Ranger Programs

Discovery Cart Program

Fall 2016

What happened to the first Cape Lookout lighthouse? How do the wild horses survive on a barrier island? What is a lightering port? Why do most sea turtles lay their nests at night? What was life like on the Outer Banks in wartime?

Discover the answers to these questions and many more during an interpretive talk or on a guided walking tour. Join a park ranger or volunteer for an insider's view of Cape Lookout National Seashore. All programs are free of charge.

Programs will run on schedule unless there is inclement weather. Additional programs may be offered. Check at one of the Visitor Centers or call (252) 728-2250 for a complete schedule and more information.

Location Dates Schedule
Harkers Island Visitor Center All Year Harkers Island Schedule
Lighthouse Area May - September Lighthouse Area Schedule
Beaufort/Shackleford Banks select dates Beaufort Visitor Information Center Schedule
Portsmouth Village June - September Portsmouth Village Schedule

For information on special event programs such as Junior Ranger Day, Horse Sense & Survival Guided Tours or the Evening at the Cape please visit the Special Events page.


Harkers Island

Daily Programs

Ribbon of Sand (film) (26 minutes or 16 minutes)
Through the imagery of this film, including spectacular aerial and underwater photography, you will travel through the Cape Lookout ecosystem from the sound side marshes and estuaries to the thin protective line of islands of the Outer Banks and the ocean depths beyond. Program is shown upon request at the Harkers Island Visitor Center. For your convenience this film is open captioned and audio described. Assistive listening devices are also available.


Cape Lookout Lighthouse Area

Programs are offered from May to September

Sand Beneath Our Feet -- (weekly, Tues - Sat through September 17, 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM, 20 minutes) -- Take a break from the sun on your trip to the beach and spend some time with a Park Ranger. From the ocean to the sound and from the sea to the sky, discover stories from all realms of life among the constantly shifting sands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Meet at the Light Station Pavilion.


Beaufort Visitor Information Center

Programs offered on select dates

* Naturalist Exploration of Shackleford Banks - Friday, August 26, September 2 & September 16 (9:30 AM - Noon, 2.5 hours) Join a Ranger for an exploration of dunes, marshes, mud flats, and the ocean on Shackleford Banks! Reservations required -- see below for details on making reservations. Meet at Gryaden Paul park on Front Street across from the park visitor center.

* Beach Birding with a Side of Horses - Sunday, August 28, September 4 & September 18. (9:30 AM -- Noon, 2.5 hours) Come for a walk on the wild-side with a Ranger to discover what birds are flying and where the horses are hiding on Shackleford Banks. Reservations required -- see below for details on making reservations. Meet at Grayden Paul park on Front Street across from the park visitor center.

* For Shackleford Banks Ranger-guided programs:

  • Bring water (at least 2 liters), snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, closed-toed shoes that can get wet and your binoculars and/or camera.
  • Reservations must be made for both the program and for the ferry from Beaufort to Shackleford.
    For the program: make your reservations by calling Cape Lookout National Seashore at (252) 728-2250 ext. 0.
    For the ferry: make your reservations for the 9:30 AM ferry from Beaufort to Shackleford Banks by visiting Island Express Ferry Service online or calling the ferry office at (252) 728-7433.

Portsmouth Village

Programs are offered June to September.

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Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

131 Charles St
Harkers Island, NC 28531


(252) 728-2250

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