Change in Harkers Island Visitor Center Hours
Harkers Island Visitor Center hours will be Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. until further notice.
Climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse will be open for climbing from May 15, 2013 until September 21, 2013.
The regular season begins the second week in May and ends with the third full weekend in September.
Lighthouse Climbing Hours: The lighthouse will be open for climbing on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Climbs will begin every 15 minutes from 10:00 AM until 3:45 PM.
Holiday Weekend Hours: The lighthouse will also be open on Sunday, May 26; Sunday, July 7; and Sunday, September 1 from 10:00 AM to 3:45 PM.
The lighthouse may close at any time if conditions (i.e.: temperature/humidity, lightning, or high winds) are determined to be unsafe.
The seashore will announce on Twitter (www.twitter.com/CapeLookoutNPS) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CapeLookoutNPS) when lighthouse tickets are sold out for the day and when weather related closures occur.
Tickets are required.
Prices for Tickets: $8.00 for Adults. $4.00 for children (12 years of age and younger and at least 44 inches tall), senior citizens (62 years and older), and those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass.
Please Note: ticket prices do not include the cost of ferry transportation. For more information on ferry services please contact the ferry companies directly.
Where to Purchase Tickets: Tickets for climbs may be purchased from 9:30 AM to 3:45 PM, WEDNESDAY through SATURDAY, at the Light Station Visitor Center. Each ticket is good only for the date and time stamped on the ticket.
Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse 10 minutes before their scheduled climb.
Tickets will not be refunded for late arriving guests.
Advance Reservations: Reservations for lighthouse tickets will no longer be available. Tickets will be available at the Light Station Visitor Center, near the lighthouse, on a first come, first served basis.
Only 4 groups of 10 people may enter the lighthouse per hour. (This safety limit was established by engineers after they examined the lighthouse.)
Warning: The climb to the top is strenuous. It may be hot, humid, noisy and dim inside the lighthouse. Climbing the 207 steps to the gallery is roughly equal to climbing a 12-story building. The stairs are narrow and groups going up will share the stairs with groups returning to the bottom.
Visitors with heart, respiratory, or other medical conditions -- or those who have trouble climbing stairs -- should probably not attempt the climb. Visitors who do not wish to climb can view the four outside "View from the Top" exhibits located near the lighthouse Keepers' Quarters, the panorama located in the Keepers' Quarters Museum, and the online panoramas on this website.
Children must be at least 44 inches tall to climb the lighthouse due to the often strong winds at the top that can knock children off their feet.
Climbers who are 12 years old or younger must be accompanied by someone 16 years of age or older.
To keep hands free for handrails, no person may be lifted or carried and food, drinks, and bulky personal items (e.g. backpacks, tripods) should be left outside the lighthouse.
Shoes are required; heels should be less than 1½ inches. Flip-flops are not recommended.
School Reservation Dates
Starting in February, school groups may make advanced reservations by contacting Karen Duggan at (252) 728-2250 ext. 3024.
School groups requesting an Academic Fee Waiver must make their reservations at least 6 weeks prior to the climb date. Groups not requesting an Academic Fee Wavier must make their reservations at least 4 weeks in advance.
School groups who do not qualify for the Academic Fee Waiver will not be required to pay for their tickets at the time of the reservation. However, the full ticket price must be paid at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled climb or the reservation will be forfeited.
A chaperone (18 years old or older) must climb with each group. Because climbing groups are limited to 10 people, there can be up to 9 children and 1 chaperone in each climbing group. All climbers must meet the safety guidelines listed above.
A teacher or chaperone must arrive at the Light Station Visitor Center at least 30 minutes prior to the first climb to pick up the tickets. Tickets will not be refunded for late arriving groups. Please make sure to allow enough lead time before your climb for the boat or ferry trip to the island. Arriving late may result in some students being unable to climb the lighthouse.
If your group is running late, please call the reservation number before your tickets are scheduled to be picked up. We will do our best (based on availability) to shift your climbs to allow as many students into the lighthouse as possible.
Did You Know?
Horseshoe crabs are estimated to have survived as a species for at least the last 300 million years. Cape Lookout National Seashore