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

    Cape Hatteras

    National Seashore North Carolina

Visitor Centers

Hatteras Island Museum in Cape Hatteras Lighthouse's old Double Keepers' Quarters
Museum of the Sea in the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse's old Double Keepers' Quarters
National Park Service
 
There are three visitor centers within Cape Hatteras National Seashore, one for each barrier island. Stop by a visitor center to learn about the ranger programs on offer, lighthouse climbing, local weather conditions, and the history and resources of the area.
 

Visitor Center Hours

Bodie Island Visitor Center Friday before Memorial Day—Labor Day 9 am—6 pm
Rest of the year 9 am—5 pm
Christmas Closed
Hatteras Island Visitor Center Friday before Memorial Day—Labor Day 9 am—6 pm
Rest of the year
Christmas
9 am—5 pm
Closed
Museum of the Sea mid-February—October 9 am—6 pm
Rest of the year Intermittent
Ocracoke Island Visitor Center Year-round
December 2013—March 20, 2014
9 am—5 pm
9 am—5 pm W—Su
Christmas Closed
 
This boardwalk offers an excellent view of a freshwater marsh.

This boardwalk offers an excellent view of a freshwater marsh.

National Park Service

Bodie Island Visitor Center

Approximately six miles south of the seashore's northern entrance is the Bodie Island Visitor Center. This visitor center is located in the historic Bodie Island Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters at the end of a short park road off of NC Highway 12 across from Coquina Beach. The visitor center is a great place to get oriented, purchase lighthouse tour tickets, and browse the bookstore.

Outside the visitor center, a path leads to the 156-foot Bodie Island Lighthouse, which is open for tours spring through autumn. Also nearby is a boardwalk that continues past the lighthouse to a wildlife observation deck on the edge of a freshwater pond where you can peacefully observe area waterfowl and wading birds.

 
The Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea are located at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea are located at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

National Park Service

Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea

About 50 miles south of the seashore's north entrance is the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea in Buxton, NC. The visitor center offers orientation information a bookstore. Just beyond the visitor center is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse ticket booth, the off-road vehicle permit office, a pavilion for ranger programs, and restroom facilities. Ranger programs are scheduled during spring, summer, and autumn months.

The Museum of the Sea is within the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters. The two-floor museum contains exhibits on Outer Banks history and natural history. A small audiovisual room provides a video presentations, available upon request. Between the visitor center and the museum stands the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

 
A ranger presents a program outside the Ocracoke Visitor Center.

A ranger presents a program outside the Ocracoke Visitor Center.

National Park Service

Ocracoke Island Visitor Center

Near the seashore's southern edge in Ocracoke Village is the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center, located at the end of NC Highway 12 where the road enters the ferry terminal. The visitor center is a mix of bookstore items and exhibits focused on Ocracoke history. During the summer months, ranger programs are scheduled just outside in the cool shade.

From the visitor center, the Ocracoke Lighthouse is visible across Silver Lake. Also visible are the cistern from the previous naval base that occupied this spot and a family cemetery.

Did You Know?

Sand Dunes at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, established in 1953, was our nation's first national seashore. Cape Hatteras National Seashore is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More...