Bodie Island Lighthouse, located in South Nags Head.

We’re going to hold a little bit of a contest in this blog, rating—on a purely personal level—which view from the top of an Outer Banks lighthouse is best.

The Ocracoke Lighthouse is immediately eliminated because it’s private property and cannot be climbed. That leaves Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras.

It’s a tough choice.

Cape Hatteras Light in Buxton, which is a bit of a drive from the northern Outer Banks, is the iconic symbol for the Outer Banks. At 210’ with its lens at 193’ it is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. It’s a long climb to the top and the view is amazing; the bend in the elbow of the Outer Banks can be easily seen, Buxton woods is at its base and Pamlico Sound to the west.

On the other end of the Outer Banks stands Currituck Beach Lighthouse—a beautiful red brick building that calls out to be climbed. From the top the line of the waves breading against the shore forms a crisp white line with homes lining the shoreline marching north and south. Islands dot Currituck Sound this far north and the mainland can be clearly seen.

Currituck Beach and Cape Hatteras lighthouses offer amazing vistas, but the award here is going with Bodie Island Lighthouse.

The last of the lighthouses on the Outer Banks to be repaired and made available for climbing, Bodie Island was built by the same builder and who used the same material and is a slightly smaller version of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. The marshes and wetlands of roll toward the sound, to the south and a little west, Oregon Inlet opens to the sea, and over the dunes immediately to the west the Atlantic Ocean rolls to the shore.

Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras are part of the National Park Service and reservations are recommended for both—required actually for Hatteras. Currituck Beach Lighthouse is operated by the Outer Banks Conservationists and can be climbed at any time. A fee is charged for climbing any of the Outer Banks lighthouses.