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A Relaxing Retreat on North Carolina's Outer Banks!

Don't Miss the Outer Banks of NC!

A beautiful beach near Roanoke Island, NC - one of the best things to do in Manteo

Earlier this spring, we wrote a blog about the best beaches in North Carolina. Many of these stunning beaches are right here in the Outer Banks and not too far from one of our favorite Outer Banks destinations, Roanoke Island, NC. Nearby beaches worth visiting include Corolla Beach, Cape Hatteras, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Ocracoke Island, and the stunning Cape Lookout National Seashore

Truly, no matter how you spend your time in North Carolina's Outer Banks, you can expect a getaway packed with spectacular scenery and plenty of relaxation. It's no different on charming and historic Roanoke Island, NC. If you're looking for a unique place to spend a quiet few days, you've found it!

In fact, Roanoke Island, NC is considered one of the most interesting destinations in the Outer Banks. It doesn't have miles of open beaches along the Atlantic Coast, as it lies between mainland North Carolina and the barrier islands to its east. The Community here dates back to the 16th century with the first Roanoke Colony, the first English Colony in the New World. It served as an important stepping stone for the early exploration of North America. 

Today, this charming island is home to the largest concentration of attractions - aside from beaches - in North Carolina's Outer Banks. From day trips to week-long retreats, it's one of our favorite places to relax and unwind in North Carolina. It's also home to one of the best places to stay in North Carolina, a Select Registry Bed and Breakfast. 

If you're ready for an unforgettable escape to a peaceful coastal retreat, consider booking your trip to Roanoke Island, NC, on the Outer Banks. You won't be disappointed with fabulous North Carolina beaches and fun destinations like Roanoke Island Festival Park nearby.

Visiting this lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Manteo, located on the charming Roanoke Island, NC in the Outer Banks

Explore the Best of Roanoke Island, NC

The first settlers arrived at Roanoke Island, NC in 1585. It's easy to see what made this such an attractive place to set up a colony. It's just inland from the barrier islands of the Outer Banks, protected from the sometimes harsh waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It's surrounded by water, which historically provided the colony protection and a vital food source.

Though time has certainly changed this community from its colonial days, what remains today is a charming, picturesque little town that is entirely worth a visit. It's connected to the mainland by one of two bridges or can also be reached from the Nags Head Causeway, depending on where you're coming from. 

The Island is relatively small, at just 8 miles long and 2 miles wide, and it's comprised mainly of two towns: Manteo and Wanchese. Don't let its small size fool you, though - there are plenty of great things to do on Roanoke Island, NC. 

Wanchese is a small fishing village. Take a day trip to this charming part of the island and you'll spot a lovely collection of island homes, beautiful docks and harbors, and plenty of fishermen and women hard at work. The majority of the seafood for the Outer Banks comes from this busy village. 

On the other hand, Manteo is much more tourist-driven and is home to most of the island's attractions, including the popular Roanoke Island Festival Park, which we'll discuss in more detail below. 

These charming towns are wonderful and worth exploring in their entirety, but that's not all Roanoke Island, NC has to offer. It's also home to a gorgeous ancient maritime forest - some of which has remained since the time of the first settlers and even before! Remarkably, these trees have escaped development and lend a wonderful and lushly shaded environment to enjoy, which contrasts with the wide-open beaches of the Outer Banks. 

Things to Do on Roanoke Island

A few of the top things to explore on Roanoke Island, NC, including the following: 

The Elizabeth II at Roanoke Island Festival Park, one of the top things to do in Roanoke Island, NC

Visit Roanoke Island Festival Park

If you're interested in the historical roots of Roanoke Island, NC, then the Roanoke Island Festival Park is for you. Roanoke Island Festival Park brings history to life on its 25-acre park and is the place to experience firsthand what life must have been like for the first English Settlers to call this island home in 1584. 

There are several fantastic attractions at Roanoke Island Festival Park, including costumed historical characters, a recreated settlement, and a historic 16th-century boat on which you can set sail. There are also on-site museums to help orient you to the colonial roots of Roanoke Island, NC, with various artifacts and exhibits on display.  

Here are the top things to see and experience at Roanoke Island Festival Park: 

  • The Settlement Site at Roanoke Island Festival Park is a recreated version of the original colony as it was established in 1584. Here, you'll find costumed actors that explain what it was like from various perspectives. You'll also be able to try your hand at colonial tasks like woodworking and gaming - or watch a blacksmith at work. 
  • At American Indian Town, learn more about Coastal Algonquin Culture. This part of the Roanoke Island Festival Park represents what a traditional American Indian community of the time would have looked like, complete with homes, agricultural areas, longhouses, and work shelters. There are a variety of exhibits here relating to early American Indian life, including harvesting, net making, canoe making, weaving, and more. Don't miss the Legend of Two-Path film to learn even more about the American Indian perspective.
  • One of the top-rated things to do at Roanoke Island Festival Park is to step aboard the 16th-century replica vessel, the Elizabeth II. There are various interactive things to do onboard, including several costumed interpreters to help set the scene. 
  • If you really want to learn more about the history of Roanoke Island, NC, step inside the Roanoke Adventure Museum at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Here, you'll find 400 incredible years of history.

The Roanoke Island Festival Park is open Tuesday - Saturday, from March 15 - December 31. Admission to the Roanoke Island Festival Park includes visits to all the aforementioned attractions. 

When you're done exploring the fascinating and historical world of Roanoke Island, NC, return to comfort at our North Carolina Bed and Breakfast in Manteo. We can't wait to share this unique part of North Carolina's Outer Banks with you!

The Best Roanoke Island, NC Bed and Breakfast

Tranquil House Inn

Reminiscent of seaboard inns of the 19th century, The Tranquil House Inn offers 25 charming guest rooms that live in complete harmony with the seascape. Bathed in subtle hues, comfortable textures, and carefully selected furnishings, each room is designed to accommodate families or those searching for solitude.

From the front door, you’re mere steps from shopping, sightseeing, history, and adventure and just a short cruise away from the beaches of the Outer Banks.

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Best Places to Stay in Manteo

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