The red-brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse towers above the Historic Corolla Village. Visitors to this Outer Banks attraction can climb the winding staircase, 220 steps in all, to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view of Currituck Sound, the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Outer Banks. Inside the lighthouse, at the base and on the first two landings, there are museum-quality lighthouse exhibits. On the way up or down, stop to learn about the history of coastal lighthouses, the Fresnel lens, shipwrecks and the lighthouse keepers.
The 162-foot lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1875. Onsite keepers, who lived in homes at the base of the lighthouse, operated the lighthouse until it was automated in 1937. With automation, the lighthouse no longer required a regular keeper. The lighthouse and its outbuildings fell into disrepair for decades until a nonprofit group called Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc. (OBC) stepped in to save the site in 1980. OBC renovated the keepers’ buildings to re-create their past glories and restored the lighthouse to make it safe to climb. In July 2003 The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded OBC ownership of the lighthouse.
It costs only $10 to climb the lighthouse. Payment conveys an understanding and acceptance of the lighthouse's posted waiver of liability (the tower construction predates modern building codes and safety regulations). Children must be 4 years old to climb, and children ages 4 to 12 years old must have adult supervision. Parents or guardians must sign a waiver for children ages 13 to 17 to climb alone. Children younger than 4 may enter free but only if in a carrier. Visitors stand in line to pay admission outside the lighthouse. The lighthouse is open daily from mid-March through December 1. Climbing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During extreme weather, the lighthouse is closed to climbing. Parking is free. Leashed dogs welcome on the grounds.
The nearby Double Keepers’ House is used as a private residence, but it makes for great photographs. You can go inside the small Keeper’s House, moved to the site in 1920 from Long Point Light Station in the Currituck Sound, which is now a Museum Shop and stocks everything lighthouse-related you could ever imagine. T-shirts, hats, books, postcards, blankets, taffy, ornaments, jewelry, magnets, figurines and more fill this former keeper’s residence.