Best known for its towering lighthouse covered in black and white diamonds, Cape Lookout National Seashore is a 56-mile stretch of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, spanning from Ocracoke Inlet to Beaufort Inlet. The three pristine
barrier islands that make up the national seashore – North Core Banks, South Core Banks and Shackleford Banks – are only accessible by private boat or ferry, adding to the allure of this remote wilderness.
This spring and summer, visitors will have the chance to traverse the lighthouse during evening hours. The opportunity will be offered on select days around full moons. Scheduled dates include June 16-18, July 21-23, Aug. 18-20 and Sept. 16-17.
The cost is $28, which includes ferry transportation to and from the island. Reservations are being taken now by calling 252-725-9373. Ferries depart Harkers Island at 7:30pm and return about 10pm.
Guests must bring their own flashlight to experience the lighthouse as the keepers did, in the dark of night. Children must be at least 44 inches tall and those 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Closed toed shoes are also required. Rangers will be on hand to share stories of the light keepers.
Can’t make it for an evening climb? Visitors will have plenty of chances to climb the lighthouse during the day this summer. Cape Lookout Lighthouse will be open for climbing be Tuesday through Saturday, 9:45am to 4:15pm, through Saturday, Sept. 17. Ticket sales are from 9:30am to 4pm and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis only on the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales.
Visitors should prepare for their visit by bringing sun screen, bug spray, water and snacks, and plan to pack out any trash as the park is a trash-free zone. Also, check local weather ahead of time and dress accordingly. Climbing the lighthouse can be strenuous, as the climb is the equivalent to climbing a 10-story building. For more information, check the park website at www.nps.gov/calo.