Special Use Permit - Weddings

If you are interested in holding your marriage ceremony at Cape Lookout National Seashore, the following information will be helpful in making your plans. A Special Use Permit is required to hold a wedding anywhere within Cape Lookout National Seashore. Until a Special Use Permit is approved and issued, the requested date and location cannot be guaranteed (permits do not guarantee exclusive use of the area). Follow the guidelines outlined below to ensure that your permit is in place in time for your special occasion.

Permit Application Procedure

Requests for a permit application may be made in person at the Harkers Island Visitor Center, via telephone, email or letter. The application form may be downloaded from the Special Use Permits webpage. A completed application and the non-refundable application fee are required before an application can be processed. Park contact information is:

Special Use Permits Phone: 252-838-8897
Cape Lookout National Seashore FAX: 252-728-2160
131 Charles Street Website: www.nps.gov/calo
Harkers Island, NC 28531 Email: calo_sup@nps.gov

The information on the application will be used by NPS staff to evaluate the impact of the proposed activity on park resources and visitors. Allow at least two weeks (10 business days) for processing. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 15 working days to process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than 30 days before the start of proposed activities. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

Applications will be returned to the applicant if submitted incomplete, cannot be approved as submitted, or are received without payment. This greatly extends the time required to process your permit.


Please indicate the specific location on the application. The Special Use Permit does not allow your ceremony to restrict other park visitors from your chosen location nor does it guarantee you a specific site.

The following areas are restricted for use (are generally not available):

  • Cape Lookout Lighthouse
  • Cape Lookout Visitor Centers
  • All docks
  • The main pavilion/shade shelter at the Cape Lookout Light Station Visitor Center

Cost Recovery

The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 16 U.S.C. 3a, 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, and 31 U.S.C. 9701. Charges established for a Special Park Use under this authority are intended to recover costs associated with managing that activity and not to generate revenue beyond actual cost.

Special Use Permit for:
Application Fee
Administrative Fee
49 persons or less
$50 $50 $100
50 persons or more
$50 $100 $150

Application Cost: Must be submitted at the time of the initial application. This is a non-refundable payment.

Administration Cost: Payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. This is a non-refundable payment.

Monitoring Cost: If the event requires NPS supervision for resource protection or the health or safety of visitors, the cost* will be estimated and payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. The scope and complexity of the permit activity will determine the level and type of supervision. The fee includes employee travel time to and from the event location.

*Generally a $50.00 per hour per monitor charge is the rate for monitoring.

Federal procedures (31 USC 7701) requires your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number on the back of all checks accepted for deposit. You must supply your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number in order for your check to be accepted and your application to be processed.



If your application is approved, a Special Use Permit will be prepared and mailed to you for signature. Upon receipt, please review, sign and return the permit to our office for the Superintendent's signature. After the Superintendent signs the permit, a copy of the permit will be forwarded to you. This should all be done well in advance of your chosen date. The approved, signed permit copy must be in your possession at the time of the event.

Terms & Conditions

To maintain park natural and cultural resources and quality visitor experiences in addition to the standard terms and conditions, the following conditions and requirements apply to Special Use Permits for weddings:

  1. Access to the area must be kept open to the public and weddings cannot interfere with normal visitor activity in any manner. The park will not exclude nor allow permittee to exclude other park visitors from the site during the wedding ceremony.
  2. Restroom and dock use cannot interfere with normal park visitation.
  3. Erecting of banners, signs, etc. is prohibited.
  4. The use of acoustical instruments and the use of a portable, battery operated sound system are acceptable as long as they meet the standards listed in 36 CFR 2.12(a)(1) and do not interfere with the use of the area by other individuals. No public address systems are allowed.
  5. Electrical power will not be furnished nor will generators be allowed.
  6. Throwing or scattering of rice, bird seed, flowers, confetti, streamers or other similar materials is prohibited. In addition, the release of balloons, animals including birds, butterflies or other living things is prohibited.
  7. Use of Drones: Per NPS Policy Memorandum 14-05, it is prohibited to launch, land, or operate unmanned aircraft (i.e.: drones) from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service. Additionally, commercial filming or photography through the use of unmanned aircraft (i.e.: drones) is prohibited.
  8. All vehicles (including motorcycles) for the wedding party must be parked in designated parking areas. Carpooling is recommended; parking may be limited in some areas. Handicapped parking restrictions will be enforced.
  9. Permittee will provide adequate first aid equipment to handle minor first aid needs.
  10. Permittee shall report any accidents involving personal injuries or property damage to the Superintendent, Cape Lookout National Seashore.
  11. The permittee and participants will not disturb, adversely effect, alter, damage or remove any natural/cultural resources, archeological or historic artifacts. Digging, scraping, chiseling or defacing natural features is prohibited.
  12. Permittee will be responsible for security and orderly behavior at the event.
  13. Permittee and guests must comply with all applicable federal, state, county and National Park Service regulations.
  14. Permittee will assume all responsibility for cleanup of the site after the ceremony. Please remove any chairs, discarded flowers, paper, trash or other items. The Bride/Groom vehicle may not be decorated with cans, paper, streamers or any other item that may be left behind in the park. The area will be left as it was prior to the event; no litter or abandoned equipment will remain.
  15. Any significant change in type and/or scope of event within National Seashore boundaries must be submitted to Superintendent for review prior to such changes.
  16. The permit must be in your possession during ceremony.
Other stipulations may be added depending on the specific nature of your request.

Last updated: March 4, 2020

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Mailing Address:

131 Charles St
Harkers Island , NC 28531


252 728-2250

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