Bodie Island

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Bodie Island (correctly pronounced "body" but often pronounced with a long "o" by those unfamiliar with the correct pronunciation) is a long, narrow barrier peninsula that forms the northernmost portion of the Outer Banks. The land that is most commonly referred to as Bodie Island was at one time a true island, however the inlet separating it from the Currituck Banks peninsula in the north closed. As a result, the Currituck Banks and Bodie Island are now one contiguous peninsula, joined together at the Nags Head area, where the inlet once flowed. Today, either name can be used to refer to peninsula as a whole, but both portions colloquially retain their historical names.

From the southern tip at Oregon Inlet, the peninsula stretches largely northwest out of North Carolina and into Virginia Beach, Virginia to join the mainland at Sandbridge near the north shore of Back Bay. The entire peninsula is approximately 72 miles in length, following the shoreline.

Places of interest[edit]

The peninsula is home to two lighthouses, Bodie Island Light and Currituck Beach Light. The Wright Brothers National Monument also has a beacon and is found on the peninsula. Jockey's Ridge, the tallest sand dune on the East Coast, is found on the peninsula. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects the southernmost part of Bodie Island, and the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park protect portions of the northern part of the peninsula.


Bodie Island was originally known as Bodies Island or Body's Island since the area was originally settled by the Body family.[citation needed] Folklore, however, attributes the naming of the island to the dead "bodies" of the ships that ran aground and sunk off the Outer Banks in what is now known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Inlets frequently open and close along the Outer Banks, making landform naming inconsistent. Bodie Island, when it was an island, extended more south than it does today. The island was originally formed around 1738, when New Inlet opened, separating Bodie Island from Hatteras Island to the south. The opening of Oregon Inlet in 1846 truncated the southern portion of Bodie Island, forming a new island situated between Bodie and Hatteras. The new barrier island was given the name Pea Island, but the wider, more powerful Oregon Inlet led to the eventual closure of New Inlet around 1933. Pea Island had thus become a part of Hatteras Island.

Near the North Carolina-Virginia state line, the Currituck Inlet once existed, which made the Currituck Banks an island of its own. This inlet served as the boundary between the two states in the early 18th century. [1]

Explorer John Lawson mentions Bodies Island just once in his 1709 book A New Voyage to Carolina, when discussing fauna of North Carolina, in particular a species of rabbit. He wrote the following: "I was told of several that were upon Bodies Island by Ronoak, which came from that Ship of Bodies;" This would indicate that Bodie Island was so named as early as 1709.


The following is a list of places found on the peninsula, listed from south to north.


Bodie Island can be accessed from North Carolina mainland from the Wright Memorial Bridge, originally built in 1966.[1] It can also be accessed from U.S. Route 64 since the Washington Baum Bridge opened in 1994.[2] Motorists driving north on the Outer Banks from Hatteras and Pea Islands reach the Currituck Banks on NC highway 12.

The north end of the peninsula is accessible by Sandpiper and Sandfiddler Roads via Sandbridge Road, but there is no highway connecting the Virginia portion of the Currituck Banks with the North Carolina portion, and even driving on the beach is no longer permitted north of the North Carolina border. Plans for an additional access point near Corolla which would be called the Mid-Currituck Bridge are currently on hold.[3]


  1. ^ Baughn, James et al. "Wright Memorial Bridge". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  2. ^ Baughn, James et al. "Washington Baum Bridge". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  3. ^ NCDOT. "Mid-Currituck Bridge". Retrieved 2014-09-12. 

Coordinates: 35°51′N 75°35′W / 35.85°N 75.58°W / 35.85; -75.58