Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects part of North Carolina’s barrier islands. While one of the more famous attractions, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, draws many visitors, there are actually two other lighthouses in the park boundary--Bodie Lighthouse and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. Both of these are also well worth a visit if you enjoy lighthouses, though due to disrepair, neither of these lighthouses is open for climbing.

Visitors can also enjoy walking along the beach or trying to catch a glimpse of a piping plover or a sea turtle. Beach access may be limited in some areas for the protection of wildlife species like nesting birds and sea turtles.

— Alissa McMahon

Did You Know?

In order to save the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse from rising sea levels and shoreline erosion, in 1999 the lighthouse was moved just over half a mile inland!



The beaches and lighthouses that bring millions of visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore are in danger of disappearing. Due to global climate change, rising sea levels threaten to make Cape Hatteras National Seashore an underwater national park. You can learn more about this threat by reading NPCA’s report Unnatural Disaster.








April 7, 2015

Dear National Park Service, We are having a wonderful spring break vacation on Hatteras Island. The weather is gorgeous, and the fish are biting. Our plan today was to spend the day on Cape Point, our favorite place in the world, and one of the reasons why we bought a home on the island. Please help us to understand why we awoke to find that all access points leading to the point are closed as of this morning, but the point itself is open. How are we supposed to get there? Are you offering helicopter rides to drop us off at the point? Humans and wildlife have co-habitated for all of eternity. Why don't you add a piece on the ORV video that reiterates to beach drivers how to respect wildlife and look for signs that there are nests? Other than that, we should have the right and the luxury to drive on the beach at anytime. Especially when we just paid $150 on Sunday to have the "right" to drive on the beach. NPS, you are hurting tourism and the livelihood of people on the island. I am ready to stage a protest. Is anyone with me? Keep our beaches free and open on Hatteras Island! Liz Rollins


July 15, 2014

This is a National Refcreation Area,not a wildlife refuge! As one of those who drives my 4 wheel vehicle to access this remote area I resent that some people think we don't respect the beach and its wildlife, in fact we care more about it than those who have never been there. If Towndude wants to listen to birdsong there are hundreds of miles of beaches where no Off road vehicles are present for him to listen.(Don't know how you listen with the sound of waves breaking anyway) Is it right to deny thousands of other people to use the beach so a handful of people can look at a bird nest? I have been going to this part of the park for 50 years to Surf and enjoy the wildlife and ocean and now because of One special interest group with money and lawyers my right to even go to this beach is denied.This Park was created for the Citizens of this country to enjoy.It is a RECREATION AREA...NOT A WILDLIFE REFUGE! Non of us who drive out vehicles to get there are destroying Turtles Nests or Piping Plovers Nests! The Park Service has taken away from us what is OURS to enjoy in order to appease a small group of Extremists bird watchers(the Audubon Society) who think they have the right to expel the rest of us from Our Park.Oh, and don't forget the 5000 people who live here and have had there lively hoods destroyed due to the sharp decline in tourism.I guess they don't matter. Mark Walker, Member Surf Riders Foundation


October 7, 2013

i need to talk to a personel about the affect i do not think the shut down is bad.


October 1, 2013

Thanks TJ. You are right. Rigid Ideologues are destroying the chance for people to enjoy "OUR" National Seashore by refusing to discuss fair, and properly managed access for the people who want to spend 3 to 4 days every other year at the OBX enjoying what their tax dollars provide! Meanwhile, no meaningful commercial fishing reform legislation comes out, while increased regulations are placed on the recreational angler.


September 2, 2013

North Carolina has thoundsands of miles of seashore and they HAVE to shut down the points and places were over 90% of the visitors come to fish at the outer banks.... That is such a crock.... No wonder soooo many poeple are against this! Rather than compromise, they have to destroy what some people love...


June 14, 2013

This article is about saving wildlife habitat, not about killing predators. It's about preservation, not destruction. Those who enjoy bird song and other sounds of nature should not have to fear being run over by an ATV, or even have to hear one. Cape Hatteras is very special, and should be preserved.


June 13, 2013

Thank you for helping our Mother Earth.

mike wilkinson

June 13, 2013

Beautiful place, I was in the Navy 71 to 73, up in Norfolk, Virginia. Spent a lot of time on the Cape Hatteras peninsula, spent a couple nights up in that lighthouse to watch the sunrise.

b trent

June 13, 2013

please protect the parks


June 13, 2013

Have you ever watched other than on t.v. a baby turtle making it's dash to the sea. Nesting mama birds protecting their ground nests from predators. Well we could lose it all and t.v. will be the only way our children will ever see this wonder if the legislation to allow vehicles to roam at will over the now protected areas. Carnage - pure and simple.


June 13, 2013



June 13, 2013

Cape Hatteras National Seashore is critical habitat to marine birds and sea turtles whose futures lie on the shores of this critical area. Fox, mink, opossum and geese are a natural part of the mix and have not been killed off to protect the birds! Cats and dogs, however, have no place in environmentally sensitive areas and should not be allowed to roam freely and kill native wildlife. When are people going to understand that domestic animals are not a part of the natural order of wildlife and have to be kept in check to keep them from destroying the local wildlife everywhere. This is a real problem among people who believe that 'nature is nature' and consider cats and dogs a natural part of the equation, when, in fact, they are basically manmade by years of cross breeding to produce the multitude of breeds we see today. If every single cat and dog in America was allowed to roam freely and kill native wildlife at will, we would hardly have any "wildlife" left at all. Humans need to wake up and accept responsibility for their irresponsible actions. That's why conservation legislation is so important. You can't see the forest for the trees, Jah.


June 13, 2013

We only have one earth. So take care of it!


June 13, 2013

Could someone please respond to Jah's comment, above, to either confirm or disprove his statement. Thanks.


June 13, 2013

Never been there and probably never will, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't help to protect it.


March 4, 2012

Thank you for killing all of the foxes, minks, opossums and geese, not to mention the cats and dogs, just to protect a few bird nests. Conservation at its most brutal and finest!


November 10, 2011

Cape Hatteras is especially dear to my heart. Its one of the most beautiful lighthouses and parks I have ever seen. All the efforts that go into protecting the lighthouse from destruction during hurricanes is a tremendous effort and much appreciated. Once you see it, you will never forget the experience, its one of my favorite lifetime moments.


November 10, 2011

This area is special to me.I thank the NPCA for the time and effort to help protect the lighthouses and the nature that surrounds it especially the beach and those live or nest on it including the birds and se turtles.

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