• Spring-time view of the seashore, with shorebirds returning to the surf.

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

Lighthouse Climbs

Bodie Island Lighthouse stairs

Bodie Island Lighthouse stairs

National Park Service

There are three historic lighthouses located in the park. Both the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse are open seasonally—third Friday in April through Columbus Day—for self-guided climbs. The third lighthouse, the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, is not open for climbing.

Safety and Rules
Please do your part to have a safe, enjoyable experience and follow these safety rules while visiting either lighthouse.

  • Children must be at least 42" tall and capable of climbing all steps on their own.
  • Children 11 years of age or younger must be accompanied by an adult who is 16 years of age or older.
  • No person may be lifted or carried.
  • Running, jumping, or stomping on stairs and landings is prohibited.
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke or chew tobacco.
  • No pets, other than service animals.
  • Do not arrive in heels over 1 ½ inches high or with bare feet.
  • Leave umbrellas in your car.
  • Backpacks, tripods, coolers, beach bags, surfboards, fishing poles, and the like also need to be left in your car.
  • Throwing of any object off the lighthouse is unsafe and may get you in big trouble! Either lighthouse may close at any time if weather conditions are unsafe.
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, two-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.
 
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

National Park Service

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.

Tickets
Climbing 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 climbs.

Ticket sales begin at 8:15 am and climbs begin at 9 am, running every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per climb. Ticket sales close at 4:30 pm in the spring and fall, and 5:30 pm the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the base of the lighthouse five minutes prior to their ticketed climb time.

Special Night Climbs
Special night climbing tours are offered weekly during the summer months, on Thursdays from May 28th to September 3rd, 2015. Check the schedule of events or park newspaper for the weekly tour schedule.

Ticket sales for the weekly night climbs may be purchased in person at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Ticket Booth beginning two days before the tour. Advanced purchase of tickets is required, and the tickets do sell out fast, so be sure to stop by as soon as they go on sale.

School Group Climbs
Climbing tours may be booked in advance for some school groups.
 
Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

National Park Service

Climbing the Bodie Island Lighthouse
At Bodie Island, you have the chance to climb the lighthouse at your own pace and take in the gorgeous natural surroundings of Bodie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse is open from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day (in early October). Climbing hours are 9 am to 4:30 pm daily. Tickets are required.

Tickets
Climbing tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (62 or older), children 11 years of age and under, and the disabled. Climb 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 climbs.

Ticket sales begin at 8:45 am and climbs begin at 9 am, running every 15 minutes with a limit of 12 visitors per climb. Ticket sales close at 4:25 pm. Ticket holders should arrive at the base of the lighthouse five minutes prior to their ticketed climb time.

Due to climb limitations, educational fee waivers for school groups are not offered for Bodie Island Lighthouse climbs.

 
Bodie Island Lighthouse Light during a full moon climb

Bodie Island Lighthouse Light

National Park Service

Full Moon Climbs

Tickets for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse full moon climbs may be purchased in person at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Ticket Booth. Tickets for the Bodie Island Lighthouse full moon climbs may be purchased in person at the Bodie Island Visitor Center. Tickets for these climbs go on sale beginning two days before the climb. Advanced purchase of tickets is required, and the tickets do sell out fast, so be sure to stop by as soon as they go on sale.

Full Moon Climbs First Climb Second Climb
May 3, 2015 8 pm 9 pm
June 2, 2015 8:30 pm 9:30 pm
July 1, 2015 8:30 pm 9:30 pm
July 31, 2015 8:30 pm 9:30 pm
August 29, 2015 8 pm 9 pm
September 27, 2015 7:30 pm 8:30 pm

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