7 Sensational Reasons to Celebrate Cape Lookout


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There is always a lot to celebrate when it comes to the incredibly stunning Cape Lookout National Seashore. A boat ride three miles off-shore brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout where you can delight in horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages—there really is something for everyone at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Want to explore more ways to celebrate the Cape? Here are 7 sensational ways to do it. Try one or try them all!

1. Join the party as Cape Lookout National Seashore turns 50 years old.

Well that in itself is reason to celebrate! She sure looks good for 50, doesn't she? We think so. There are ongoing special events and Cape Lookout 50th anniversary celebrations happening throughout the year, so see what they have in store. Hopefully, you can catch a few. If not, just being on Cape Lookout National Seashore is a celebration in and of itself. Make a point to be there this year and partake in the natural beauty this part of the coast of North Carolina offers.

2. Explore the 56 miles of remote Southern Outer Banks seashore only accessible by boat.

Exactly what does Cape Lookout have to offer you? A lot. It makes the perfect day trip from Emerald Isle. Take a fun ferry ride to the island or anchor your own boat off the shoreline. Immerse yourself in barrier island beauty and bask in it for as long as you please. It's one of the last undeveloped barrier island systems in the world! Don't forget to bring all of the supplies you'll need for the day with you, since this is a remote location without access to many of the services you're used to. Bring ample water, snacks and sunscreen for your excursion to this island paradise.

3. Climb the historic Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Yes, you can climb the Diamond Lady! The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is open for climbing from the second week in May to the third weekend in September. Self-guided tours of up to 10 people begin every 15 minutes during the hours of operation. Be aware that this is a strenuous 207-step climb comparable to a 12-story building and may not be suitable for everyone. Tickets are required and are available for sale at the park only (not online).

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4. Become a Junior Ranger.

Hey kids, this one's for you! Did you know that you could become a Junior Ranger at Cape Lookout National Seashore? You can. All you have to do is ask for a free Junior Ranger booklet at the Harkers Island Visitor Center or the Light Station Visitor Center and complete a few activities to earn your ranger status. Then bring your booklet back to a Visitor Center to receive an official Cape Lookout Junior Ranger badge and certificate. You should do it! You can learn more about becoming a Junior Ranger at Cape Lookout here.

5. Spend an evening at the Cape under a full moon.

Make it a special evening at Cape Lookout with a tour that takes you into the night and gives you a perspective like no other. The park offers this three-hour tour on select dates near the full moon during the months of May, June, July, August and September. Bring your own flashlight and experience the island and the lighthouse as the keepers did, in the dark of night. Hear stories of the light keepers, watch the sunset and moon and stars come out on the unlit beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Discover a different side to your favorite beach! You can learn more about the Evening at the Cape tour here.

6. Get in some great shelling.

Did you know that Cape Lookout is named one of the best shelling spots in North Carolina by beach combing connoisseurs? It sure is. You can find shells here year-round, but after an early-spring storm or during hurricane season are particularly good times for shelling. One hour before and one hour after low tide are prime shelling times. Read this to learn more about seashell hunting on Cape Lookout.

7. Experience the Centennial Celebration of the National Park Service (NPS).

Last but not least, celebrating the 100th birthday of the National Park Service is also a great way to celebrate one of its very own treasures. The centennial celebration of the NPS is actually on August 25th but it's a year-long party honoring some of nature's most beautiful places. See what you can do to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service at Cape Lookout National Seashore and start making your plans!


How do you plan to celebrate Cape Lookout National Seashore this year?