OBX means one thing to beach lovers – the Outer Banks.

Where Native Americans, English settlers and notorious pirates once trod, beachcombers’ flip-flops now walk.

Speaking of flip-flips, plenty can be packed in a duffel bag like the Sherpani Jetta Duffel Bag, along with other beach vacation necessities.

The Outer Banks’ lighthouses lining the barrier islands off the North Carolina coastline are among its most enduring images.

Come travel with us as we tour these illuminating attractions.

Built the farthest north, the Currituck Beach Light Station in Corolla was constructed in 1875.  Unlike other lighthouses down south with their black and white patterns, this still active facility was constructed of red bricks.  Open from Easter to Thanksgiving weekend, this lighthouse will reward you with an outstanding view after a hike up 214 steps.

After paying homage to Orville and Wilber Wright at Kitty Hawk, continue heading south on Highway 12 to the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

Bodie Island, pronounced “body,” is located just inside the entrance of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Historians are still unsure if the name comes from an original settler or an unfortunate drowning victim of the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.

Over the centuries more than 1,000 ships have fallen victim to Mother Nature here. Between Hatteras and Ocracoke shallow and underwater sandbars are in constant motion as the warm Gulf Stream collides with the Arctic cold of the Labrador Current.

…over the centuries, more than 1,000 ships have fallen victim to Mother Nature here…

The first Bodie Island lighthouse had a shaky start after being built in the late 1840s. Resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it lasted less than 15 years.  Its successor had an even shorter history.  When Confederate troops feared it would fall in the hands of the Union navy during the Civil War, they blew it up.

Thankfully, the current lighthouse with its horizontal black and white coloring has lasted since 1872.  Although you can no longer climb the stairs of its 156-foot structure, visit the old Keeper’s House that is now a museum. There are nature trails to hike or bike. Coastal birds such as herons and egrets frequent the area.

Driving through the National Seashore, you’ll see the massive sand dunes changing with the direction of the wind.

In Buxton, the most famed of the lit sentries on the sand can be found. America was barely a nation when Congress gave approval for a lighthouse here in the late 18th century.

The familiar black and white bricks in a spiral pattern have graced the current Cape Hatteras Lighthouse since 1870.  As the nation’s tallest lighthouse, it attracts visitors to climb its 257 stairs from Good Friday until Columbus Day.

Its rich history includes the half-mile move across the dunes to higher ground due to beach erosion in 1999.

If you like surf fishing or parasailing, plan to spend a few days here.

Nowadays a 40-minute free ferry ride is required between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands, but long before ferries cut across the water, pirate Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard, counted the Ocracoke Inlet as one of his favorite’s anchorages. As the pirate with flair, he was known to put lit fuses in his beard to frighten others; Ocracoke was also where he was caught by the King’s officials and hanged.

Your vacation will have a much better ending. Walk the small town that is still inhabited with plenty of character — and characters — year-round. It is an easy stroll from the harbor to the Ocracoke Lighthouse.

The Outer Banks’ oldest lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse is still whitewashed and active with three centuries of service in her history. Although you cannot enter it, the views from its base are sheer inspiration for poets, artists and photographers.

Mini lighthouse magnets are popular gift shop souvenirs.  Tuck a few in your duffel bag’s outer pocket for a wonderful OBX memory to take home.

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Sherpani Jetta Duffel Bag

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