Explore Our Outer Banks National Parks

Want to dive deeper into the history and biodiversity of our amazing Outer Banks national parks? As a visitor to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial, you can enrich your visit by attending our parks’ ranger programs!

Ranger programs are a great way to learn about what makes our parks special, whether it’s learning how people of the past lived, discovering geologic processes at work, or seeing things you wouldn’t have found on your own. These programs include talks, guided walks, and hands-on activities. Programs are offered throughout the summer and early fall at a variety of locations throughout our parks.

Take a guided walk with a ranger at Fort Raleigh to explore the mystery of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke. Fly a kite and test the Kitty Hawk winds like Wilbur and Orville at Wright Brothers. Discover the creatures onshore and offshore that call Cape Hatteras home. Hear stories about the Banker ponies and pirates of Ocracoke Island.

Ranger programs are open to visitors of all ages. No matter your interests, ranger programs offer something for everyone. Please note: Ranger programs are subject to change due to weather and staffing.

Ranger programs currently offered at our Outer Banks national parks from September 6 to October 10 include:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Hammock Hills Nature Walk 

Join a ranger for a ¾ mile guided walk along the Hammock Hills trail and explore a diverse maritime forest ecosystem on Ocracoke Island. (60 minutes) Meet at the Hammock Hills trail located across the street from the Ocracoke Campground.

The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

Meet a ranger at the Ocracoke Lighthouse and learn about this amazing, almost 200-year old lighthouse and it’s important role on the island. 

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse 

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – lighting the way for over 150 years. Discuss the details and history of this beautiful sentinel and learn about current restoration efforts.

Totally Turtles

Learn about sea turtles through interactive games and activities for all ages.

Shaping These Barrier Islands – Hatteras Island

Wars, hurricanes, winds, and ocean currents have all had impacts on the shores of Cape Hatteras. Join us to learn about some of these events and the changes they have made to these islands.

Shaping These Barrier Islands – Ocracoke Island 

Wars, hurricanes, winds, and ocean currents have all had impacts on the shores of Cape Hatteras. Join us to learn about some of these events and the changes they have made to these islands. 

Dark Skies Over Hatteras 

Bring blankets and chairs for this evening of stars and stories on the beach.

Surf Fish With A Ranger 

Ever wanted to try your hand at surf fishing? Rangers bring the poles, you bring the bait! Registration is required. Call (252) 475-9622 to pre-register beginning at 9 a.m. (EST) the Saturday prior to the program.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse 

Lighting the way for 150 years!  Join a ranger to explore the details and history of this beautiful sentinel. 

Crabbing With A Ranger

Ever wanted to try your hand at catching Blue Crabs? Park rangers bring the gear, you bring the bait! Registration is required. Call (252) 564-4068 to pre-register beginning at 9 a.m. (EST) the Saturday prior to the program.

Old Days At The Weather Bureau Station

Come explore the historic US Weather Bureau Station and hear amazing stories that intertwine with our own lives and major historic events.

Kayak With A Ranger

Join a ranger to explore salt marshes and surrounding waters of the Pamlico Sound on this easy kayak paddle. Minimum age is 7. All equipment is provided. Registration is required. Call (252) 475-9622 to pre-register beginning at 9 a.m. (EST) the Saturday prior to the program.

Ocracoke Banker Ponies 

Come meet the ponies who once roamed as a wild herd and learn about their living history on Ocracoke Island. Meet outside at the Pony Pen – 8 miles from the Visitor Center along NC 12.

Ocracoke Bird Walk 

An introduction to the birds of Ocracoke. Meet winged residents and those traveling the Atlantic Flyway. Binoculars are available. Meet outside at the beach access parking lot adjacent to the NPS Ocracoke Campground.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The “Lost Colony” Walking Tour

Delve into the history and mystery surrounding England’s first attempt to establish a colony in the new world.   This easy walk follows paved sidewalks and is .25 miles in length. This program is wheelchair accessible. 

The Forgotten Colony – The Civil War on Roanoke 

During the American Civil War, Roanoke Island became a haven for formerly enslaved people. Discover the successes and struggles of the Freedmen’s Colony and the Civil War battle that shaped it. This is a 20-minute program. Meet in front of the Visitor Center. 

Wright Brothers National Memorial 

Wind and Sand 

Step back in history during this short walk to the actual site of the Wrights’ first powered flights. Discover why the Wrights chose Kitty Hawk for their flight experiments and what life was like in the Outer Banks, learn about the events that led to the first powered flight on that cold December day, and the lasting impact their first flight continues to have on the world today. This program is wheelchair accessible. 

The Wright Legacy 

Twelve seconds was all the Wright brothers needed on December 17, 1903 to show the world humans can fly. Those twelve seconds were just the start of aviation history and the Wright legacy. Explore the rest of the Wright story as you discover the impact that Wilbur and Orville had on history, the legacy they left behind, and how they are remembered in the world today.

To stay up to date with programs and events that are happening during your visit, check out our parks’ full online calendars below:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore: www.nps.gov/caha

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site: www.nps.gov/fora

Wright Brothers National Memorial: www.nps.gov/wrbr

Our Outer Banks national parks publish In The Parks each year to keep you up-to-date with stories, event happenings, and the latest developments at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial. 

In the 2022 edition, you’ll read about the 150th anniversary of the Bodie Island Lighthouse, recent archaeological discoveries at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Big Kill Devil Hill’s “new look,” park safety tips, and much more. Click the image below to download your free copy of In The Parks. Happy reading!