• Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet

    Cape Lookout

    National Seashore North Carolina

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • ORV Plan Comment Period Extended

    On May 23, 2014, the NPS released a Environmental Impact Statement for its Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for a 60-day comment period, which was extended to September 4. The comment period will be extend an additional 15 days until September 19, 2014.

Fees & Reservations


Lighthouse Tickets

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is open for climbing during the summer season.

During the open season, tickets are available for sale at the Light Station Visitor Center in the lighthouse area.

Information on ticket prices and reservations, climbing dates and times, and safety regulations is available on the Climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse webpage.

Educators including a lighthouse climb as an educational activity during their field trip may be eligible for an Academic Fee Waiver for students' lighthouse tickets.


Ferry Services

All ferries are permitted by the National Park Service but are privately operated and licensed with their fees set by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

Passenger Ferry

Passenger ferries

Rates vary ($15 to $20 per adult, reduced for children) with the individual ferry service. Rates will also vary with the season (lower in summer, higher in winter) and with the amount of gear being transported (campers with gear may be charged an additional fee). Contact the ferry directly for the current price. All rates quoted are for roundtrip fares.

Vehicle Ferry

Vehicle ferries

Passengers: Rates vary ($14-$16 per adult, reduced for children) with the individual ferry service.

Vehicles: Rates vary according to vehicle size. Standard size vehicles (18 ½ feet and under) run about $75 - $80 per vehicle. Small utility vehicles and ATVs cost less, larger vehicles cost more.

All rates quoted are for roundtrip fares. Contact the ferry directly for current pricing and more information.

Beach Shuttles

Four-wheel drive shuttle services are available for a fee. Contact the island transportation service directly for reservations or more information.

Mule Train (252-728-7433) Runs from the shade shelter at the Cape Lookout Light Station (north of the Light Station Visitor Center and ferry dock) to the point of Cape Lookout and to the Cape Lookout Village Historic District.


Cabin Rentals

The rustic cabins of Core Banks give you views of pristine beaches, easy access to fishing, and a chance to get away from it all. Each cabin has a hot water heater, propane oven/stove, kitchen with cabinets, table and chairs, and private bath. Visitors need to provide their own linens, bedding, and cookware.

More information can be found on the park's lodging page.


There are no designated campgrounds in the park and no fees for beach camping. However, groups of 25 or more must obtain a Special Use Permit for overnight camping. More information on camping in the park can be found here.


Some activities--including weddings, commercial filming or photography, and long-term parking (more than 24 hours)--require special use permits. Applications and information can be found on the park's permit page.

Did You Know?

Humpback whale in front of Cape Lookout lighthouse

Diamond City was a shore-based whaling community located where Barden Inlet now separates the islands of Shackleford Banks and South Core Banks. Crews would row whaling dories out from shore to chase the whales as they migrated past the island. Cape Lookout National Seashore