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 July 1 to September 5 include:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Crabbing With A Ranger (*July 1 – September 1)

Ever wanted to try your hand at catching Blue Crabs? Our park staff brings bring the gear, you bring the bait! Registration is required. Call (252) 564-4068 to pre-register beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

Dark Skies Over Hatteras (*July 1 – September 5)

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

History At The Weather Bureau Station

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

Ocracoke Banker Ponies

Come meet the ponies who once roamed as a wild herd and learn about living history on Ocracoke Island. 

Ocracoke Bird Walk

Join a ranger for an introduction to the birds of Ocracoke Island. Meet winged residents and those traveling the Atlantic Flyway. Binoculars are available.

Ocracoke Passenger Ferry Program 

Receive an overview of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Ocracoke Island from a ranger during your passenger ferry ride from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island. 

Shaping These Barrier Islands – Bodie Island (*July 1 – September 1)

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

Shaping These Barrier Islands – Hatteras Island (*July 1 – September 5)

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

Shaping These Barrier Islands – Ocracoke Island

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

Soundside Explorers (Program for kids)

Join a ranger for this activity-based exploration of the Pamlico Sound. Registration is required. Call (252) 475-9622 to pre-register beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

Surf Fish With A Ranger

Ever wanted to try your hand at surf fishing? Our park staff brings the poles, you bring the bait! Registration is required. Call (252) 475-9622 to pre-register beginning the Saturday prior to the program.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse  (*July 1 – September 1)

Join a ranger to discuss the details and history of this beautiful 150-year-old sentinel.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

 Join a ranger to discuss the details and history of this beautiful sentinel and learn about current restoration efforts.

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. 

Totally Turtles (*July 1 – September 2)

A program for the young and the young at heart: Learn about sea turtles through interactive games and activities for all ages.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (*July 1 – August 20)

Forgotten Colony – The Civil War on Roanoke Island

During the American Civil War, Roanoke Island became a haven for formerly enslaved people. Discover the successes and hardships 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. 

Monday – Sunday, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. 

The “Lost Colony” – Walking Tour

Delve into history and the mystery surrounding England’s first attempt to establish a colony in the new world. This is a 25-minute guided walking tour. Meet in front of the Visitor Center. 

Wright Brothers National Memorial 

Bicycle Tour 

Go for a ride like the Wright brothers! Bring your bike and helmet and take a trip back in time on this special program to discover what this place looked like when Wilbur and Orville were experimenting with the idea of flight. This easy, ranger-led bike ride will take you along park roads and explore the reasons why the Wright brothers chose this location, their experiments in flight and the building of the monument and visitor center. It is a first come, first served (15 person maximum) program.

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.

Wright Legacy 

Twelve seconds was all the Wright brothers needed on Dec. 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!