What to do and see in Manteo, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 21, 2017 Roseanne Arnett

Manteo (pronounced /ˈmæniːoʊ/ or /ˈmæntiːoʊ/) is a town in Dare County, North Carolina, United States, located on Roanoke Island. The population was 1,434 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Dare County.
Restaurants in Manteo

1. Island Farm

1140 US Highway 64, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9140 +1 252-473-6500
Excellent
75%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 128 reviews

Island Farm

Experience life as it was before the Civil War. Join interpreters dressed in period attire as they carry out the daily activities of a Roanoke Island farm in the 1850s. Hands-on activities and demonstrations: Woodworking, cooking, blacksmithing, children's games and ox-drawn wagon rides are just a few activities offered. Activities vary daily. Open seasonally from April to November - Tuesday through Friday - 10am until 4pm. Special Events held through out the season.

Reviewed By Mary M - Manteo, North Carolina

We took our grandson (4 years old) to the Island Farm. We really enjoyed it - enjoyed the wagon ride with the Ox and how things where done in the colonial days. People were dressed in period clothing, doing things that they did back then. My grandson loved making candles and playing games. Only sad part was parents that dropped children off and left them unattended. Without parents, kids could not participate (liability?) and had to wait for parents to return to pick them up. Participate with your kids - I had more fun than my grandson!

2. The Lost Colony

1409 National Park Dr, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9451 +1 252-473-2127
Excellent
67%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 764 reviews

The Lost Colony

In 1587, 117 English men, women, and children came ashore on Roanoke Island to establish a permanent English settlement in the New World. Just three years later in 1590, when English ships returned to bring supplies, they found the island deserted with no sign of the colonists. After nearly 450 years, the mystery of what happened to the colonists remains unsolved. The Lost Colony, is performed each summer on the same site where these actual events occurred. Under the direction of Ira David Wood, III, a company of over 100 actors, dancers, singers and technicians create a magical evening for your whole family. Become immersed in epic battles, haunting Native American dances, elegant costuming and beautiful music in this enormous stage production. Written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paul Green, The Lost Colony is a cultural treasure and the best family entertainment on the Outer Banks! Performances nightly, Monday through Saturday, May 25 - August 22 at 7:45PM.

Reviewed By TALNewYork

For years I went here in September when it is closed so I made a point of seeing it while on vacation in August. The performance was wonderful. The actors were outstanding and so were their costumes and set design. This was the first time I'd been to an outdoor play and, I have to say, it was wonderful. I will admit, the performance was a bit long, so be prepared. However, there is a bar and concession stand so you can stock up on snacks and drinks. If you like history, I definitely recommend coming early to walk around the grounds and visit the welcome center where you can watch short films and see historical artifacts. This story an amazing story. One that will leave you thinking about it long after you leave.

3. North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

374 Airport Rd, Off U.S. 64, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9485 +1 252-475-2300
Excellent
54%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Reviewed By Tinabuzzy - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Beautifully designed and priced!
Very affordable for the size of the aquariums and displays...
A plethora of species - all happy and in great enclosures.
Lengthy yet memorable.
A lot of "hands on" displays, and please DO NOT bypass the turtles!
The animal technicians were so excited to talk about and teach about their " specified" species, from the hand touching sting ray tank to the turtle revitalization area.
I loved the outdoor dock over Looking the water and the large nests set atop a stoop above the water.
If you account for movies and videos it can be a 3 or more hour visit.
Lots of photo opportunities, this is a must see !

4. Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Manteo waterfront, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954
Excellent
51%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 199 reviews

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Reviewed By larryrneal2016 - Warren, Pennsylvania

A quaint building with sufficient information to make the visit worthwhile. Built on the water, this old lighthouse provided the opportunity to just stand around its sides and enjoy the view of the boat slips and the harbor. In the midst of going around town, this delightful building was well worth the short stop.

5. Roanoke Island Festival Park

1 Festival Park, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9396 +1 252-475-1500
Excellent
53%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 429 reviews

Roanoke Island Festival Park

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 Roanoke Island. For a hands-on history lesson, visit the Adventure Museum that features interactive exhibits that all ages will enjoy. The park also serves as a venue for concerts, events and weddings in the indoor theatre or outdoor waterfront pavilion. Whether you’re enjoying the museum or an outdoor concert, Festival Park offers a stunning location with piers, nature trails and picturesque views at every turn. Experience an unforgettable adventure on the Outer Banks at Roanoke Island Festival Park – where history comes alive.

Reviewed By Docky B - Raleigh, North Carolina

This is well worth the time. The price of admission is very reasonable, and there is plenty of parking. The Avenue, a restaurant, is nearby for lunch. Take time to talk to the reenactors, they are very good. The ship, the Elizabeth II, was a lot of fun. My only regret is that the Indian village wasn't a little bigger.
Still, I have to say that the park was pretty interesting.

6. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Route 64/264, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954 +1 252-473-1131
Excellent
59%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
4%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 235 reviews

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

An off-beat wildlife refuge that is interesting for children.

Reviewed By leetl319 - Blandon, Pennsylvania, United States

The ladies there are very informative and friendly. They know the area well. We did not see any alligators. We saw a rattlesnake, several black bear and turtles. You need to be patient, and travel slowly. We traveled the same road many times until we finally saw a very, very large black bear. Be friendly, many people are happy to point you in a good direction.

7. Elizabethan Gardens

1411 National Park Dr, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9451 +1 252-473-3234
Excellent
53%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
4%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 603 reviews

Elizabethan Gardens

Fanciful and elaborate gardens were kept to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. Our garden was created for your enjoyment, and as a living memorial to the time when Sir Walter Raleigh’s lost colonists lived in this very place over 400 years ago. The Elizabethan Gardens is a project of the Garden Club of North Carolina. Located 15 minutes from Nags Head, North Carolina. Special features include: Italian renaissance statuary, water views, gift shop and plant sales, mobile phone audio tour. Plant collections include: native plants, azaleas, crape mrytles, hydrangeas, conifers and seasonal blooms. Our dapple-shaded paths and lush green Scape offer a tranquil retreat from the beach. We are pet friendly. Our walkways are handicap accessible.

Reviewed By D2958ZXgarym - King, United States

Adjacent to Fort Raleigh National Monument is the Elizabethan Gardens, a Roanoke Island treasure for more than seventy years. The Gardens opened August 18, 1955, the 368th anniversary of the birth of Virginia Dare, the first child of English descent born in America. A living memorial to America’s original English colonists, this horticultural paradise features a wide variety of plants, shrubs, wildflowers, and trees. Carefully landscaped walks guide visitors to many points of interest, including the famous statue of Virginia Dare, sculpted in Italy by Maria Louisa Lander and donated to the Gardens by Paul Green, author of the nation’s first outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony.” Other focal points include the picturesque Sunken Garden, centered on an antique Italian fountain, the Shakespearean Herb Garden, and the Queen’s Rose Garden. Walking the wonderfully-landscaped gardens is easy. The Elizabethan Gardens are open daily year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Hours vary seasonally. Admission is charged.

For what it's worth, my wife and I have visited the Outer Banks for a week's vacation every other year for three decades and we rarely pass on an opportunity to visit the Elizabethan Gardens! They're really a wonderful place to spend some quiet, reflective time enjoying nature's beauty!

8. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Off US 64/264, 1500 Fort Raleigh Road, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954 +1 252-473-2111
Excellent
37%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 382 reviews

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Historic museum that tells the story of the 16th-century Roanoke Island colonists.

Reviewed By Jessica O - Boston, Massachusetts

This is a National Park located on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina commemorating the first English colony in America. It’s about 15 miles from the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills and is reachable via a toll-free bridge. Entrance is free to the Park which is located on the northern end of Roanoke Island, in the sound west of the Outer Banks.

There is a great deal of interesting and surprising information about the early English colonists and the Native Americans already living here as well as about Civil War events and a colony of freed African-American slaves. One of the most intriguing stories is that of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, an enduring mystery that has not yet been able to be unraveled, even via DNA analysis.

During a brief visit in October, my husband and I merely got an overview of the rich history of the area. Serious students could spend hours or days researching and experiencing the full range of available resources.

9. Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

1 Visitors Center Cir, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9707 +1 877-629-4386
Excellent
71%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 83 reviews

Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Your information center for sightseeing, attractions, accommodations and dining.

Reviewed By vhash77 - North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

We stopped at this Visitors Bureau before completing our trip to our hotel upon arrival. The gentleman at the Bureau was very helpful and informative. The grounds were very clean as well. Great place to stop and gather information before you begin your journey of the Outer Banks.

10. National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center

100 Conservation Way, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9053 +1 252-473-1131
Excellent
70%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 69 reviews

National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center

Reviewed By HopheadWI

Loved this visitor center! The informational displays were up-to-date, informative and interactive. They included, but were not limited to, a bush plane, wildlife mounts, and wildlife/ecosystem displays. Great for all ages! Staff/volunteers were welcoming and very helpful - they have maps of the local refuges to help you navigate the grounds. There is even a nice gift shop.

The weather was crummy when we visited but I would have loved to further explore the grounds and relax at the provided tables/chairs.

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