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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbing Tours

What You Need to Know


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Photo © 2008 George Alexander, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Many visitors to the Outer Banks, sometimes more than 3000 per day, enjoy climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Equivalent to climbing a 12-story building, tackling the 248 iron spiral steps can be a daunting endeavor, especially for visitors with physical and medical limitations. The lighthouse is open for climbing from the third Friday in April through Columbus Day. The Visitor Center is open year-round.

Season and Hours
  • Climbing tours begin the third Friday in April and continue through Columbus Day.

  • Spring and fall climbing hours 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Summer climbing hours (the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day) 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

  • Weekly night climbing tours and monthly full moon tours are scheduled during the summer months

  • The Visitor Center on the grounds is open year-round, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. with extended summer hours until 6 p.m. Closed Christmas.
Climbing Tour Tickets

Ticket sales begin at 8:15 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m., extended to 5:30 p.m. during summer hours. Climbing tours begin at 9 a.m. and run every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per tour. Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse gate at least five minutes before to their ticketed tour time.
  • Adults - $8
  • Senior citizens age 62 or older - $4
  • Children age 11 and under, and at least 42" tall - $4
Safety Rules

The following National Park Service safety rules for climbing are in effect:
  • The lighthouse may close at any time if weather conditions are unsafe.
  • Children must be at least 42” tall and must be capable of climbing all steps on their own.
  • Children under the age of 12 years old must be escorted by an adult.
  • No person may be lifted or carried.
  • Running, jumping, or stomping on stairs and landings is prohibited.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking and chewing tobacco are prohibited.
  • No pets, other than service animals are allowed in the lighthouse.
  • Bare feet and heels over 1 1/2 inches high are prohibited.
  • Backpacks, tripods, coolers, beach bags, surfboards, fishing poles, umbrellas, etc. need to be left in your car.
  • Frisbees, boomerangs and other throwing equipment are prohibited.
  • Throwing of objects off the lighthouse is strictly prohibited and to quote the National Park Service "may get you in big trouble!"
Additional Information

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