April 1, 2011

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is open for climbing April 15-Oct. 10

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be open for climbing from April 15 – Oct. 10.
The first day of climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for the 2011 season is Friday, April 15. Climbing hours will be 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily in the spring and fall; and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 27 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. The lighthouse will remain open through Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10.

Tickets are required.
Climbing tickets are $7 for adults and $3.50 for senior citizens (62 or older), children (12 and under, and at least 42 inches tall), and those holding a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Access Pass. Tickets are available on a first come/first served basis and can only be purchased in-person at the site the day of the climb. There are no advance ticket sales for climbing tours.
Ticket sales begin at 8:15 a.m. Climbing tours will begin at 9 a.m. and will run every 10 minutes with a limit of 30 visitors per tour. Ticket sales close at 4:30 p.m. in the spring and fall, and 5:30 p.m. May 27 through Labor Day. Ticket holders should arrive at the lighthouse gate five minutes prior to their ticketed tour time.
On Friday, April 15, the first day of climbing for the 2011 season, the National Park Service invites members of the local Outer Banks’communities to climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at no charge. On this day only, free tickets will be available on a first come/first served basis and can only be obtained in-person at the site the day of the climb. This fee-free day applied to park visitors as well.

The lighthouse may close at any time if weather conditions are unsafe.

The following safety rules apply:

  • Children must be at least 42 inches tall
  • Children must be capable of climbing all steps on their own
  • No person may be lifted or carried
  • Children under the age of 12 years old must be escorted by an adult.
  • Running, jumping, or stomping on stairs and landings is prohibited
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew tobacco
  • No pets, other than service animals
  • Do not arrive in bare feet or heels over 1 1/2 inches high
  • Umbrellas need to be left in your car
  • Backpacks, tripods, coolers, beach bags, surfboards, fishing poles, etc. also need to be left in your car
  • Frisbees, boomerangs and other throwing equipment are prohibited
Built in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. This current forces southbound ships into a dangerous 12-mile long sandbar called Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
In 1999, after years of study and debate, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was moved to its present location. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet in 23 days and now lies 1,500 feet from the shore-- its original distance from the sea.

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