Cape Lookout National Seashore | CAPE LOOKOUT LIGHTHOUSE COMPLEX

View of Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet, Cape Lookout National Seashore

View of Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Barden Inlet, Cape Lookout National Seashore

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse complex is located at the southern end of South Core Banks and includes the Light Station Visitor Center, Keeper’s Quarters Museum, and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  See the following web pages for complete details on each.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Light Station Visitor Center

Keepers’ Quarters Museum

For those who are coming on foot and just for the day, Island Express Ferry Service operates a passenger ferry to Cape Lookout from Harkers Island that lands at a dock near the lighthouse. The trip takes about 20 minutes. You can get tickets online, over the phone, or in person at the Harkers Island Visitor Center. Advanced reservations are recommended whenever possible, especially on summer holiday weekends. Island Express Ferry Service also runs a ferry from the town of Beaufort, but it is a much longer ride and you only get two hours on the island before having to return (one trip each day). It is best to catch the Harkers Island ferry, using the Beaufort ferry only if tickets are sold out. By the way, you don’t have to visit the lighthouse just because you take the ferry. You will be dropped off at the dock next to the complex, but you can go to beach, do some shelling, or whatever suits your fancy. Also, the ferry ticket does not include the lighthouse climbing fee.

Those with 4-Wheel Drive vehicles who took the ferry over from Davis, North Carolina, can drive south from the dock (different one from the Island Express Ferry) to the Lighthouse complex area. Signs point the way. You will pass a long term parking lot and then come to another parking lot for short term parking. This is where you park for the lighthouse—you cannot drive right up to it. The Light Station Visitor Center is a short walk from the parking lot down a boardwalk.

Parking area for lighthouse visitors near the Light Station Visitor Center on South Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore

Parking area for lighthouse visitors near the Light Station Visitor Center on South Core Banks, Cape Lookout National Seashore

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Last updated on March 17, 2024
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