From the mysterious disappearance of Roanoke settlers to the Wright brothers' first flight, the Outer Banks are historically important yes, but they are also postcard pretty with enough beach to share between summer visitors.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of North Carolina's best-known landmarks (and the nation's tallest lighthouse), a lofty beacon with distinctive "barber-pole" striping. Moved from its original location slightly inland to protect if from the rising Atlantic, the lighthouse is open seasonally to the public. Climb the 268 stairs to the top for views of sand and sea and have a look around the former tender's quarters, now the visitor center and a small museum.
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