Climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Note: The Cape Lookout Ligthouse is closed for climbing this year. During a pre-season safety inspection in February 2021, engineers discovered serious concerns with some structural elements. Due to these concerns, the lighthouse will not be open this year. To address these issues and other needed repairs, Cape Lookout Lighthouse is scheduled to begin a major renovation beginning the fall/winter of 2021. We expect the renovation to take two years to complete.

When the lighthouse reopens in the year 2023 (exact date to be determined) -- the following information can help you plan for a visit to the lighthouse.
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is generally open for climbing from the third week in May to the third weekend in September. Self-guiding tours of up to 10 people* will begin every 15 minutes during the hours of operation.

Dates and Hours of Operation
During the Season
Season Dates First Climb Begins Last Climb Begins Ticket Window Hours
mid-May to mid-September

During the Season

The Lighthouse is Open for Climbing:
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

The Lighthouse is Closed for Climbing:
Monday & Tuesday

HOLIDAYS: Memorial Day -- Open for climbing on Monday Labor Day -- Open for climbing on Monday

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

The lighthouse may close at any time if conditions (i.e.: temperature/humidity, lightning, or high winds) are determined to be unsafe.

We will announce on our Twitter and on our Facebook when weather related closures occur or if lighthouse tickets are sold out for the day.

Tickets are required.

Ticket Prices
Regular Admission $10.00
(12 and under; at least 44 inches tall)
Senior Pass
(62 and over)
Access Pass
(visitors with permanent disabilities)

Please Note: ticket prices do not include the cost of ferry transportation. For more information on ferry services please contact the ferry company directly.

Tickets may be purchased from WEDNESDAY through SUNDAY at the Light Station Visitor Center during the hours of operation listed above. Tickets are sold on a first come / first served basis.

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.

* The safety limit of 10 people in the upper levels of the lighthouse was established by engineers after they examined the structure.

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.

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Safety Guidelines

Children must be at least 44 inches tall to climb the lighthouse.

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. 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.

Last updated: March 27, 2021

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131 Charles St
Harkers Island , NC 28531


252 728-2250

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