Take a trip back in time and embark on an exploration of one of the East Coast’s oldest lighthouses with a visit to “Old Baldy,” or more formally, the Bald Head Island Lighthouse. Located on the western heart of Bald Head Island, and within easy biking or golf-cart distance of the ferry docks, this historic site is one of the Cape Fear region’s most visited attractions, and is a much-photographed landmark, thanks to both its legacy, and its unique and distinctive exterior.
The octagon structure, which was built in 1817 and is therefore the oldest functioning lighthouse in the state, stands just 110’ ft. and is distinct for its cool gray exterior that’s speckled with stucco plaster – a testament to decades of structural repairs. Despite the patchwork appearance, however, the lighthouse can be somewhat easily climbed, and visitors who make the trek, will be treated to incredible vistas that span from the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic Ocean. A museum is also located on-site, which is housed within a historic Keeper’s Cottage, which outlines the structure’s touch-and-go history, from early hurricanes to its role in World War II. A must-see island destination, Old Baldy easily claims the title as the most visited and most memorable attraction on Bald Head Island.