Climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Climbing the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a unique experience!
Climbing tour tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (11 and under, and at least 42" tall), and the disabled. Tickets are available on a first come/first served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales for regular climbing tours.
Ticket sales begin at 8:15 a.m. Climbing tours will begin at 9 a.m. and will run every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per tour. Ticket sales close at 4:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and 5:30 p.m. the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse gate five minutes prior to their ticketed tour time.
Special night climbing tours are offered weekly during the summer months. Check the schedule of events or park newspaper for the weekly tour schedule. In addition to the weekly night tours, a full-moon climbing tour is offered monthly during the summer. News releases with dates and ticket purchase information are published the week prior to the full moon tours. Ticket sales for both the weekly night climbs and monthly full moon tours may be purchased in person beginning two days before the tour.
What to Expect
The climb is strenuous!! The 257 steps from the ground to the watchroom equal climbing a 12 story building. The stairs have a handrail only on one side and a landing every 31 steps. There is no air conditioning. It may be noisy, humid, hot and dim inside the lighthouse and there is two-way traffic on the narrow stairs.
The lighthouse may close at any time if weather conditions are unsafe.
The following safety rules apply:
Climbing tours may be booked in advance for some school groups.
Did You Know?
The beaches along Cape Hatteras National Seashore sparkle at night. When you kick the sand, you disturb tiny dinoflagellates like seasparkle, magnified in the picture to the left. A chemical reaction causes them to glow with a blue-green light.