Opening date, celebration, restoration work announced for Cape Hatteras National Seashore lighthouses

Published 11:35 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

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Three historic lighthouses grace the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The Bodie Island Lighthouse, with its horizontal stripes, opens for climbing on Wednesday, April 26.

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This historic lighthouse is the only one of three that is open for climbing this year. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Climbing tickets go on sale at 7 a.m. and may only be purchased online on the same day of the intended climb.

The portal for purchasing is An account must be set up to make ticket purchases.

The ticket cost is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors (62 years old and up), children (11 years of age and younger), and disabled.

On the light station grounds, the keepers’ duplex has undergone two historic restorations. The building now serves as a ranger office and visitor center for the site and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The most recent restoration of the lighthouse was finished in 2012. It is still a functioning navigational aid.

Ocracoke Lighthouse Celebration

The 200th Anniversary Celebration of the Ocracoke Lighthouse is set for May 18, 2023 at 1 p.m.

The official event page ( reports several speeches, activities, a birthday cake and more highlight the celebration. The Seashore’s official philanthropic partner, Outer Banks Forever, plans to livestream the event for those who cannot attend.

Leading up to the official celebration are two special events at the Ocracoke Light Station:

April 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Ocracoke Community Center. Joseph Smith portrays Augustin Fresnel as he explains his method of developing effective lenses and how his invention has protected the waters of North Carolina’s Coast and Ocracoke Inlet. Smith’s presentation brings history to life! The program is courtesy of the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, which is hosting its Keeper’s Weekend, April 27 through April 30 on Ocracoke.

May 12, 7 p.m., Ocracoke Community Center. Author and historian Kevin Duffus presents “War Zone: When World War II was Fought of Ocracoke’s Beaches,” telling of the time when Ocracoke Island was on the front lines of the war. The program is presented by the Ocracoke Preservation Society.

In August 2022, a finding of no significant impact was issued for the Ocracoke Light Station Rehabilitation Project. The plan calls for raising the double keepers quarters four to five feet above ground level. Other outbuildings will be raised two feet, except for the lighthouse and oil house. Contracts for the work are expected to be awarded in September 2023.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

“The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is currently closed for climbing and will likely not open in 2023, due to restoration efforts; outdoor areas near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse are open 24/7,” states the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website.

The restoration is extensive. Some $18 million is set aside for the project. The Outer Banks Group of National Parks has received the 100% engineering drawings for the restoration work.

Dave Hallac, superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, called the project “one shot for a long time.” A new landscape will greet visitors.

Likely, when the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is reopened, a different climbing program will be in place in order to preserve the structure.