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Oak Island Lighthouse

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


Being completed in 1958, the Oak Island Lighthouse is one of the newest lighthouses in the United States. It is made from concrete and stands 153 feet tall (with only 148 ft. above the ground) and is anchored by 24 pilings that are 67 ft. deep (10" round and filled with concrete). It replaced the Cape Fear Lighthouse, a steel skeleton lighthouse near Cape Fear on Bald Head Island. (That lighthouse was demolished afterwards to avoid confusion.) The lighthouse marks the mouth of the Cape Fear River and from 1958 until 1962 it was the brightest lighthouse in the US and second most powerful beacon in the world, only surpassed by a French lighthouse along the English Channel. In 1962 it lost that distinction due to a change in the bulb technology used. The light is 169 ft. above the water and can be seen for 16 miles.

Older photo of the lighthouse during air shows.
View of Oak Island from the street on the way to the parking lot.
The stairs inside of the lighthouse.


The Oak Island Lighthouse is one of the youngest lighthouses in the United States, with construction being completed in 1958.  It is made from concrete and stands 153 feet (47 m) tall (with only 148 ft. above the ground) and is anchored by 24 pilings that are 67 ft. deep. This lighthouse replaced the Skeleton Lighthouse that was a few miles away.

For quite a few years, it was the second most powerful lighthouse in the world, with a beacon that could shine nearly 16 miles. It was also the brightest lighthouse in the United States, until bulb technology changed all of that.

The characteristic flashing pattern for the light is four one-second flashes every ten seconds. It has become the symbol for Oak Island and can be seen on many of the souvenirs sold there.

The top 52 feet of the lighthouse are black; the middle 50 feet are white, while the bottom 40 feet are grey. The final 11 ft. are the aluminum and glass light enclosure. These colors are not painted on the structure, having instead been mixed into the concrete at the time the tower was constructed.


300A Caswell Beach Rd
Oak Island, NC 28465
Phone Number
(910) 278-5471
The lighthouse is open to the general public for tours to the second level (up just twelve steps) from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Wednesdays and Saturdays 10 A.M. - 2 P.M. for visitors aged seven or above. Tours to the top (up 131 steps to an ou
  • Maritime and Naval History
This location was created on 2013-11-22 by Jeremy Harris .   It was last updated on 2015-04-05 by Noel Diem .

This entry has been viewed 742 times within the past year


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