Roanoke Island

Make a Day of It!

Spend a Day on Roanoke Island--There's so much to see and do. From unique shopping and fine  restaurants, to historic sites and the scenic waterfront, your Outer Banks vacation would not be complete without a trip to Roanoke Island. Don't miss these top 10 attractions!


(1) The Elizabethan Gardens Elizabethan Gardens Roanoke Island

The Elizabethan Gardens pay tribute to the royal gardens that were kept to entertain Queen Elizabeth I.  Stroll the grounds and enjoy a collection of Renaissance statues and Elizabethan-style buildings adorned by an ever changing palette of year round color from hydrangeas to native plants, perennials and camellias. The Elizabethan Gardens is a natural wedding destination location and features sights and smells to delight the entire family. Don't forget your camera! The Gardens are open daily with a paid admission but one admission is complimentary each and every day of your vacation with Atlantic Realty's Fun 'N Sun Program


(2) The Lost Colony Lost Colony Outer Banks

Celebrating over 75 Seasons! The Lost Colony is the  the world's longest running outdoor drama. Telling the story of the 117 men, women and children who sailed from Plymouth, England in an attempt to settle on Roanoke Island, the Lost Colony has been entertaining visitors since 1937!  See epic battles, Indian dances, music, laughter, romance and drama as you watch the story of these colonists (and their mysterious disappearance) unfold. 

The Lost Colony production is performed nightly during the summer.   


(3) Fort Raleigh National Historic SiteFort Raleigh Historic Site

 Located adjacent to the Elizabethan Gardens and Waterside Theater, the Fort Raleigh Historic Site preserves the location of the first known colonists to settle on Roanoke Island over 425 years ago.  Several nature trails, a newly renovated visitor's center and numerous exhibits tell the story of the Island's first inhabitants. 



(4) Downtown Manteo Waterfront Manteo Waterfront

 The Manteo Waterfront features boutique shops, fine restaurants and galleries full of art made by local craftsman.  Stroll along the boardwalk and watch the boats come in and out of Shallowbag Bay.  Relax in the waterfront gazebo and take in the panoramic views.  A children's playground and picnic area is available and The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a fantastic spot for family photos. 


(5) Roanoke Island Festival Park Elizabeth II Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island Festival Park is located on Iceplant Island just across from the Manteo Waterfront and features activities and education for the whole family.  Board the Elizabeth II and feel what it was like to live and work on a 16th century sailing ship.  Explore the Indian Town and English Settlements and see how natives and colonists lived over 400 years ago.  In the museum, follow the history of the Outer Banks from the very beginning until today.  A kids favorite, hear pirate lore, interact with the exhibits and look for shark's teeth in the outdoor space.  Plan on spending several hours here to get the whole experience!


(6) Alligator River Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Red Wolf Refuge Roanoke Island

A brand new visitor center has just been completed and will welcome and inform visitors about the 154,000 acres of the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge.  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 still 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 migrants.  Not only is it home to animals, but the refuge features diverse plantlife including 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.  Explore the hiking and driving trails or take part in a canoe or tram tour. 


(7) North Carolina Aquarium

A children's favorite, the Aquarium on Roanoke Island features touch tanks, shark feeding demonstrations, educational films and interactive exhibits that will keep the kids entertained for hours.  Explore how a hurricane affects the area and see vintage photos of some of the storms that have impacted the Outer Banks.  Visit the popular otter tank and see these playful creatures in their habitat.  Learn about the marshes and the animals that inhabit them, and much, much more!


(8) Island Farm Island Farm Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island's newest attraction, Island Farm portrays life on a real working farm on Roanoke Island in the 1800s.   Explore island life as it was more then 150 years ago. Join interpreters dressed in period attire as they carry out the daily activities of a Roanoke Island farm in the 1850s. Stroll along the pasture fences and visit with the farm animals, listen to the ringing of the blacksmith’s hammer, help a farmer hoe his corn or carry water to the garden. In the cookhouse, hear the sizzle of salted ham in the skillet or help the cook make corn cakes. See laundry being washed in a steaming iron pot over a hardwood fire and lend a hand if you like, or just relax under the shade of a tall pecan tree and watch coastal history come to life before your eyes.

(9) Outer Banks Visitor's Center

This is the headquarters of the Outer Banks Visitor's Bureau and contains all the information you would need to learn about all the Outer Banks has to offer!  Stop in to get directions, brochures, and information on all of the local historic attractions, tours and more! 


(10) Wanchese Fishing VillageOuter Banks Fishing Boat

Visit the quaint village of Wanchese and watch fresh fish and seafood being packed and shipped around the world.  Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park, the only one of its kind in the nation, is home port to Dare County commercial fishing vessels, several boatbuilding and repair shops, a marina, and other marine-related businesses. In the market for a yacht? You can find one there, or have one custom built. Just want to buy some fresh seafood for dinner? You can do that too. You can also charter a fishing boat or join a dolphin-watching tour.


Fun N Sun Pass

Fun N Sun Pass

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H2OBX Waterpark

H2OBX Waterpark

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Explore the Shore

Explore the Shore

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