Safety and Rules
Please do your part to have a safe, enjoyable experience and follow these safety rules while visiting either lighthouse.
What to Expect
Both climbs are strenuous!
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has 257 steps from the ground to the balcony level, equal to climbing a 12-story building. The narrow stairs have a handrail only on one side, two-way traffic, and a landing every 31 steps.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse has just over 200 steps from the ground to the top, equal to climbing a 10-story building. The narrow stairs have a handrail only on one side, one-way traffic, and 9 landings.
There is no air conditioning and no elevator in either lighthouse. It may be noisy, humid, hot and dim inside the lighthouses. Visitors with heart, respiratory or other medical conditions, or who have trouble climbing stairs, should use their own discretion as to whether to climb the lighthouses.
Climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Climbing the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is a unique experience. The climb is self-paced and provides views from the tallest brick lighthouse in North America.
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day. Climbing hours are 9 am to 4:30 pm daily in the spring and fall, and 9 am to 5:30 pm the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Tickets are required.
Climbing the Bodie Island Lighthouse
At Bodie Island, you have the chance to climb the lighthouse with a ranger and learn about the history of the lighthouse, the people who operated them, and the surroundings.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse guided climb season is from the third Friday in April to Columbus Day in early October. Guided climbs will run from 9 am to 5:45 pm daily. Climbs start every 35 minutes and are 45 minutes long. Each guided climb is limited to 22 people.
Did You Know?
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, which commemorates the first English attempt at colonization of the New World, is only a few miles northwest of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. More...