Outer Banks History Centers

The Outer Banks we know and love today was formed and characterized by its vast history. To assist you in gaining a better appreciation of this history, numerous Outer Banks history centers populate the area. You can visit and climb up lighthouses to learn how these stately structures saved the lives of sailors who navigated through treacherous shoals. Hike through the state park, Jockey’s Ridge, to interact with the world’s largest living sand dune and absorb the beautiful world around you. Stop by visitors’ centers to pick up some maps and brochures that might explain historical significance of the area you’re traveling to. And, of course, you won’t want to miss the museums on the Outer Banks, which can give you a taste of what life was like on the beach in the past few centuries. Then, there is the Outer Banks History Center in Manteo that is the local repository of pictures, books, magazines and more that tell the story of our shores. Browse through the below listing of Outer Banks history centers and get ready to embrace your inner scholar!


Outer Banks Attractions by Area

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

Outer Banks Attractions by Category

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

Outer Banks History Centers
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 History Centers
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

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Outer Banks History Centers
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras village
(252) 986-0720

At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, 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... read more

At the end of N.C. Highway 12 just past the ferry docks, Graveyard of the... read more

Ocracoke Preservation Society and Museum

Outer Banks History Centers
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 History Centers
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