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Contact: Wouter Ketel, (252) 728-2250 ext. 3005
HARKERS ISLAND, NC – The islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore have many stories. Come explore the beauty and history of your local national park. All programs are free of charge unless noted otherwise below. For more information on these activities, call the National Park Service at 252-728-2250, extension 3001.
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse area offers several activities. The Lighthouse area is accessed via boat. Several ferries offer transport (see website).
- Lighting the Way (15 minutes) 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily
Lighthouse Keepers played a very important role in protecting the coast. Come learn what life was like for them and what they had to do to keep the Cape Lookout Lighthouse light burning. Meet on the porch of the Keepers’ Quarters Museum, by the lighthouse.
- Ribbon of Sand (film) (16 minutes)
Travel through the Cape Lookout ecosystem from the sound side marshes and estuaries to the protective line of islands of the Outer Banks and the ocean depths beyond. For your convenience, this film is open-captioned. Shown in the Keepers’ Quarters Museum upon request.
- Climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse - Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Walk in the footsteps of the lighthouse keepers as they climbed the 207 steps to the gallery each day to tend the light.
Tickets are required and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are sold at the Light Station Visitor Center ticket window (9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Wed - Sat). Price: $8 for adults, $4 for seniors 62 and older, adults with permanent disabilities and children 12 and younger. Children must be 44 inches tall to climb.
The Harkers Island Visitor Center offers several activities. The Visitor Center is located at 131 Charles Street, Harkers Island, North Carolina 28531, and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Ribbon of Sand (film) (26 minutes)
Travel through the Cape Lookout ecosystem from the sound side marshes and estuaries to the protective line of islands of the Outer Banks and the ocean depths beyond. The film is shown upon request. For your convenience, this film is open-captioned, audio described, and assistive listening devices are available.
- Sound-Side Nature Trail – 4/5 mile self-guided nature trail
This loop trail winds along the eastern shore of Harkers Island through maritime forest and saltmarsh and features a boardwalk and observation deck overlooking Core Sound. You can stand on the edge of land and sea and imagine the forces that shape Harkers Island and her people.
- Willow Pond Nature Trail – 1/3 mile self-guided nature trail
The loop trail winds around a restored freshwater pond with gorgeous views of wetland habitats and maritime hardwoods. The trail guide is available at the Core Sound Museum; the trail starts behind the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center.
- Junior Rangers and Junior Ranger Adventures -- A fun way to explore the park is to become a Junior Ranger.
The Junior Ranger program is designed for ages 5 to 13 but everyone is welcome to participate. To become a Junior Ranger, pick up a free booklet at the visitor center on Harkers Island, at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, the Great Island Cabins or the Long Point Cabins. There are six different booklets and awards in the Junior Ranger and Junior Ranger Adventures programs: collect them all! You can also earn a Junior Ranger Patch by completing a booklet, watching the park movie and attending a ranger or volunteer guided program. Be sure to have them sign your patch program sheet!
Locations: Available at the Harkers Island Visitor Center, the Light Station Visitor Center, Great Island Cabin Fee Office, Long Point Cabin Fee Office and at Portsmouth Village when visitor centers are open.