Duck, North Carolina
Spanning 200 miles along the coast of Virginia and North Carolina, a string of islands known as the Outer Banks attracts visitors from all over the world in search of expansive beaches, subtropical climate and American history. Native Americans originally inhabited the area with English settlers first setting foot there in the 16th century. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, piracy became rampant in the Outer Banks as Spanish and British ships carrying gold, silver and other riches were often intercepted. In response to numerous shipwrecks, both accidental and intentionally caused, the state built several lighthouses on the islands. The Currituck Beach Light Station, completed in 1875, is among them. It offers 365 degree views from 158 feet off the ground. But first, you must climb the 220 steps of its spiral staircase to get to the top.