Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the most iconic features of the Outer Banks and of North Carolina State. Reaching up 198 feet, it's the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, and it has been a warning beacon for ships since the early 1800s. Located near Cape Point Beach and Cape Point Campground, this famous lighthouse is an easy addition to a day of exploring the Buxton and Hatteras areas of the Outer Banks.

The original lighthouse was first lit in 1803, but at 90 feet it was too short to warn passing ships. It was increased to 150 feet in 1853, yet the construction of a new lighthouse was eventually deemed necessary, and the modern Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was complete in 1870. Although there were numerous construction projects on the lighthouse over the years, most notable was its relocation 2,900 feet inland in 1999. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse now lies 1,500 feet from the ocean.

Visitors can learn more about the history of the lighthouse at the visitor center or on-site museum. It can be climbed for a cost of $8.00, April though Columbus day. Lighthouse tours are self guided, though there are always rangers around to answer questions. Make sure to bring water and take your time during the warmer months, as the climb can be quite strenuous for some people. If you think you're up for it, the views from the top are definitely worth it!


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee


Great views. Cool history. Close to other activities.


Strenuous climb.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Sand Dunes
Family friendly


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.