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Roanoke Island Things To Do & Manteo Things To Do

No matter what Roanoke Island things to do you choose during your stay here, one thing is certain, you’ll never be bored. Manteo's recreation is more varied than Wanchese recreation, which is pretty much all fishing centered.

Whether you crave relaxation or high-energy adventure, it’s all here. Roanoke Island things to do include sailing along the sound or taking a dolphin-sighting cruise. Go crabbing from a dock or fight a marlin on an off-shore charter fishing trip. Parasail high above water or take a bike ride along the island. Watch the sun set from the decks of a beautiful boat or zip through the sound on a Jet boat. Stroll along the Manteo boardwalk and enjoy the island’s quaint beauty or enjoy a modern movie in an old-fashioned theater. Join the local kids at the town-built skatepark or take the little ones to the waterfront playground. As you can see, Manteo recreation opportunities run the gamut!

And when you look beyond Manteo things to do to other Roanoke Island recreation possibilities, you’ll find air tours, fishing, backwater kayak tours, head boat excursions, yoga and Pilates classes, spas, scuba trips and more.

See our Attractions section for more about Manteo things to do and all the places to visit on the island, places like the North Carolina Aquarium, Roanoke Island Festival Park, The Elizabethan Gardens and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Roanoke Island offers numerous special events, festivals, programs, performing arts, summer camps, children’s programs and more all summer long. If you are here in the off season there are still lots of interesting events year round too. See our Annual Events.

Alligator River Canoe Tours

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Buffalo City Road boat launch, off U.S. Highway 64 (Dare County Mainland)
Manteo
(252) 216-9464

Don’t miss this chance to really get out in the wild! Take a guided canoe tour through the shady blackwater canals deep into the heart of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and learn about the fascinating history of the area along the way. Did you know that in the early 1900s Buffalo City was the largest town in the Outer Banks region? Now it's lost to everyone but the alligators, bears, birds and other native wildlife. Who knows what you will see? From June through August choose either a two-hour or three-hour tour. The two-hour tour is held on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Cost is $30/person or $20/children 12 and younger. The three-hour tour is held on Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m.-noon. Cost is $40/person or $25/children 12 and younger. Reservations and footwear are required. Hats, sunscreen, insect repellent and drinking water are recommended. The refuge provides the canoes, paddles, personal flotation devices and leaders, you provide the paddle power! Call for reservations and additional information.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Milltail Road, off U.S. Highway 64
Manteo
(252) 473-1131

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a 154,000-acre refuge on the mainland portion of Dare and Hyde counties. It was established in 1984 to preserve and protect a unique wetland habitat type, the pocosin, and its associated wildlife species. Pocosin is a Native American word meaning ‘‘swamp-on-a-hill’’ and is characterized by poorly drained soils high in organic material. The Refuge's diversity of habitat types includes high and low pocosin, bogs, fresh and brackish water marshes, hardwood swamps and Atlantic white cedar swamps. Plant species include pitcher plants and sun dews, low bush cranberries, bays, Atlantic white cedar, pond pine, gums, red maple and a wide variety of herbaceous and shrub species common to the East Coast.

The Refuge is one of the last remaining strongholds for black bear on the Eastern Seaboard, and it is the only place in the world where endangered red wolves exist in the wild. It is home to concentrations of ducks, geese and swans, and its wildlife diversity also includes wading birds, shorebirds, American woodcock, raptors, American alligators, white-tailed deer, raccoons, rabbits, quail, river otters, red-cockaded woodpeckers and neotropical migrant song birds.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has great paddling trails, a wildlife drive, two wildlife trails and all types of wildlife and habitat for you to explore. The staff offers several programs throughout the year, including Tram Tours, Canoe Tours, Red Wolf Howling Safaris and the Bear Necessities program about black bears.

The refuge is open year round during daylight hours.

To learn more about Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center. The center’s exhibits offer information about Alligator River and 10 other refuges in northeastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia. This Visitor Center is located on the north end of Roanoke Island, about a quarter-mile past the entrance to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. The staff that manages Alligator River Refuge also manages Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island; see our Hatteras site’s Recreation chapter for more information.

Crystal Dawn Head Boat

2000 Sailfish Drive
Docks at Pirate's Cove Marina
Nags Head
(252) 473-5577

Whether for head boat fishing or cruises, you will enjoy the 65-foot, big and comfortable Crystal Dawn. You will fish in the inlet or sound for a variety of fish such as flounder, croaker, spot, trout, sea mullet, sea bass and more, depending on the season and conditions. All bait, tackle and licenses are furnished. Cost for head boat fishing is $45 for adults and $35 for children 10 and younger. Roanoke Island Cruises are $20 adults and $15 for children 10 and younger. The vessel is available for private charters, bachelor, bachelorette, family functions and more. Small coolers are welcome.

Lost Colony

Waterside Theatre, 1409 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64)
Manteo
(252) 473-6000

More than 400 years ago, 117 men, women and children sailed from Plymouth, England, in an attempt to settle on Roanoke Island. They vanished just two years later. The only clue left behind was the word “CROATOAN” carved in a tree. <i>The Lost Colony</i> is their story. This outdoor drama is the Outer Banks' most long-standing attraction, celebrating its 77th season in 2014!

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, <i>The Lost Colony</i> is performed summer nights by a company of more than 100 actors, dancers, singers and technicians in the historic outdoor Waterside Theatre. Come see epic battles and Indian dances. Experience the sorrow and heartbreak of tragedy and loss. Witness the pageantry of the queen and her court, and celebrate the birth of Virginia Dare. There is music, laughter, romance and dance, and Outer Banks locals and visitors have loved it for 77 years.

An Outer Banks tradition and cultural treasure, <i>The Lost Colony</i> educates, enriches and entertains — don’t leave the Outer Banks until you see it.

The 2014 season runs from May 30 through August 22, Mondays at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Ticket Prices are $30 for adults, $28 for seniors (62 and older), $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Ask about the VIP package at $40 per person.  Kids get in free on Monday nights! Advance reservations are recommended. For tickets, call (252) 473-6000 or purchase online anytime at www.thelostcolony.org.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the Outer Banks means Family Fun Night at <i>The Lost Colony.</i> Character Dinners are offered prior to the performance on these evenings throughout the summer. Meet the cast before the show and have the kids’ photos taken with the actors. It’s a night of memories that will last a lifetime, and there’s no fighting traffic or rushing at the restaurant to get to the theater on time.

A trip to <i>The Lost Colony</i> also offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a restaurant on Roanoke Island. Roanoke Island restaurants are less crowded than the beach restaurants on summer nights.

Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks

Downtown Manteo Waterfront
Manteo
(252) 473-2007

Pirate costumes, face painting, a real pirate ship, messages in bottles, water cannons, stinky pirate enemies and sunken treasure — need we say more to convince you that this is the ultimate kid-pleasing adventure? Starting Memorial Day weekend, the <i>Sea Gypsy IV</i> sails seven days a week, six times a day: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Face painting and dress up begin 30 minutes prior to departure time, so get there early. Cost is $23/person, $12 for children age 2 and younger. On Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays take advantage of discounted rates of $18/person with $12 for children age 2 and younger. Reservations are strongly recommended.

 

Roanoke Island Festival Park Performance Series

1 Festival Park Road
Manteo
(252) 475-1506

Some of North Carolina’s best young talent performs at Roanoke Island Festival Park during the summer children’s shows. Performing arts departments from all campuses of the University of North Carolina system are invited to participate, and these performances promise great entertainment for people of all ages. Visit their website at www.roanokeisland.com for a complete listing or check the By Day and Nightlife listings at www.outerbanksthisweek.com.