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Lighting the Way: Lighthouses of the Southern Coast

When you picture the coast, do sandy toes, salty air, and sea shells come to mind? These are all generic icons we associate with being near the ocean. But there are other landmarks that define the coastline: lighthouses.

Before my family moved back to North Carolina from Virginia, we decided to take a beach vacation to the Outer Banks. With the uncertainty of my father’s new job in Charlotte, NC, it was a “why not?” kind of trip but one that we haven’t forgotten over the years. It was the first time my sisters and I had been to the beach, so when we pulled up to the one story, two bedroom ocean-front house, we could not have been happier. It had an ant problem that we had to fight all week, but the sand and sun quickly put that problem behind us. The long hours spent outside building sand castles and hunting for sea shells had its perks, but what was so memorable during this particular beach trip was getting to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Cape Hatteras was built to protect ships from Diamond Shoals.Cape Hatteras, located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, was first lit in 1803 to protect ships from Diamond Shoals, a twelve-mile long sandbar. Its structure then was made of sandstone and it stood only 90 feet tall. Today it is the tallest lighthouse in the United States, standing at 210 feet. Its daymark (the design painted on the tower to be easily spotted during the day) is the spiral black and white stripes. Since sandstone proved to be an unreliable structure, the final tower, the one we see today, was built using brick, its base octagon shaped and made from brick and granite. What makes this lighthouse so well-known is the fact that it has had to be relocated due to beach erosion. But with the help of preservationists, they have been able to keep Cape Hatteras Lighthouse standing.

South Carolina is home to a few lighthouses as well. Not your typical shaped lighthouse, the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse models an air traffic control tower. Instead of cone shaped, this lighthouse is triangular, with one point facing the ocean. If you can imagine the glow that 28 million candles would give off, that was the power of the light when Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse was first lit. Unfortunately, it proved too blinding and unsafe for the light keepers to tend to it, and about ten years later the light was toned down. This lighthouse is also black and white; the top painted black and the bottom, white. Just around the corner from the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse is Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter.

Picture Courtesy of Visit Savannah
Picture Courtesy of Visit Savannah.

On down the coast we stop in Georgia, home to five more lighthouses. Most familiar to me would be Tybee Island, as I vacationed there too, one year. From the first appearance of a beacon on Tybee Island in the 1700s, this lighthouse has had a rough life. It was rebuilt at least three times, and in 1998 it underwent major restoration thanks to the Tybee Island Historical Society. Shaped like an octagon, this lighthouse has a black top and bottom and a white middle as its daymark. The Tybee Island lighthouse is proud to be one of the most complete and well-kept lighthouses in America today. A special feature of this lighthouse is that it is able to be rented out for events. How beautiful would it be to have a lighthouse as a back drop for an event?

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is Florida's tallest lighthouse.In Florida, there are four different locations to spot a lighthouse. Perhaps a trip to the Ponce de Leon Inlet, one of Florida’s most popular beaches and home to the Ponce Inlet Light Station, will be a great adventure. It is Florida’s tallest lighthouse at 175 feet tall with 203 steps to the top. Like Cape Hatteras, this lighthouse is cone shaped, and made entirely of bricks. What makes this lighthouse more exciting is the connection to the past. In the late 1800s, Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, was shipwrecked along the inlet while on his way to cover the beginnings of the Cuban rebellion. Had it not been for the Ponce Inlet Light Station, known then as Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse, Crane and his companions would not have made it to shore. The S.S Commodore, the ship carrying Crane, was located and some artifacts brought up from the wreckage are now on display at the light station.

There are many more lighthouses dotting the coast from North Carolina to Florida, all with interesting pasts waiting to be explored. They have been destroyed and rebuilt, repainted and relocated, and even though most today are automated or abandoned, they still catch the attention of those heading down to the coast. Preservation societies keep the lighthouses in good condition so that we can relive the magical history of the coast’s light stations.

Request Information from these Coastal Communities

River Bluffs

River Bluffs

Castle Hayne, North Carolina

Located just 10 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington, NC (by boat or car) sits River Bluffs, overlooking the North East Cape Fear River. Residents enjoy a serene community where they live and play. Together, residents and the neighborhood's developers have established over 30 clubs. The clubs include boating, kayaking, dancing & more!
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NC


Island in the Sun

Island in the Sun

Clearwater, Florida

Nestled in Clearwater, Florida, Island in the Sun 55+ Manufactured Home Community offers resort style living all year long. Our location is ideal because its a few minutes drive to breathtaking white sandy beaches, distinguished restaurants, exciting shopping centers and minor league baseball. With amenities designed around the active senior, you can stay fit while building life-long friendships. Take an invigorating swim or join friends for a dip in the spa. Meet up with your neighbors for a game of bocce ball, pickleball, shuffleboard or even a game of pool in our billiards room.
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FL


Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow, Washington

Port Ludlow is a resort-style community located on the shores of the Puget Sound, just a 30-minute ferry ride away from Seattle, Washington. Port Ludlow is close enough to the city, but far enough to enjoy an active and tranquil lifestyle. With views of the Olympic Mountains, a bustling social life, waterfront inn, and myriad of recreational amenities, the community has regularly been ranked as one of the top ten neighborhoods in the U.S.
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WA


Losantos Tulum Gated Community

Losantos Tulum Gated Community

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Losantos Tulum is a new upscale and active community located in Tulum, Mexico. Enjoy gated security 24 hours and amazing amenities from the clubhouse to our spa.
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MEX


Carolina Colours - North Carolina Gated Communities

Carolina Colours - North Carolina Gated Communities

New Bern, North Carolina

Carolina Colours brings to life the very best of small Carolina towns-past, present and future. A mere 30 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, the waters of the Trent and Neuse Rivers converge to surround the vibrant waterfront town of New Bern, NC. Community amenities include the 25+-acre Carolina Lake, a Harris Teeter grocery, parks, trails and sidewalks, an Activity Campus with golf, fitness, tennis, swimming, pickleball and-for those quiet moments-rocking chairs
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NC


K. Hovnanian's   Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay

K. Hovnanian's Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay

Summerville, South Carolina

Against the backdrop of a near perfect setting, K. Hovnanian's ® Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay brings the best in luxurious, 55+ living to Summerville, South Carolina. This spectacular lakefront community is just a short drive from Charleston and Lowcountry beaches.
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SC


The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

Savannah, Georgia

The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012.
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GA


Beau Coast

Beau Coast

Beaufort, North Carolina

For many, the dream of owning a home at the North Carolina coast has been just that-a dream. Until now. Located in historic Beaufort, NC, Beau Coast offers a relaxed atmosphere with a wide selection of homes to fit every pocketbook and lifestyle. Best of all, each home is located in an amenity-filled neighborhood that makes living in Beau Coast that much more desirable.
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NC


Brunswick Forest - A North Carolina Coastal Retirement Community

Brunswick Forest - A North Carolina Coastal Retirement Community

Leland, North Carolina

Brunswick Forest, the Coastal South's fastest growing community, is located on North Carolina's Cape Fear coast, just minutes from historic Wilmington. This 4,500-acre retreat features a wide array of neighborhoods and lifestyles, 18 holes of golf at Cape Fear National, a Clubhouse, River Club, Fitness & Wellness Center, parks and more than 100 miles of walking, biking and nature trails linking residences and amenities.
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NC


Noble's Pond

Noble's Pond

Dover, Delaware

Delaware 55+ Community Situated on 293 acres with wooded areas and natural habitats Low Tax Living - Delaware taxes for retirees are ranked #1 in the NE
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DE


Retire NC

Retire NC

Cary, North Carolina

From four distinct seasons to its geographic diversity and welcoming communities, North Carolina draws those seeking retirement options that feed the senses and the soul. Retiring to North Carolina is like coming home...
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NC


Palm Cay / One Marina - Homes in the Bahamas

Palm Cay / One Marina - Homes in the Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

Palm Cay is a unique oceanfront gated community, set within 70 acres, which successfully blends the exclusivity of a magnificent 200+ berth marina with panoramic waterfront and glorious beaches, to offer an idyllic and affordable lifestyle-unsurpassed even by Bahamian standards.
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BHS


Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Richmond Hill, Georgia

Waterways is a 2,300-acre master-planned community located just 30 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia, in charming Richmond Hill. Surrounded by a 1,600 acre nature preserve, this is a place where six-and-a-half miles of marsh frontage, over four miles of winding lagoons, and more than a thousand acres of ancient oak hammocks embrace our new homes and homesites.
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GA


St. James Plantation - NC Gated Community

St. James Plantation - NC Gated Community

Southport, North Carolina

With its private oceanfront beach club, 81 holes of signature golf and Intracoastal Waterway marina, St. James Plantation personifies the relaxed coastal Carolina lifestyle.
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NC


Summerhouse on Everett Bay - North Carolina Coastal Community

Summerhouse on Everett Bay - North Carolina Coastal Community

Holly Ridge, North Carolina

A New Season Has Begun at Summerhouse. Imagine a warm, welcoming home where luxury meets coastal casual and the ocean is just beyond your front door. A community where you can go kayaking on the Intracoastal Waterway in the morning, relax by the resort-style clubhouse pool with friends in the afternoon, and check your crab pots for dinner at sunset! All this with the seaside village of Surf City and Historic Wilmington, NC nearby.
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NC


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