|Top Tours (up 131 steps to an outside balcony) are currently available at no charge – reservation are REQUIRED and climbers MUST be at least 9 years old (see below for details). Open House Tours – just 12 steps up – NOT to the top. General no reservation public tours to the second level only for anyone 7 years of age or older are available ONLY during the summer months (Memorial Day through Labor Day). Second level tours are only on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The lighthouse grounds are open year round for viewing and picture taking with free parking provided at either of our two parking lots (small one at the base of the lighthouse and a larger lot 500 feet on the right) from sunrise until sunset. In addition, the Oak Island Lighthouse volunteer staff offers 2 types of inside tours:
- Open House Tours to the second level (12 steps up to a solid concrete floor) are ONLY offered during the summer months (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) on Wednesdays from 10 AM until 2PM and Saturdays from 10 AM until Noon. NO reservations are required. Visitors MUST be at least 7 years old to climb to the second level due to government lead based paint restrictions.
- Tours to the top (up 131 steps to an outside balcony) are offered year round in the mornings with up to 6 weeks advance notice during the summer months and around holidays. Top tours from May 1st through September 30th are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday with the first tour starting at 9:30 a.m. Top tours from October 1st through April 30th are only offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. depending on available space.
ALL of our tours are in the MORNINGS. No top tours are offered on the major holidays (New Year’s, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). All top tours depend on guide availability. We are an all-volunteer organization and require prior reservations in order to schedule guides for your tour. We will try and honor last minute requests into any tours that have already been scheduled and are below our maximum. All climbers MUST be at least 9 years of age and everyone MUST wear sneakers to climb. As many as ~20 people may be scheduled at the same time for your tour. More details follow.
All tours are currently free and minimal parking is right at the base of the lighthouse, with additional parking available in our larger lot 500 feet further down the road to the east (on the right and across from the entrance to the Coast Guard Station). No restroom facilities are available on site.
Tours to the Top – Climb to the Top (year-round by appointment only):
- Tours to the top of the tower (up 131 ships steps) to an outside balcony must be scheduled ahead of time with the following conditions:
- No top tours will be scheduled on major holidays. During the summer (May 1st through September 30th), top tours are only offered on Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays – all in the mornings. Tours during the off season (October through April) are offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays all in the mornings.
- Based on volunteer availability.
- REQUESTING a TOP TOUR – Request needs to be submitted by sending an email to us at (NO phone reservations are accepted) firstname.lastname@example.org and include:
- Your name
- Number of climbers
- Desired date (ONLY morning tours)
- Phone number where we can reach you in case we have problems with your email address
- Phone number where we can reach you the day of the climb.
- Weather permitting (we can not climb if there is lightning in the area or strong winds).
- Everyone climbing the tower is required to sign a waiver (responsible parties are required to sign for those under the age of 16).
- Climbers MUST be at least 9 years old.
- Sneakers or similar closed toe, rubber sole shoes are REQUIRED – NO sandals, Crocks or flip-flops.
- Climbers are required to have both hands free for climbing due to the steepness of our steps.
- Parking is limited so car pooling is encouraged.
- Complete tour usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
- There are no restroom facilities on site.
- Cameras/video recorders are encouraged but must be in a back/fanny-pack or fit in a pocket/on a belt (both hands must be free to climb).
- Still interested, request a free tour to the top (HERE).
- Please Note: For all tour requests, please include your telephone number so a member of our team can reach you in the case we have problems with your email. ALL scheduling is done online, NO telephone requests are accepted. Additionally, if you send us a top request and do not receive a response within 48 hours please resend the request.
Tours to the second level – view the inside of the lighthouse (only available during the summer season):
- Tours to the second level (up just 12 ships steps) are available only on Wednesdays 10 AM until 2 PM and on Saturdays from 10 AM until NOON starting Memorial Day and running through Labor day.
- Tours usually take about 10 minutes – one of our docents gives you a brief history of the lighthouse and then lets you take pictures and ask any questions you may have.
- No reservation are required or accepted for these tours. Just park in our lot and come up to visit us.
- Only children 7 years of age or older are allowed to climb the 12 steps – NO exceptions. Younger children are allowed inside the front doors and can look up the stairway but not climb due to government regulations concerning lead based paints.
- Any type of foot attire is acceptable for these tours including flip-flops, sandals, Crocks, etc.
- Cameras and/or video recorders are welcome.
- There are NO restroom facilities on site.