Roanoke Island Attractions

Including Manteo Attractions

Explore Every Roanoke Island Attraction

World-class Roanoke Island attractions are what lure many people here. Many attractions celebrate Roanoke Island’s history as the site of the first attempted English colonization of America such as Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, The Elizabethan Gardens, The Lost Colony outdoor drama, the Elizabeth II sailing ship and the Roanoke Island Festival Park. There are other Roanoke Island attractions, too, that you will not want to miss like the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, musical events such as the Shallowbag Shag Beach Music Festival or the Mountain Music by the Sea bluegrass festival at the beautiful outdoor amphitheater, the North Carolina Maritime Museum and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. You can also step back to the mid-1800s at Island Farm or to a more simple time in Manteo's history by just walking or biking the streets and looking at the restored homes. With all these attractions and the many sites that capture Roanoke Island’s history, you’ll find that a day trip is never enough. In part due to these Roanoke Island attractions, more and more visitors are choosing this island as their vacation destination.

Roanoke Island Attractions by Location or Category

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Roanoke Island Attraction
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... read more

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a 154,000-acre refuge on the... read more

Elizabethan Gardens

Manteo Attraction
1411 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64) next to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo
(252) 473-3234

Designed by two of America’s foremost landscape architects to pay tribute to America’s first English colonists, The Elizabethan Gardens is a rare treasure and a beloved Outer Banks attraction. It’s a haven of verdant, flourishing growth and natural prosperity. The gardens are in bloom year round with azaleas, dogwoods, roses, camellias, daphne, a variety of annuals and herbs and much more. Adding exquisite touches are... read more

Designed by two of America’s foremost landscape architects to pay tribute to America’s first English... read more

First Fridays in Manteo

Manteo Attraction
Downtown Manteo, Manteo

First Friday is a family-oriented festival held in downtown Manteo on the first Friday of every month from April through December. From 6 to 8 p.m. downtown Manteo’s sidewalks come alive with a wide variety of musical performances and festive activities for all ages. Individual shops and restaurants frequently do their own celebratory activity such as live music, special sales, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. Dare County... read more

First Friday is a family-oriented festival held in downtown Manteo on the first Friday of... read more

Island Farm

Manteo Attraction
1140 N. US Highway 64, Manteo
(252) 473-6500

A living history site, Island Farm interprets daily life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s. Visitors feel as if they’ve stepped back more than 150 years as they explore the farm and see interpreters dressed in period attire carrying out the daily activities of the time — tending animals, blacksmithing, hoeing corn, doing laundry, making corn cakes. Hands-on activities and demonstrations may include woodworking, textile... read more

A living history site, Island Farm interprets daily life on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800s.... read more

Lost Colony

Manteo Attraction
1409 National Park Drive (off U.S. Highway 64), Waterside Theatre, Manteo
(252) 473-2127

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. The Lost Colony is their story. This outdoor drama is the longest-standing Outer Banks attraction, celebrating its 80th season in 2017!

Written by Pulitzer... read more

More than 400 years ago, 117 men, women and children sailed from Plymouth, England, in... read more

Manteo

Manteo Attraction
(252) 473-2133

Manteo, the only incorporated town on Roanoke Island and the Dare County seat, is a small island town complete with a picturesque waterfront, a safe harbor, welcoming docks and a charming downtown historic area. 

Manteo’s waterfront downtown is an attraction in itself, with shops, art galleries, eateries, a lighthouse, a maritime museum, a waterfront boardwalk, a park and children's playground and boats sitting in the... read more

Manteo, the only incorporated town on Roanoke Island and the Dare County seat, is a... read more

Manteo Preservation Trust's Holiday Tour of Homes

Manteo Attraction

Manteo Preservation Trust is a group dedicated to bringing awareness to the public of the cultural, architectural and historic heritage of Roanoke Island. Every year, its central fundraiser is the Holiday Tour of Homes, during which homes and other structures on the island are beautifully decorated and open to tour. The tour route is usually easily walkable, and a local bike shops also donates bikes... read more

Manteo Preservation Trust is a group dedicated to bringing awareness to the public of the... read more

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Manteo Attraction
374 Airport Road, Manteo
(252) 475-2300
(800) 832-3474 x4

The North Carolina Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks, and it got a fantastic renovation that was completed in the summer of 2016. Yes, it's perfect for a rainy day, but you will also appreciate the cool, quiet environment when you've had enough of the sun. Just stepping into the aquarium’s lobby is like diving into the ocean’s depths.... read more

The North Carolina Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions on the Outer Banks,... read more

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Manteo Attraction
1 Festival Park, Across from the Manteo Waterfront, Manteo
(252) 475-1500

Did you know that the first Roanoke Island settlements predate the Jamestown settlement of 1607? The Roanoke Island settlements took place 20 years earlier, between 1585 and 1587. Though the Roanoke Island colonies didn’t prove successful as far as longevity, they were the foundations of English-speaking life in America and provided much-needed information about the New World that helped the later colonies succeed. Roanoke Island... read more

Did you know that the first Roanoke Island settlements predate the Jamestown settlement of 1607?... read more