Hatteras lighthouse 'magical' in moonlight

Few have seen North Carolina's most famous lighthouse like this: illuminated only by its own light and a full moon.

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HATTERAS, N.C. — At the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, there's a tiny, special slice of time.

The night sky stays clear, a full moon rises, and tourists can climb the lighthouse illuminated only by the 208-foot tower's beacon and moon beams.

"This place in the daytime is magical, but at night, it's even more magical," park ranger Kate Eccles said.

Eccles recently joined 30 lucky tourists on her first night climb.

Armed with flashlights, they began the slow ascent just before the full moon rose.

As the group climbed the lighthouse's 257 steps, rangers shared facts about the 114-year-old lighthouse – for example, its light flashes every 7½ seconds. Rangers urged the visitors to look at the ever-widening views out the windows.

Nearly 200 feet above the sand dunes, the beacon light came into view, and visitors stepped out from the lighthouse tower onto a metal viewing platform. They were treated to the sight of the moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean.

"It was awesome. Oh my gosh, it was really cool," Eccles gushed.

Eccles said the nighttime view from the Hatteras lighthouse is a perspective that daytime visitors just can't imagine.

"How spectacular the moon looks on the water. The light from the lighthouse – as it spins, it goes under the moon," she said. "It's gorgeous. It's beautiful."

Visitors will get a chance to go on moonlit tours of the Hatteras Lighthouse on June 26. There'll be two tours, limited to 30 people each, that evening. Tickets can be bought at the lighthouse ticket booth and go on sale June 24.

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