Outer Banks Attractions

Outer Banks Attractions: Nature and HistoryOuter Banks Wild Horses

Nature envelops every aspect of an Outer Banks visit, and many of the Outer Banks attractions that locals and visitors most visit are associated with the natural world and the extraordinary history that has happened on these islands.

Each town has its own offerings. Corolla, despite the fact that it's the newest developed vacation area here, is resplendent with history -- the stately Currituck Beach Lighthouse, an historic mansion built in the 1920s, a restored life-saving station and a village center made up of original buildings that have been repurposed as shops, a school, a spa/salon and more. Of course, other Corolla Attractions focus on nature: a wildlife center, town garden, nature trails and the beloved Corolla wild horses. Farther south, a monument to the first powered flight rises toward the sky the Wright brothers longed to take to (see Nags Head Attractions), while a giant sand dune and lush maritime forest provide places to explore.

Roanoke Island is Home to Many Outer Banks Attractions

Some of the most popular Outer Banks attractions are found in Manteo. Outdoor theater performances of The Lost Colony enchant patrons with the story of the first attempt of colonization in the New World, and the Elizabethan Gardens pay tribute to these colonists. Other Roanoke Island attractions give you a glimpse of life on a mid-1800s farm (Island Farm), of screw-pile lighthouses, of Native Americans who lived Outer Banks Hatteras Lighthousehere long before the attempts of English colonization and of a Freedman's Colony that was formed toward the end of the Civil War. The NC Aquarium brings the sea and her creatures up close, and the Roanoke Island Festival Park helps you get up close to Outer Banks history with an interactive museum, the representative ship Elizabeth II, period actors who display the behavior and everyday actions of colonists from the 1500s as they interact with visitors, a Native American village and an outdoor pavilion that hosts musical events. 

Hatteras and Ocracoke Attractions Show a Wild Side

Ponies (look at Ocracoke Attractions), bears, wolves and alligators bring a wild side to Outer Banks attractions. And birding in the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge draws visitors from across the country -- see Hatteras Attractions. Then, add to this the fact that you're on islands surrounded by sounds full of dolphin and fish and miles of undeveloped seashore bordering Mother Ocean, and you have a vast bounty of Outer Banks attractions to enliven your experience here.

You’re likely to need more than one visit to take in all that the extraordinary Outer Banks attractions have to offer. Enjoy!

 

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. This wild Outer Banks attraction will put you in touch with parts of nature that city-bound people don't often have a chance to experience.

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge has great Outer Banks things to do -- 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 Things to Do section for more information.

Avon

South of the Tri-Villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo, past a sizeable stretch of undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Avon is considered the largest and busiest of the Hatteras Island towns (but remember that’s relative to Hatteras Island, not where you come from). Avon has the only two stoplights on the island and the only chain grocery store. It also has a wealth of accommodations, shops, restaurants, watersports outfitters and a well-loved fishing pier over the ocean. If you’re here to kiteboard, paddleboard or windsurf, Avon can hook you up. South of Avon is one of the island’s most popular kiteboarding and windsurfing spots; it’s known as The Haulover or Canadian Hole.

Back Beach Wild Horse Tours

1159-H Austin Street, Corolla
(252) 453-6141

Bob White is a legend among the horse-sighting enthusiasts, and his trained staff has been offering tours since 1996 with a great reputation for being entertaining and informative. Bob’s tours last two hours and incorporate quite a bit of local history to complement the sightseeing. Your guide will take you on a tour past Whalehead, the Corolla Lighthouse and Corolla Village, showering you with some interesting lore. Then it’s up to the four-wheel-drive area where you’ll see the Corolla wild horses grazing in their natural habitat. Bob’s tours are given in safari style, open-air vehicles — for a one of a kind Outer Banks activity! They can accommodate large groups up to 14 people. Call for details and reservations. All tours have a money back guarantee if you don’t see the horses (restrictions apply).

Back Country Wild Horse Safari

107-C Corolla Light Town Center, Corolla
(252) 453-0877

Scott Trabue’s Wild Horse Safari is an off-road eco-adventure that will deliver you and your family directly to the wild Spanish Mustangs that have thrived on the northern Outer Banks for nearly 500 years. Your naturalist guide will carry you in custom open-air Safari Cruisers through 30 miles of beaches, dune and back country sand lanes to discover the Outer Banks’ unique wildlife. Shore life including pelicans, dolphins and osprey are almost always present. You will hear stories about the Ghost Fleet and Outer Banks maritime history and learn about the mysterious petrified forest. Back Country Outfitters has exclusive access to the Spanish Mustang Preserve, where sightings of these regal wild horses is guaranteed, while your tour guide explains their Spanish Colonial heritage and the local preservation efforts. Reservations are required.

Bob’s Wild Horse Tours

817 B Ocean Trail, Highway 12, Corolla
(252) 453-8602

Bob White is a legend among the horse-sighting enthusiasts, and his trained staff has been offering tours since 1996 with a great reputation for being entertaining and informative. Bob’s tours last two hours and incorporate quite a bit of local history to complement the sightseeing. At the beginning, your guide will take you past Whalehead and the lighthouse and by Corolla Village, showering you with some interesting lore. Then it’s up to the four-wheel-drive area, where you’ll see the horses grazing in their natural habitat. Bob’s tours are given in safari style open-air vehicles — for a one of a kind experience! — they can accommodate large groups up to 15 people. Call for details and reservations. All tours have a money back guarantee if you don’t see the horses (restrictions apply).

Buxton and Frisco

Buxton and Frisco are two distinct villages but they border one another (without any parklands in between) so they kind of blend together. Both of these villages are set among the Buxton Woods Maritime Forest, lending a different feel from the villages to the north, and Buxton is situated at the island’s widest point.

Buxton is the home of the world-famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which you can climb for a view of the island. It’s also home to Cape Point, the magnificent point of land that juts farthest into the ocean. Visiting Cape Point (as long as it’s not closed during bird-nesting season) is an essential Outer Banks experience, and the National Park Service has a campground close by. Buxton offers several accommodations, shops, restaurants and outfitters along with many county services, ballfields, the islands’ schools and the community center known as the Fessenden Center. Frisco is much quieter and predominantly residential, but there are a couple of galleries, a coffee shop and a few other businesses and campgrounds. There’s also an airstrip here. It’s perfect for that feeling of getting away from it all.

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

23645 N.C. Highway 12, Rodanthe
(252) 987-1552

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is the nation’s largest and most complete existing example of the life-saving stations that were built along the Atlantic coast in the late 19th century to attend to shipwrecks and to rescue survivors. The 1874 Station was the first operational Life-Saving station built in North Carolina, serving until 1954. Chicamacomico has been partially restored, thanks to numerous volunteers who formed a nonprofit organization to save it, and it is now a fine museum and historic site; all structures are original buildings. It is also the only place anywhere in the world that re-creates the full historic beach apparatus life-saving drill on a regular basis with active-duty United States Coast Guard personnel.

On a visit to this fascinating Outer Banks attraction, you’ll see the 1874 Station, the 1911 Station, two cookhouses, water tanks and cistern, a stable, a tractor shed, the smaller boathouse (now the Visitors Center) and a village home built in 1907. In the museum, you’ll learn about the U.S. Life-Saving Service and some of the rescues that occurred here. Artifacts, uniforms, rescue equipment, displays and video presentations abound, and self-guided tours help complete your knowledge of place and history. These stations have many stories to tell. Life-Saving crews at Chicamacomico performed many daring rescues, including one of the greatest rescues of WWI, that of the British tanker Mirlo in 1918. When the Mirlo was sunk by the German submarine U-117, Chicamacomico’s crew rescued 42 of 51 British sailors. The gift shop is full of unique nautical items and works by local craftspeople plus books and old-fashioned toys.

Check their website for special program information, admission fees and hours of operation. Chicamacomico is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit raising all of its own funds; it has no federal, state or other budget. 

Corolla Wild Horse Museum

1129 Corolla Village Road, Corolla
(252) 453-8002

Housed within a historic home in Corolla Village, the free Corolla Wild Horse Fund museum shares the wonderful history and legacy of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. Descendants of Spanish Mustangs brought to our island nearly 500 years ago, they are a hardy and majestic breed that is teetering on the brink of extinction. At the museum the whole family can learn more from their knowledgeable staff, photography and historical information. Donations are accepted and encouraged.

Here are some special events for the summer:
Paint your own wild Colonial Spanish Mustang! The Corolla Wild Horse Fund sponsors horse painting for kids every Tuesday and Thursday, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Paint, brushes and smocks are provided, and kids of all ages can join in the fun. Artists can choose from large wooden horses attached to posts that stay up all week for visitors to admire or smaller wooden horse cut-outs to go and paint later. All proceeds benefit the wild horses. This is such a fun Outer Banks thing to do!

On Fridays, weather permitting, a gentled Colonial Spanish Mustang is ready to meet and greet your family at the Wild Horse Museum from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Corolla Wild Horse Fund staff and trained volunteers provide fascinating information about the history of wild horses and how YOU can help save this heritage breed. Petting is encouraged!

Take the Trip of a Lifetime to see the wild horses, riding with the experts in charge of the actual management and care of the wild herd. All funds raised go right back into the care and protection of the wild horses. Prices are $20 for children and $45 for adults. Please call for reservations or book your trip at www.corollawildhorses.com

On Wednesdays, at their second location at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, ride a gentled Colonial Spanish Mustang around the ring while raising awareness and funds to help this critically endangered breed. Rides are offered from 2 to 5 p.m. during the summer in conjunction with other Faire Days festivities including live music and kids crafts.

While a lot of the fun programming happens during the summer, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund is open all year, so please stop by to visit and become a member.

Corolla Wild Horse Tours

1210 Ocean Trail, Corolla
(252) 207-0511

Corolla Wild Horse Tours has been guiding tours to Corolla’s horse country — the four-wheel-drive-only beaches north of Corolla — since 1996. With these experienced and knowledgeable guides, you can sit back and enjoy a comfortable, family-oriented tour. This company uses 15-passenger open-air safari-style trucks that are safe for any age, including kids in car seats. Along the trip, your guide will tell you about the history of Corolla and the horses as well as point out all the wonders of nature. The guides have been certified by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and have a reputation of being quite entertaining. The two-hour tours, which cover about 25 miles of off-road area, run all day long until sunset.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

1101 Corolla Village Road, Corolla
(252) 453-4939

The red-brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse towers above the landscape in the Historic Corolla village. Visitors to this Outer Banks attraction can climb the winding staircase, 214 steps in all, to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view of Currituck Sound, the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Outer Banks. Inside the lighthouse, at the base and on the first two landings, there are museum-quality lighthouse exhibits. On the way up or down, stop to learn about the history of coastal lighthouses, the Fresnel lens, shipwrecks and the lighthouse keepers.

The 162-foot lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1875. Onsite keepers, who lived in homes at the base of the lighthouse, operated the lighthouse until it was automated in 1937. With automation, the lighthouse no longer required a regular keeper. The lighthouse and its outbuildings fell into disrepair for decades until a nonprofit group called Outer Banks Conservationists (OBC) stepped in to save the lighthouse in the 1980s. OBC renovated the keepers’ buildings to re-create their past glories and restored the lighthouse to make it safe to climb. In July 2003, The U.S. Department of the Interior awarded OBC ownership of the lighthouse.

It costs only $10 to climb the lighthouse (cash or check, please), and children ages 7 and younger climb for free with an adult. The lighthouse is open daily from before Easter through Thanksgiving. Climbing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the summer. During extreme weather, the lighthouse is closed to climbing.

The nearby Double Keepers’ House is not open to the public, but it makes for great photographs. You can go inside the small Keeper’s House, which was transformed into the Museum Shop and stocks everything lighthouse-related you could ever imagine. T-shirts, hats, books, postcards, blankets, taffy, ornaments, jewelry, magnets, figurines and more fill this former keeper’s residence. See the Shopping section.

Currituck Outer Banks Visitors Center

500 Hunt Club Drive, Corolla
(252) 453-9612

The Currituck Outer Banks Visitors Center offers restrooms plus all the visitor information and assistance you'll need for a trip to Corolla and its surrounding areas. You'll find it on the west side of N.C. Highway 12 on the south end of the Currituck Club; if heading north, start looking for it on the left after you pass the Hampton Inn.

Currituck County also operates the Currituck County Welcome Center on the NC/VA state line next to the Border Station convenience store. It offers restrooms, free WiFi and coffee and tons of information and assistance for visitors. Passengers, go ahead and pick up the local publications here because you still have an hour's ride from here to Corolla. 

First Friday

Downtown Manteo, Manteo

First Friday is a family-oriented downtown festival held in the evening from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of every month from April through December. 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. The Dare County Arts Council Gallery always hosts an opening reception during First Friday. Costumed interpreters walk the streets, clowns perform magic tricks and Kitty Hawk Kites sometimes brings its climbing wall for the fit and daring to test themselves. It’s a great time to explore all that downtown Manteo has to offer.

 

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras Village
(252) 986-2995

At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum attracts a lot of attention with its ship-like building, porthole windows and curved timbers. One of three North Carolina Maritime Museums operated by the North Carolina Division of Cultural Resources, the museum focuses on the maritime history and shipwrecks of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, often called the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Exhibitions cover five centuries, with shipwreck artifacts and memorabilia on display. Changing exhibits tell dramatic tales of lifesaving, piracy, maritime culture and underwater heritage.

View the original 1854 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fresnel lens, the Enigma machine from the U-85, the bell from the Diamond Shoals Lightship, artifacts from Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and exhibits exploring Hatteras Island during the Civil War, including artifacts from the Monitor. Discover Hatteras’ amazing link to the Titanic. See unusual artifacts that have washed ashore as well as vintage diving and sport-fishing fishing equipment. 

The museum features year-round programming for people of all ages.  Enjoy creating coastal crafts, movie nights and presentations by experts in maritime history, food, art and culture. For a daily schedule of activities go to the website at www.ncmaritimemuseums.com and view the calendar for more information.

From April through mid-October, hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  From mid-October through March, hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is free; donations are appreciated. Discover fun, beautiful and educational souvenirs, books and gifts in their Meekins Chandlery Gift Shop, with hours corresponding to Museum hours.  

Hatteras Village

On the southern end of Hatteras Island, Hatteras, or as the locals call it, Hatteras Village, is known for its ties to offshore fishing. The village borders Hatteras Inlet, giving recreational and commercial fishing boats an easy route to the Gulf Stream and the inshore fishing grounds. Hatteras has several marinas where commercial and recreational boats dock, making this a great place from which to book an offshore charter. Several Hatteras Island motels, plenty of vacation rental homes and restaurants support the fishing and vacation industries. Hatteras also offers quite a bit of shopping, from art galleries to jewelry shops to clothing boutiques. For a fascinating look at the island’s storied maritime history, check out the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. The ferry to Ocracoke Island leaves from Hatteras Village.

Island Farm

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 work, cooking demonstrations, ox-drawn wagon rides, 19th-century toys and games and farm and garden work. Visitors to this popular Outer Banks activity take self-guided tours of the Etheridge House and Farm, interacting with interpreters along the way. Activities vary daily and by season and are weather dependent. Special events are held in the Spring and Fall. Standard admission costs $8 per person with children 5 and younger admitted for free. They are open April through November. Note that they're closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

Jennette's Pier

7223 S. Virginia Dare Trail, The Beach Road, MP 16.5, Nags Head
(252) 255-1501

Jennette’s Pier is a state-of-the-art educational center and fishing pier complete with a pier shop, classroom and banquet hall, and it's the newest Outer Banks attraction, drawing thousands of visitors each year. The pier features wide, clean public beaches, free parking and a bath house with outdoor showers. With its mantra of Fishing, Family and Fun, Jennette’s offers something for everyone. There’s world-class fishing, unique educational programs and excellent opportunities for sightseeing from the 1,000-foot-long pier. Owned and operated by the N.C. Aquariums, Jennette’s Pier was awarded the coveted Platinum LEED Certification by the U. S. Green Building Council in 2012. In addition to its three iconic wind turbines towering over the pier, the green facility boosts a unique reclaimed water system and geothermal wells that provide heating and cooling. Anglers can find everything they need for a day of fishing inside the pier house. Various types of rod and reel combos can be purchased or rented by the day for $10 (photo ID required). There’s plenty of bait and tackle for sale as well as drinks, snacks and souvenirs items. The pier has a blanket license for all anglers, so you do not need a fishing license. A daily fishing pass is good all day and night until the pier closes; call for hours as they change with the seasons.
The pier staff offers educational classes for all ages, and the children’s programs are stellar. Call for more about the pier programs. Jennette’s is open year round and is a fun Outer Banks thing to do in any weather.

Kill Devil Hills

Town Hall
(252) 449-5300

At the geographic center of the Outer Banks, Kill Devil Hills (KDH as it’s known) is perfectly situated for those who want to see both the northern and southern ends of the Banks in one vacation. Kill Devil Hills is the largest town on the Outer Banks in terms of year-round population, and it offers a wealth of services, fast-food restaurants and necessity businesses. But don’t overlook Kill Devil Hills as a vacation destination in its own right. The town’s 6 miles of beachfront feature hotels, motels and rental accommodations to suit every taste and budget. The town is also full of shopping and dining opportunities. Beach access points with parking are plentiful in Kill Devil Hills. There’s also a library, recreational parks and soundside accesses.

At the heart of Kill Devil Hills is the National Park Service’s Wright Brothers National Memorial. This is the place where the Wright brothers conducted the first flight in 1903, and the monument to the brothers towers over the town atop Big Kill Devil Hill.

Colington Island, though not officially part of the Town of Kill Devil Hills, is accessed through the town and is a part of the Outer Banks that most vacationers never see. Down Colington Road, you’ll find a few restaurants and campgrounds, a few homes for rent and a peek into the lives of the local residents. There are several places along the way to go fishing and crabbing near the bridges.

Kitty Hawk

Town Hall
(252) 261-3552

Kitty Hawk is known the world over for its association with the Wright brothers and flight. The Wright brothers didn’t actually fly their airplane here, but they did arrive and depart the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk, and they found accommodations in the rural soundside community for some of their visits in the early 1900s.

More than a century later, Kitty Hawk has shifted its focus from the soundside to the ocean. The beach draws thousands upon thousands of vacationers every year to Kitty Hawk, where a variety of accommodations await. Kitty Hawk is known for its old-school beachfront cottages, along with mom-and-pop motels and one of the nicest hotels on the beach.

Kitty Hawk is small, but it offers plenty for a nice vacation, including shops, superstores, restaurants and a golf course.

Lost Colony

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 78th season in 2015!

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green, The Lost Colony 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 78 years. Seeing the play is a quintessential Outer Banks activity.

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

The 2015 season runs from May 29 through August 22, Monday through Saturday nights at 7:30 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 The Lost Colony. 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. At 2 p.m. on these two days, both kids and their parents will get a kick out of the show How I Became a Pirate.

Throughout the year, other events are presented at Waterside Theatre. Psychopath brings screams during the Halloween season, the summer Live at the Waterside concert series presents top notch musicians, Haunted History tours introduce you to ghosts of Roanoke Island's past residents and guests of the Comedy Tonight series laugh their way through evening shows.

A trip to The Lost Colony 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.

Manteo

General Information, Manteo
(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 waterfront boardwalk, a park and children's playground and boats sitting in the harbor of Shallowbag Bay. It’s also the home of Roanoke Island Festival Park, one of the Outer Banks’ most popular attractions.

The Manteo historic district is full of restored homes and bed and breakfast inns that make for great sightseeing or overnight stays. It is perfect for exploring on foot or by bicycle. Park the car and walk around; the town is quite pedestrian friendly. 

The main corridor of Manteo is U.S. Highway 64. This road is lined with shops, galleries, restaurants, service businesses and places to stay. A bicycle/multi-use path runs parallel to U.S. Highway 64 for the northern half of this picturesque island. If you have a bicycle handy, we highly recommend using this path to explore Roanoke Island. The path ends at a beautiful soundfront park. Also on the island are the attractions of Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, The Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre, The Elizabethan Gardens, the North Carolina Aquarium, Island Farm and the fishing village of Wanchese.