The Bald Head Lighthouse better known as Old Baldy was built in 1817 and is the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina. Located where the Cape Fear River, the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway converge, the lighthouse was primarily built to mark the Cape Fear River entrance for maritime sailors.
The lighthouse remained active until 1866 when the second light at Ft. Fisher (Federal Point) was positioned at the north entrance to the Cape Fear River at New Inlet. When New Inlet closed due to the water becoming too shallow, the Fort Fisher light was decommissioned and Old Baldy was reactivated and remained shining brightly until 1935.
Today there is a replica of the keepers quarters which houses as the Smith Island Museum and a gift shop. On display are historical maritime artifacts. You may also purchase a historic tour including lunch. The tour takes you over the island and a guide leads you to the historic portions of Bald Head Island. This tour package includes your ferry ticket, admission to the museum and lighthouse, a tour of the island by golf cart as well as your lunch.
Directions to Old Baldy Lighthouse:
From the mainland, come to Southport, NC. From Southport, take 9th street to the Bald Head Island Passenger Ferry. For more information about the ferry call 910-457-5003.
Bald Head Lighthouse Facts
- Bald Head Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina.
- Climbing to the top of Old Baldy is permitted.
- Old Baldy is 110 feet tall.
- There are 108 steps and 5 landings as well as a ladder in the lantern room
- From the top of the lighthouse you enjoy a 360 degree view of Bald Head Island