I saw the tell tale architecture that I’ve grown to know as a signature of the Outer Banks. Our first stop on Roanoke Island was in the town of Manteo. A small and very walkable little waterfront town that is home to the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse has become one of our favorite little towns on the East Coast of the U.S. The whole of Roanoke Island is an ideal town for family travelers to visit and I’m happy to share why in this list of 19 things to do on Roanoke Island.

19 Things To Do On Roanoke Island

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

Not your typical lighthouse, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was used not to guide ships at sea, but to guide ships through the rivers and sounds dating back to the 1800’s. Follow the wooden boardwalk over the water into the maritime museum beneath the lighthouse.

Island Farm

This farm is a living story that tells the tale of everyday Outer Bankers living on Roanoke Island in the mid-1800’s. You can learn about the Lost Colony and watch demonstrations in blacksmithing, hearth cooking, weaving and spinning wool. feeding the animals, food preparation and more!

Lost Colony Brewery and Cafe

This restaurant is super chill and has great outside space to sit and enjoy the weather and your lunch. They have a lot of super interesting items on the menu that look so good; I want to go back again and again to try it all!

Roanoke Island Festival Park

This park is home to a replica of the Elizabeth II, one of the seven vessels that were used during the voyages to Roanoke Island. You can see blacksmithing area and explore American Indian Town to learn about the coastal Algonquian people and their culture.

Johanna’s Cafe Lachine

Try one of Johanna’s delicious breakfast and lunch options or better yet, grab a drink an a delicious tart to enjoy outside in the sunshine outside of the cafe.

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

An aquarium visit is always a good option for couple or family travelers. You’ll be happy to know that the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island has conservation programs for sea turtles, Carolina Gopher Frogs, Sand Tiger Sharks, the Crystal Skipper Butterfly and several other species that live in and around the ocean.

Elizabethan Gardens

A botanical garden in Manteo, North Carolina, the Elizabethan Gardens are a historical site with displays of plants, water features, statues, and antiques.

Adventure Museum

A perfect stop on Roanoke Island for family travelers. See dug out canoes, see how things were made in the past, learn about the importance of story telling in times long gone, and much more at the Adventure Musuem!

The Refuge on Roanoke Island

It feels criminal to not recommend you spend a night camping while you are in such a beautiful place like Roanoke Island. If you are a van lifer or RVer, The Refuge has rave reviews and would be a great way to enhance your visit to Roanoke Island.

The Front Porch Cafe- Manteo

Just like the name suggests, this cute little cafe offers a large variety of coffees as well as cinnamon rolls, croissants, cookies, other pastries, juices, as well as a selection of wines that you can enjoy out on the big front porch.

Pirate Adventures of The Outer Banks

Be whisked away on board the pirate ship, Sea Gypsy IV and watch the actors on the ship tell tales of pirate lore: tales of sunken treasure, swashbuckling, and more! Kids will have the opportunity to look for messages in a bottle at sea, man a water cannon, and read treasure maps.

OBX Ghost Tours

Take a guided walking tour through Manteo on Roanoke Island. Learn about the history of Manteo and the spirits that still linger around the buildings and in the streets of the beautiful and historic town. To make reservations, you can book online or call Kitty Hawk Kites.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Hike maritime trails, see the First Light of Freedom Monument that commemorates the Roanoke Island Freedman’s Colony that was set up during the American Civil War where a place was set up as a safe haven and an education center for former slaves to help prepare them for their new lives, and the earthwork that revels evidence of metallurgical activity in the area.

Outer Banks Fishing Charters

Make your visit to the North Carolina coast complete with a trip into the sea with Outer Banks Fishing Charters.

Laughing Lollipop Soda and Candy Shoppe

All the historical sites and beauty on Roanoke Island is great, but when you’re traveling with kids sometimes you just need to spend an hour in a candy shop, right? Novelty ice cream, cotton candy, salt water taffy, and unique sweets await you at the Laughing Lollipop!

Harbor Star Dolphin Tours

Watch wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphins jump and splash around your boat on a dolphin tour leaving from the Wanchese Marina. The captain keep a safe distance from the dolphin but you will still be able to enjoy watching the dolphins eat, play, sleep, and teach their young!

Big Buck’s Homemade Ice Cream

Enjoy cake batter, strawberry sorbet, peanut butter cups and fudge, cherry vanilla, and other unique and delicious ice cream flavors at Big Buck’s Homemade Ice Cream. You can also get your caffeine fix from their hot, iced, and frozen caffeinated beverages.

Manteo Waterfront Marina

Take a walk by the water and boat watch around the Manteo Waterfront Marine.

The Lost Colony Musical

The lost colony musical is one of the must visit attractions in all of the Outer Banks. The show displays sorrow, heartbreak, and loss as well as the laughter and romance of the time while showing you how the Queen and her court worked, then celebrate with the cast at the birth of the first English child born in America, Virginia Dare.

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