Cape Lookout National Seashore has six Visitor Centers, Visitor Information Centers, or Cabin Offices throughout the park to assist you. Whether you need first aid, a Passport to Your National Parks stamp, a Junior Ranger booklet, or more information about the seashore, we are here to help. The Harkers Island Visitor Center is open year-round; all other facilities are seasonal.
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is part of a larger complex of buildings known as a "light station." The light station is made up of not only the lighthouse tower, but also quarters (housing) for the keepers and other needed buildings. The current lighthouse, the second lighthouse built near Cape Lookout, has stood in this spot for over 150 years. The light station area is accessible all year. The lighthouse itself is open for self-guiding tours seasonally.
Also open seasonally, the Keepers' Quarters Museum holds exhibits on the U.S. Lighthouse and U.S. Life-Saving Services, lives of the keepers, and the history of the Cape Lookout light on the ground floor. The second floor is closed to visitors. Check at the Light Station Visitor Center for a list of programs being held at the Keepers' Quarters Museum.
Cape Lookout Village Historic District
This village is about two miles south of the Cape Lookout lighthouse and contains the Lookout US Life-Saving Station, a US Coast Guard Station, and several island homes.
Portsmouth Village Historic District
Established as a lightering port (to move cargo from heavier seagoing ships to lighter boats moving inland), Portsmouth stands today as a window into life on barrier islands in the 19th century.
North Core Banks
Portsmouth Village, the northernmost point of the park, is on this southeast facing island. North Core Banks also contains the Long Point cabins. It is separated from Ocracoke, part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, on the north end by the Ocracoke Inlet.
South Core Banks
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse, Cape Lookout Historic Village, and Great Island cabins are all located on this southeast facing island. This island is separated from Shackleford by Barden Inlet and from North Core Banks by Ophelia Inlet.
This southernmost island in the park is approximately 9 miles long and contains the largest maritime forest in the park. Its wide southwestern shore is left exposed to the threat of southwest storms.