Outer Banks Historic Sites

The Outer Banks is rich in history and likes to wear its heritage on its sleeve. Between Native American tribes, colonial settlements, pirates, the Civil War and the first airplane, today’s Outer Banks historic sites line the area. Make your way from one end of the Outer Banks to the other, visiting lifesaving stations that used to assist those in peril out at sea, lighthouses that brought ships safely to shore, farms that give you a taste of Outer Banks life in the 1800s, educational museums, piers and settlement sites that hold mysteries. No matter where you go on the Outer Banks, there’s relevant historical information to be found. If you enjoy the great outdoors, hike through nature preserves, Pea Island or Portsmouth Island. If you’d prefer sites that are more indoor oriented, climb up some lighthouses or visit the beautiful old Whalehead estate in Corolla. Check out the below listings to see what Outer Banks historic sites capture your interest, hop in your time machine and take a step back in time.


Outer Banks Attractions by Area

Corolla | Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills & Nags Head
Roanoke Island & Manteo | Hatteras Island | Ocracoke Island

Outer Banks Things To Do by Category

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Outer Banks Historic Sites
27968 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 U.S. Life-Saving Service station built in North Carolina, serving until 1954. Chicamacomico has been partially restored, thanks to numerous volunteers who... read more

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station is the nation’s largest and most complete existing example of the... read more

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Outer Banks Historic Sites
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, 220 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... read more

The red-brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse towers above the landscape in the Historic Corolla village. Visitors... read more

Elizabethan Gardens

Outer Banks Historic Sites
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

Island Farm

Outer Banks Historic Sites
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

Ocracoke Preservation Society and Museum

Outer Banks Historic Sites
49 Water Plant Road, Ocracoke
(252) 928-7375

For a peek into Ocracoke’s past, visit Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Museum. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving the island’s history and cultural heritage and to protecting its environment. Housed in the turn-of-the-century home of Coast Guard Capt. David Williams, the museum lets visitors glimpse island life in the early to mid-1900s. Many of the architectural elements are intact, and a bedroom, living room and... read more

For a peek into Ocracoke’s past, visit Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Museum. The nonprofit organization is... read more

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Outer Banks Historic Sites
1 Festival Park, across from the Manteo Waterfront, Manteo
(252) 475-1500

Experience a new adventure in an old world at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This 25-acre historic site allows guests of all ages to experience first-hand what life was like for the first English settlers in 1585. Historic costumed interpreters are featured through Indian Town, the Settlement Site and the Elizabeth II ship to show and tell how the first settlers lived worked and played on... read more

Experience a new adventure in an old world at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This 25-acre... read more

Whalehead

Outer Banks Historic Sites
1100 Club Road, Historic Corolla, Corolla
(252) 453-9040

Whalehead is an historic house museum on the northern Outer Banks. The grand residence, dressed in bold yellow and striking copper, stands on a vast green lawn bordering the Currituck Sound. At first sight of the more than 21,000-square-foot Art Nouveau home, so out of place in the Outer Banks landscape, it’s immediately apparent that it has an intriguing past and a fascinating story to... read more

Whalehead is an historic house museum on the northern Outer Banks. The grand residence, dressed... read more