North Carolina

Dare County Tourist Bureau

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   For hundreds of years, mariners feared the waters off North Carolina's Outer Banks, and regarded the waters among the most treacherous in the world. Violent storms, uncharted shoals and powerful currents lay in wait for unsuspecting sailors whose vessels followed the coastal shipping lanes. From the first European explorers to the present day, over 2,000 shipwrecks have occurred ... possibly the highest density of shipwrecks in the world. The shallow, often storm-driven water and shifting sands became the burial grounds of countless ships, making this coast known as "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."

    Because of these treacherous waters and the dangers imposed on seafarers and coastal shipping, it was determined that building dependable, visible coastal lighthouses would help correct the problem. In 1789, President George Washington and the Congress provided legislation to establish buoys, lighthouses, and other warning devices along the coasts of the 13 original states.

The Outer Banks coastline is home to four of these lighthouses.... Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, Ocracoke, and Currituck. They remain romantic sentinels that send both a warning and a welcome to seafarers and visitors alike.


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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse            Ocracoke Lighthouse   

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    Bodie Island Lighthouse               Currituck Beach Lighthouse

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Visible Shipwrecks

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