Roanoke Island North Carolina Tourism - Historic Sites, Museums, Landmarks, Parks

Roanoke Island is  best known for the first English settlement in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh and named Fort Raleigh. The settlement failed. When ships from England returned, they found no trace of the settlement and it remains a mystery what happened to the settlers. The Lost Colony is an outdoor drama that tells the story of the first English Colony.

The Battle of Roanoke Island was fought during the Civil War in February 1862. The outcome of the battle was a Union victory. Union troops occupied the island for the remainder of the war. Slaves ran away from the mainland and sought freedom on the island. The Freedman Colony of Roanoke Island was established. The American Missionary Association set up schools to educate the newly freed slaves.

Because of the Island's historic past there are lots of historic sites here.

The island is eight miles long. US 64 cuts across the island to Nags Head. Croatan Sound separates the island from the mainland. Roanoke sound is to the east.

The Dare County Regional Airport is located in Manteo on Airport road.

You can experience the beauty of Roanoke Island best by hiking the trail that spans the length of the island. Or take a boat tour of the island. Kayak. Parasail. Sail. Cruise. Charter a boat to go fishing. See the island by airplane tour. Go birdwatching and wildlife viewing.

There are no major beaches located on Roanoke Island. The closest beach is Nags Head.

Roanoke Island's largest town is Manteo. It is the home of the actor Andy Griffith. Attractions in Manteo include historic sites and a waterfront.

Wanchese is the 2nd town on the island. It is located in the south and is a fishing village.

Roanoke Island offers art and culture. See art galleries, gardens, museums, gardens and historic exhibits. Attend concerts, ballets and plays. Go shopping and antiquing.

Living history exhibits, museums and gardens: Attractions

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  • Elizabethan Gardens is located at Fort Raleigh historic site. The gardens were designed to bloom all year round with a wide variety of flowering plants, trees and shrubs.
  • Fort Raleigh National Park located off US64 and US264 in the northern part of the island. This is the site of the first English settlement and fort. There is a visitor's center with information on the first English settlement and relics from the era.
  • North Carolina Aquarium located off US 64 on Airport Road, has fresh water and saltwater galleries. It features marine life and mammals from NC rivers, marshes, sounds and reefs. The main exhibit is an aquarium of the Graveyard of the Atlantic that contains a replica of the USS Monitor, live sharks and more marine life.
  • North Carolina Maritime Museum is located on the Manteo waterfront.
  • Outer Banks Visitors Bureau is located at Manteo.
  • Roanoke Adventure Museum has artifacts, relics and interactive exhibits. exhibits a Civil War Cannon. There is a civil war encampment, a Native American Village and a pirate ship here.
  • Roanoke Island Festival Park has the Elizabeth II ship which is a replica of the 16th century Elizabeth ship that sailed to the new colony. Interpretive guides are available.
  • Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse (replica) is located on the Manteo Waterfront.
  • World War II flight museum