Find Things to Do in Manteo NC on Roanoke Island with Our List of Activities and Attractions

Roanoke Island ~ A Historic Day Trip

For an excursion introducing your family to the more historic attractions on the Outer Banks, make a left to go over the causeway bridge onto Roanoke Island. This island featuring the town of Manteo and village of Wanchese offers plenty of family friendly activities, and is an enjoyable day trip for Hatteras Island vacationers. It is also one of the most enjoyable Outer Banks activities you are like to find! If you decide to go, there are quite a few “must-see” attractions just waiting to be discovered; read on for more information about the incredible Outer Banks activities in Manteo!

Manteo Day Trip SubsetShopping and Dining on the Waterfront:

The waterfront area of the town of Manteo provides a lovely backdrop while exploring the quaint shops and markets. This area of town is comprised of about 8 square blocks including more than a few historic buildings. The Pioneer Theater was once a hangout of Andy Griffith, a Manteo resident for most of his life. You can still see a movie at this historic theater for less than $10. The old county building is now home to the Dare County Arts Council offices and gallery and is worth a browse. There are a few wonderful restaurants including one that allows you to eat outside on a nice day next to the charming street clock. Take a leisurely stroll along the docks where you’ll encounter dozens of sailboats and water vessels moored creating a picturesque scene. Rent a kayak from a local shop and paddle over to the Elizabeth II replica ship moored across the water at Festival Park and through the winding canals. Manteo stays open late once a month for First Fridays with live music and other activities.

The North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo:

The theme of this aquarium, the "Waters of The Outer Banks," allows visitors to journey from coastal freshwaters to the deep Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy watching river otters play, American alligators lounge, and stingrays glide in the aquarium’s “touch tank.” Of course, one of the largest attractions, (literally), is the 285,000-gallon "Graveyard of the Atlantic" tank containing a one-third scale replica of the USS Monitor, and dozens of large marine residents, including a variety of sharks.

Roanoke Island Festival Park on Roanoke Island:

The Roanoke Island Festival Park on Roanoke Island offers some of the bst Outer Banks activities and attractions you'll find anywhere! Discover this interactive family attraction that celebrates the first English settlement in America. Located adjacent to Manteo, the 25-acre island park features plenty of waterfront strolling opportunities, and the Elizabeth II, a representation of one of the seven English ships from the Roanoke Voyage of 1585. Tour the ship, and be greeted by Costumed Elizabethan sailors who introduce visitors to sixteenth century seafaring life. The park's stag  is also host to many outdoor concerts and a summer performance series by the North Carolina School of the Arts.

The Elizabethan Gardens on Roanoke Island:

Located just north of Manteo and adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Historic Park, this 16th century pleasure garden was created by The Garden Club of North Carolina as a living memorial to the original Lost Colonists. A perfect attraction for spring and summer visitors, the Elizabethan Gardens feature a thatched gazebo, Shakespearean herb garden, flower bordered walkways, antique garden statuary, and formal sunken gardens.

Island Farm:

Manteo Day Trip MapThe Island Farm is a living history site circa 1847 exhibiting life as it was on an actual Roanoke Island farm. The site is home to nearly a dozen buildings including the Etheridge farmstead, a restored house including 19th century furnishings, some original to the house. Also on the site are an outhouse, cookhouse, slave cabin, smoke house, barns, woodshed, corn crib, blacksmith shop and a windmill. Historical reenactments put daily life on the farm into historical context. Kids will enjoy seeing the animals that live on the farm. The season runs from April through November. Visit their website for a schedule of special events.

While Hatteras Island visitors love the fact that the hustle and bustle of the Northern Outer Banks feels worlds away, an excursion to these attractions is just a short drive up the beach, and definitely well worth the trip. Contact us today to learn more about things to do in Hatteras (or nearby) or rent one of our incredible Hatteras Island vacation rentals today!