Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Bodie Lighthouse

Bodie Lighthouse Facts:

Height of Tower: 165 Feet, 156 feet to focal point

Year completed: 1872

Signal Distance 19 Nautical Miles

Signal Pattern: White 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 seconds off, 2.5 seconds on and 22.5 seconds eclipse with 2 cycles each minute.

The Bodie Lighthouse and house

Bodie Island Lighthouse is located in the northern part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Nags Head between Currituck Lighthouse and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This was the second lighthouse my mom and I visited, and it turned out to be my favorite lighthouse we saw that day.

The current tower is actually the third Bodie lighthouse to stand. The first tower was built poorly and subsequently started sinking. It was then abandoned. The second tower was destroyed by Confederate troops in 1861 in a desperate attempt to divest the Union Navy of a navigational tool for its ships. The tower that currently stands was built in 1870, a little after the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was completed.

A sign in The Bodie Lighthouse

Bodie is beautiful in and of itself, but I think the location of the tower and the surrounding area is what truly hooked me. I felt like I had stepped back in time and into a different world. Bodie lighthouse is located in a remote part of the Outer Banks and is nestled in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. For anyone who knows the Outer Banks well, you know there are no other buildings in this seashore. Bodie’s remoteness really helps you appreciate this tower. I was awestruck.

The interior of the Bodie Lighthouse

I remember pulling up to Bodie lighthouse and being giddy with excitement. I couldn’t wait to climb to the top and see the view this beautiful lighthouse had to offer. You could imagine my sense of disappointment when my mom and I walked up to climb Bodie and found this great tower locked.

The staircase leading to the light area in the Bodie Lighthouse

Unfortunately Bodie is in need of restoration, so therefore no one can climb it. I remember being unable to comprehend how or why I couldn’t climb it. The park ranger opened the door for us since my mom and I were the only ones there at the time. We could look up the staircase and I remember wanting so badly to climb it. The ranger told us that they had not raised enough money to restore Bodie yet and that they were hoping to have it finished in 2008. It being 2003 at the time, I couldn’t get over how long I had to wait to be able to climb this mysterious tower.

Laura outside the Bodie house

Fast-forward to 2008, and my mom and I with my sister in tow, pulled up to Bodie once more. Again, I was giddy with excitement and was anxious to finally be able to climb up “Bo Bo.” (Yes, I had nicknamed my favorite lighthouse.) We walked up to Bodie and I could feel my palms sweating. I couldn’t believe I was going to finally be able to see what Bodie had to offer. To my great disappointment, Bodie was still locked and visitors still couldn’t climb the tower. I sought out a park ranger and questioned him and to my great dismay, they still hadn’t raised enough money for the restoration. So, the great mystery of Bodie lighthouse still eludes me.

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