Fodor's Expert Review Cape Lookout Lighthouse
This distinctive 1859 lighthouse's double walls allow the tower to rise as tall as required—169 feet—without making the building unstable. This lighthouse on Core Banks island withstood retreating Confederate troops' attempts to blow it up to keep it out of Union hands (they stole the lens instead). With its white-and-black diamond markings, the beacon continues to function as a navigational aid. A small museum inside the visitor center over on Harkers Island tells the story of the lighthouse from its first incarnation in 1812. Anyone 44 inches or taller may climb the tower's 207 steps from mid-May to mid-September. The climb is worth it for an incomparable view of Cape Lookout's wild shores. A private ferry, Island Express Ferry Service, runs between both Beaufort and Harkers Island to the lighthouse.