When on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, things to do are never far away. In addition to The Lost Colony there are literally hundreds of things to do on Roanoke Island. Just a five minute drive from Nags Head, this quiet refuge is a hidden gem on the Outer Banks and you should plan to spend at least one full day during your Outer Banks family vacation or plan to stay here all week! The locations listed below are far from a full listing of offerings on Roanoke, but the establishments listed here are some of our favorites and we encourage you to explore on your own!
Dinner and A Show
A spectacular Southern & Seafood restaurant located on the water in Southern Nags Head, this Outer Banks tradition has a robust menu and features spectacular views of the Sound. Perfect for large groups!
Set in the heart of charming downtown Manteo, this English Pub boasts local beer from Lost Colony brewery and traditional English pub cuisine, perfect to get you in the mood to step back into 1580’s England!
This upscale restaurant located in the Tranquil House Inn in downtown Manteo is the perfect place to turn an evening at the Lost Colony into an idyllic romantic night.
A staple of Roanoke Island locals, Darrell’s is a classic Outer Banks seafood restaurant, with a timeless menu featuring all your favorite seafood dishes.
The only boutique Nags Head hotel on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Built and decorated with gracious vacationing in mind. Here you’ll find 16 suites — Honeymoon, Executive, Family and Handicap Accessible — providing you with plenty of space to spread out, whether it’s just the two of you or an entire family. The rooms are beautifully appointed with leather furniture, at least two beds in most, modern kitchens, high-end bathrooms and private balconies. As appealing as our rooms are, they compete with an amazing location that is one of a kind for any Nags Head hotel. Oasis Suites directly overlook the sound and marsh on both sides, meaning you have water and sunset views that no other accommodation can offer. The Oasis Suites is minutes from the beach, historic Roanoke Island and some of the best Outer Banks restaurants.
The Tranquil House Inn is located right on the waterfront in downtown and offers some of the best Manteo lodging! Enjoy the serene Shallowbag Bay views while being only minutes from all the excitement and activity of the beaches. Settle in at this haven where you can rejuvenate and relax or enjoy the beautiful and convenient boardwalks for exploring this traditional seaside town. Built in the style of the stately Outer Banks’ inns of the 19th Century and enhanced with the conveniences of the 21st Century, the charm of custom cypress woodwork and beveled stained glass will greet you at every turn.
A historic, boutique hotel located in quaint and beautiful Manteo, the heart of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where the porches are wide, the picket fences are white, and Southern Charm and Hospitality abound. Just steps from downtown Manteo’s boardwalk, at The Roanoke you will find breathtaking water views and over an acre of serene gardens. Our large breezeway porch overlooking Shallowbag Bay is the perfect place for rocking away and enjoying the salt air. Those looking for something quieter may prefer to take in a good book while listening to the relaxing trickle of the koi pond or escaping to the shade in our Folly. All of this without ever having to step foot off the property. While children are welcome in our Bungalow and Family Suites, all ages will appreciate taking our courtesy bikes for a spin. You may find yourself never wanting to leave the grounds, but venturing out could not be easier as bike trails will take you all the way to Fort Raleigh and some of Nags Head’s finest beaches are only a five minute drive. With courtesy towels, chairs, umbrellas, and a full library all you have to do is put on your favorite bathing suit and enjoy your Outer Banks vacation.
Roanoke Island Attractions
A breathtaking botanical garden located in Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site next to the Waterside Theatre, explore this amazing garden and beat the summer heat under the canopy of majestic Roanoke Island Old Oak trees. Featuring a butterfly garden, rose garden, the largest statue of Queen Elizabeth I in North America, and some of the most pristine landscaping in North Carolina, The Elizabeth Gardens is the perfect place to get lost in history for an afternoon
Island Farm is a living history site that tells the story of the everyday Outer Bankers that lived on Roanoke Island in the 1850s. Here, an island family experienced the impacts of the Civil War, performed harrowing rescues as members of the US Life-Saving Service, and assisted the Wright Brothers in their dream of achieving powered flight, all while feeding chickens, fishing the sounds, and growing corn for grinding at the windmill.
Kitty Hawks are the providers of the best outdoor experiences on the Outer Banks. With a location in Downtown Manteo, rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to get out onto the Roanoke Sound. The Manteo Marina backs up to incredible marshland that is waiting for you to explore on the water!
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island features a great deal of the wildlife that surrounds us on Roanoke Island-from over 250 different types of fish to alligators, otters, and more! The aquarium also plays a vital role in Outer Banks conservation as it is home to a sea turtle rehabilitation clinic. The perfect activity for the whole family on a hot day, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island makes the pristine water views that much more impactful!
Experience a new adventure in an old world at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This 27-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 throughout the Settlement Site and the Elizabeth II ship to demonstrate how the first settlers lived, worked and played on Roanoke Island. For a hands-on history lesson, visit American Indian Town and the Adventure Museum that feature interactive exhibits that all ages will enjoy. Experience an unforgettable adventure on the Outer Banks at Roanoke Island Festival Park – where history comes alive.
Downtown Manteo, located 10 minutes from the Waterside Theatre, is an idyllic walking town that is located right on the shore of the Roanoke Sound and in the heart of the Shallowbag Bay. Full of shops, restaurants, and more, this picturesque downtown is the perfect day trip for the whole family! Below are some of our favorite businesses downtown:
- Vineyards on the Scuppernong
- Bluegrass Island Trading Company
- Charis Coffee Company
- Downtown Books
- Sleeping In
- Avenue Grille and Goods
- Old Tom’s Manteo