“The Blue Book says we gotta go out, don’t say nothin’ ‘bout coming back.” — US LIFESAVING SERVICE MOTTO

Living on the edge, between sand and surf, wind and waves, between lookout stations and shipwrecks … living in a place where weather rules, geography dictates and strong men and women are born and grow resilient. That’s what the history of the Outer Banks is made of.

Despite the notion that these communities were isolated, the area was the setting for many events of national and international significance. In addition to German U-boats hunting and torpedoing Allied vessels during World War II, Civil War battles were waged here, early radio communications took place here, military aviation took a giant step forward and great storms exacted heavy tolls on ships and communities alike.

Take some time to explore the lighthouses, museums and many historic markers that reverently tell the tales of the heroic figures who kept our shores safe in times of peace as well as in times of war. Their stories live on from generation to generation and we are proud to share them.
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    Davis Shore Ferry Service

    Davis Shore Ferry Service offers vehicle and passenger service to Cape Lookout National Seashore. Our ferries leave from Davis, NC to South Core Banks (Great Island) and return. Ferry Service, ice, bait, tackle, and other supplies are available through Davis Shore Ferry Service.

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    Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

    The USS Monitor is one of the nation’s most iconic vessels and its remains can be found within the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Cape Hatteras (NC Historical Marker B-50).  The Sanctuary also hosts a virtual maritime heritage trail: http://monitor.noaa.gov/obxtrail/welcome.html . The USS Monitor was an iconic Civil War ironclad. Built in […]

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    British Cemetery

    In the early years of World War II, the U.S. Navy was ill-prepared for the German U-Boat threat prowling off the Atlantic coast. Merchant ships from various nations running along the eastern seaboard were constantly harassed and sunk by the German submarines. The U.S. Navy had no ships suited to anti-submarine patrol. Britain offered assistance, […]

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    Cape Lookout Coast Guard Station

    The Cape Lookout station was chiefly responsible for providing rescue services in the Cape Lookout Shoals, which extend ten miles into the Atlantic Ocean and represent a significant hazard to coastwise shipping. The station was built as a lifeboat station beginning in 1916 and comprises a complex of several frame buildings. The chief structure is […]

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    Cape Lookout Lighthouse

    The present lighthouse was completed in 1859. In 1873 the lighthouse was painted in its distinctive black and white diagonal checkerboard pattern. It is the only lighthouse known to have this pattern. The lighthouse is also unique because the diamond pattern indicates compass direction. When the sailors saw a black lighthouse with a white diamond […]

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    Cape Hatteras National Seashore

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the nation’s first national seashore, was established in 1937 to preserve significant segments of unspoiled barrier islands along North Carolina’s stretch of the Atlantic Coast. Barrier islands are narrow, low-lying, dynamic landforms which parallel ocean coasts, are separated from the mainland, and are constantly moving and reshaping in response to storms, […]

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    World War II Navy Base Cistern

    Prior to June of 1977 everyone living on Ocracoke Island relied on rainstorms and runoff from the roof for fresh drinking water. According to oral tradition the first water storage containers were simply wooden barrels, undoubtedly gathered from sailing vessels or local stores after they had emptied them of vinegar, rum, or molasses, popular fare […]

    41 Irvin Garrish Highway Ocracoke, NC