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The Oak Island Lighthouse, near Southport, North Carolina, marks the entrance to the historic Cape Fear River. It was the first lighthouse built on the Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina coast in 54 years. Built by the U.S. Coast Guard instead of the U. S. Lighthouse Service in 1958, it was built to replace the Cape Fear Light located across the Cape Fear River on Bald Head Island. The lighthouse stands at 169 feet and is among the most recent and innovative southern lighthouse towers. The tower is built of reinforced concrete, and the black, white, and gray colors of the bands are mixed into the cement to eliminate the need for painting. Its signal distance is 19 nautical miles with a signal pattern consisting of 1 white flash each for 4 seconds and 6 seconds off. Its main light, comprised of four rotating 24-inch parabolic mirrors and 1000 watt, 120V AC quartz bulbs, is the newest and strongest in the United States.

The Oak Island Light may be viewed from the Southport-Bald Head Island ferry. Since the lighthouse is part of the Oak Island Coast Guard Station it’s not open to the general public for climbing. However, the Coast Guard welcomes visitors to take photos of Oak Island, the area outside the tower, and can arrange to provide a guided tour of the station.