Visiting the Outer Banks

Hatteras Lighthouse
Hatteras Lighthouse.

Visitors to coastal North Carolina's Outer Banks have many opportunities to learn about the history of the USS Monitor and the National Marine Sanctuary System. The location of the shipwreck does not allow for regular visitation, and permits are required to dive on the site. If you're planning a vacation to the Outer Banks a great first stop is the Outer Banks Welcome Center to learn about the history of the area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum each have exhibits highlighting the Monitor's history and even her present status as an artificial reef. You might also check out the historic coastal lighthouses of the Outer Banks, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse managed by the National Park Service.

Outer Banks Maritime Heritage Trail

Map of vidoe
Outer Banks Trail Map.

Coastal North Carolina is an extraordinary place with strong ties to the marine environment. Surrounded by water, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a chain of narrow barrier islands separating the Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds from the Atlantic Ocean. This dynamic environment has shaped the islands and its people for centuries.

Along Highway 12 are a series of iconic places and features that make the Outer Banks unique. From the lighthouses to the wildlife to the shipwrecks offshore, the Outer Banks culture reflects the surrounding marine environment. We invite you to take a trip down this stretch of road and experience the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks of North Carolina through videos, pictures, and stories.

Click here for videos and oral histories of the Outer Banks.

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