We dinghy over to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. It’s 207 steps and 163 feet up to the top. The climb takes us just over 5 minutes. Wind howls at 25 knots as we crawl through the hatch to get to the circular outer platform just below the beacon light. When wind reaches 32 knots, visitors can’t go to the top.


Wild horses on Shackleford Banks, a full stretch of the Atlantic and the South Core Banks are some of the amazing things we see from so high up.

At the visitor info center, Tristan and Bodin start to fill in their Junior Ranger books. They pick up trash, check off items on the scavenger hunt and interview a park ranger.


Then we walk along the historic trail of the abandoned US Coast Guard Station that was established in 1887 with Brad, Kelsey and Walter, the crew from Jasmine. The boys think the buildings are haunted. They see “monster meeting rooms” as we peek through boarded up windows. This last house was closed down in 1986. Now, only the lighthouse is actively maintained.


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