- October 1st, 2021 - October 2nd, 2021
Join in the fun of one of Manteo’s favorite fishing traditions with the annual Inshore Slam Fishing Tournament. Celebrating its 22nd year in 2019, this family-friendly event is a...more
Manteo may seem like a typical North Carolina coastal town, but the area is as rich in attractions and fun as it is local history. The area is home to one of the world's greatest mysteries, the birthplace of English colonization in American, (literally), and a collection of Outer Banks attractions that have wowed vacationers for generations.
A visit to Manteo, whether it's for a day or for a week, can be a veritable visit back in time with historical attractions like the Roanoke Island Festival Park, the Island Farm or the Elizabethan Gardens setting the scene of a bygone era. For vacationers more interested in modern fare, the downtown offers blocks of homegrown boutiques, book shops, gift stores, and some of the region's most celebrated restaurants, all located conveniently in one downtown stretch adjacent to the bustling but beautiful Manteo waterfront.
Many Outer Bank vacationers find Manteo a full and satisfying day trip, however OBX visitors who want to relax and stay a while will find plenty of opportunities to do so. The area features a variety of accommodations, such as motels and hotels, bed and breakfasts, waterfront condos and even vacation rental homes, so any sized party can enjoy a local stay for a day, a week, or even a month.
Sun Realty offers the largest selection of rentals in the Outer Banks. Choose from a wide range of amenities, including private swimming pools, hot tubs, theater rooms, game rooms, pet friendly lodging and more. Our properties span the entire OBX coast including Carova, Corolla, Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and South Nags Head. On Hatteras Island, we proudly offer beach cottages in all villages... www.sunrealtync.com
KEES Vacations offers the best Outer Banks rentals for family vacations, romantic weekend getaways and groups of all sizes looking for the perfect OBX rental for their stay. When booking with KEES Vacations, travelers can expect excellence in service and a one-of-a-kind OBX vacation experience. We've got your perfect Nags Head vacation rental, oceanside escape in Corolla, or oceanfront beach house in Kill Devil Hills. Call 866-316-1843 or visit www.keesouterbanks.com
Downtown - Downtown Manteo, located just a few blocks off the main road of US Highway 64, is a destination in its own right, and the small streets that lead to the harbor are filled with gorgeous gardens, manicured lawns, and charming bed and breakfasts. The Pioneer Theater, a fixture in the town for decades, is located along these side streets and claims the honor of being the oldest single-screen and family owned movie theater in America. Unmistakable by its Tudor-style exterior, the theater is open year-round and features a budget-friendly feature as well as a historic theater setting.
The waterfront portion of downtown is lined with locally and nationally renowned restaurants, water sports companies, gift shops, antique stores, book stores, galleries, and many more shops and attractions with doors wide open for patrons. The waterfront is usually stocked full of sailboats, skiffs and yachts of both visiting mariners and year-round locals, as wSell as several local tour companies that allow visitors to hop on board for an afternoon or evening waterfront view of the Outer Banks. Many restaurants have outdoor seating overlooking the harbor, presenting guests with maritime watching at its best, and everyone is encouraged to take a stroll along the waterfront, or simply pull up a bench or a gazebo seat and enjoy the views.
Summer visitors should also be on the lookout for seasonal events, including monthly "First Night" celebrations, and Saturday Farmer's Markets that invade the downtown with fresh locally grown produce, homemade goodies, and local arts and crafts.
Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse - At the edge of the harbor front lies Roanoke Marshes Light, the Outer Banks' only example of an "in-shore" lighthouse, and a squat but charming one-story backdrop for fantastic Manteo photos.
Roanoke Island Festival Park - Elizabethan era lovers can also make a day trip to neighboring Roanoke Island Festival Park, which features a real-life recreation of everyday life in an early American colony. Some of the attractions within Roanoke Island Festival Park include:
N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island - Located just a few minutes drive from downtown, the aquarium presents a slice of natural island life, and features exhibits on everything Outer Banks, from the marshy inland habitats to the deep waters of the Gulf Stream. Of course, every exhibit has a healthy sample of the critters that inhabit these areas as well, and guests can expect to see river otters, land and sea turtles, alligators, local and tropical fish, and even a number of different kinds of sharks. The aquarium was designed with kids in mind, and special exhibits and programs are offered year-round to allow the future scientists in your group an opportunity to explore the natural world of the Outer Banks. Open 363 days, visitors can also gently touch stinrays, horseshoe crabs, bamboo sharks, urchins, stars, hermit crabs and more. The N.C. Aquarium is a hugely popular activity, and many families return each year. If rain spoils a beach day, the aquarium is afantastic activity for all ages.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site - More than just old earthen fort walls, this complex has a lot to offer visitors:
Dare County Airport - Ever wondered what it would be like to see the Outer Banks from the air? Several air tour companies offer helicopter and open-cockpit biplane rides over your favorite landmarks. Check out the list of air tour companies here.
Join in the fun of one of Manteo’s favorite fishing traditions with the annual Inshore Slam Fishing Tournament. Celebrating its 22nd year in 2019, this family-friendly event is a...more
As the summer winds down and the temperatures start to cool, it’s an ideal time to get out to the garden and to start planning your fall landscapes. During this special workshop...more
Head to Roanoke Island in the scenic month of May to enjoy some of the best music of the year at the popular Bluegrass Island Festival. This annual festival has rapidly blossomed into one...more
Celebrate the autumn season at Harvest Heyday, a favorite annual event at the stunning Elizabethan Gardens that invites visitors of all ages to sample the flavors, colors, and fun of the...more
Enjoy a day at the Manteo waterfront and see wooden boats displayed in the water and on the grounds of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum at this special event that pays homage to the...more
The history of Manteo is storied and deep, beginning with the town name's origin itself. "Manteo" was a chief in the local Roanoke Island community of Native Americans who made a long trip oversees as an ambassador of goodwill to the late 16th Century English explorers. Chief Manteo was, in fact, one of the first American residents to travel to Europe as an honored and distinguished guest.
Surprisingly, this is not the most notable footnote of the town's history. Manteo is the home to one of the world's longest running historical mysteries, specifically, the disappearance of the Lost Colony. In 1597, after a series of surface explorations, including one commandeered by Sir Walter Raleigh himself, a new colony was sent to Roanoke Island to settle and begin the English expansion of the New World. Led by John White, the colonists arrived in Manteo and quickly set to building and creating a new settlement. In the process of building a new civilization, John White's own daughter gave birth to the country's first English child, Virginia Dare, for which the Outer Banks home county is named.
Months later, however, supplies had run short, and John White had to make a hesitant trip home to England to resupply the camp. Once in Europe, White found himself bogged down by both government inquires and bad weather, and it wasn't until 1590 that he was able to make the long voyage back to Manteo to bring help to his colony, his daughter, and his new granddaughter. Sadly, when he returned, he found the entire colony had been virtually wiped off the map, with only a minor clue to their fate carved into two neighboring trees: the words "Cro" and "Croatan."
Many modern historians take this as a sign that the colonists, either as a desperate move to escape starvation or outrun threats from neighboring Native Americans, relocated to the southern beaches of Hatteras Island, where the Croatan Native Americans thrived peacefully. However, after long coastline explorations, John White found no sign of his daughter, grandchild, or any other living soul of that first original Roanoke Island Colony.
Today, the drama of the Lost Colony is honored in Manteo with, quite appropriately, an Outdoor Drama. "The Lost Colony" show is the nation's oldest running outdoor drama and features a prestigious cast of former players, including Andy Griffith who starred in the show for several years before becoming a star, and then later returned to the Outer Banks to live out his days as a happy, retired resident.
These days, the show is performed nightly in the summertime to sold-out crowds who enjoy the Broadway worthy singing, dancing, acting and pyrotechnics. Reservations are strongly recommended in the prime June, July, and August months as the legendary show, which also features a post-show meet and greet with the cast of characters, tends to sell out fast.
The area is also home to the majority of the county's local government offices and services, including the county courthouse, the DMV offices, and the administrative county offices. In addition, vacationers in Manteo will find everything from small grocery stores to pharmacies to bait and tackle shops, for any items they might need during their vacation.
For a day trip that's overflowing with the area's most treasured historical attractions, or a relaxing vacation that's off the beaten path, a trip to Manteo should definitely be on the Outer Banks agenda. Vacationers find that after a full day of exploring the shops, sites and attractions, there's still plenty left to see, as well as plenty to love, about this small town with a lot of coastal character.
Where is Manteo, NC?
The town of Manteo is located on Roanoke Island, which is sandwiched in between the central Outer Banks beaches and the eastern North Carolina mainland. It is bordered by the Roanoke Sound to the east, and the Croatan Sound to the west.
How do you get to Manteo, NC?
Visitors from the western part of North Carolina or the Outer Banks can reach Manteo via US 64.
What is there to do in Manteo, NC?
Manteo has one of the highest concentrations of attractions in the Outer Banks. These popular sites include the North Carolina Aquarium, the Elizabethan Gardens, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Roanoke Island Festival Park, the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, the 1800s Island Farm, the Roanoke Island Marshes Light lighthouse, and the historic downtown area. The town also has a wide array of shops, restaurants, art galleries, historic homes, and other distinctive attractions.
Where did the name Manteo come from?
“Manteo” is named after a Native American Croatan Chief who greeted and befriended the early English explorers of Roanoke Island in the 1580s. Manteo helped the first colonists survive their initial winter, and even traveled to England in 1584, and again in 1585.
How old is Manteo, NC?
Manteo is one of the oldest communities in the state of North Carolina, and the country. Founded and settled in the 1580s, the area was the site of the first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, as well as one of the first English settlements in the New World. Centuries later, Manteo would be named the seat of government for Dare County in 1870, and the town was officially incorporated in 1899.
What is the Lost Colony?
The Lost Colony was one of the original colonies in the New World, and was settled in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, the colony suffered from tensions with the nearby Native Americans, as well as a lack of food and supplies. As a result, the colony’s governor, Governor White, left the settlers behind in 1587 to sail to England and ask for help. When he returned in August, 1590, all 115 members of the colony had disappeared, and the only clue of their fate was the word "CROATOAN" scratched onto a post, and the letters “CRO” etched into a tree.
What happened to the Lost Colony?
The fate of the 115 settlers of the 1580s Lost Colony remains a mystery. Some historians believe the colonists tried to sail back to England and did not make it, while others believe that they perished in escalated conflicts with the local Native Americans. Many historians believe that the colonists may have moved south, to Hatteras Island – a theory that was further bolstered by the recent discovery of a 16th century Signet ring in the town of Buxton.
What are the special events in Manteo?
Manteo has a myriad of special events throughout the year. Favorite annual events include the Bluegrass festival in October, the annual Dare Day Celebration in June, the New World Festival of the Arts in August, and a wide range of holiday-themed celebrations.
What are the holiday events in Manteo?
Manteo has a line-up of holiday events that last from November through January. These events include the annual Outer Banks Winter Lights display at the Elizabethan Gardens, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Boat Parade in the historic downtown area, and the annual downtown Christmas Parade.
What are the summertime events in Manteo?
Manteo hosts a weekly summertime farmers’ market on Saturdays in the summer, and the area’s shops and restaurants also have regular special events including live music and outdoor concerts. The Roanoke Island Festival Park features a handful of larger concerts in the summer with nationally recognized performers and bands as well. The town is also famed for its annual Dare Days Festival in June, its New World Festival of the Arts in August, and its 4th of July celebration with fireworks over the downtown waterfront.
How close is Manteo to the beach?
Manteo is roughly a 10-15 minute drive away from the Outer Banks beaches, depending on traffic. Visitors will find a number of public parking areas in the nearby town of Nags Head, as well as within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Where is Downtown Manteo?
Where can you park to explore downtown Manteo?
Streetside parking is available throughout the town, and there are also six public parking areas in the downtown region. These parking lots are found at the following locations:
Can you Dock in Downtown Manteo?
Downtown Manteo offers town docks for visitors who want to explore the downtown area during a day trip. The town also has a number of local marinas that can accommodate transient mariners.
What are the attractions in Manteo, NC?
Attractions in Manteo include the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, the Elizabethan Gardens, the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, the 1800s Island Farm, Roanoke Marshes lighthouse, and the historic Downtown area. The town is also known for its charming collection of shops, boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, and restaurants along the downtown waterfront.
Are there shops and restaurants in Manteo, NC?
Manteo has a wide variety of popular shops and restaurants, especially in the historic downtown area. The town is known for its gift shops, antique stores, art galleries, and other specialty shops and eateries along the waterfront.
Where do you stay in Manteo, NC?
Manteo has a number of smaller hotels and motels, as well as a collection of historic bed and breakfasts. There are also a number of vacation rental homes or condos in Manteo.
What can you do on a rainy day in Manteo, NC?
Manteo has a wide array of attractions for rainy days, like the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, the historic 1918 Pioneer Movie Theater, and the Roanoke Maritime Museum. In addition, the town has a wonderful variety of charming shops, galleries, and restaurants.
When is the best time to visit Manteo?
Manteo is unique on the Outer Banks as it is popular with visitors all year long. The town is especially enticing during the holidays, when the area hosts a number of events, and in the summertime when Outer Banks vacationers make a day trip to explore Roanoke Island’s many attractions.
What are the air temperatures each month in Manteo?
January - high: 52°, low: 36°F
February - high: 54°, low: 38°F
March - high: 60°, low: 43°F
April - high: 69°, low: 52°F
May - high: 77°, low: 59°F
June - high: 84°, low: 69°F
July - high: 88°, low: 73°F
August - high: 86°, low: 72°F
September - high: 81°, low: 68°F
October - high: 72°, low: 58°F
November - high: 64°, low: 49°F
December - high: 56°, low: 40°F
For more than 30 years, Moneysworth Beach Equipment & Linen Rentals has been making your beach vacation packing list shorter and your stay in the Outer Banks more relaxing. With FREE DELIVERY AND PICK-UP to all beach rentals from Hatteras to Corolla, Moneysworth provides the equipment you need to relax at the beach, enjoy the great outdoors, and spend quality time with friends and family in your home away from home.
Vacationers adore the Outer Banks for its unspoiled stretches of undeveloped shoreline, and some may not initially realize that this sporadic lack of development is completely intentional, and is the result of decades of careful environmental planning. While tourism flourished on the beaches, for generations, locals and visitors alike made inquiries and partnerships with government branches to ensure that certain areas of the Outer Banks would always remain pristine, unspoiled, and open to everyone.
Pirate-Themed 18-Hole Minature Golf Course and Arcade with waterfalls, a pirate ship, caves, skulls, and more! So much fun for the whole family! Come to Corolla Light's premier attraction located in Corolla Light Town Center. Your family will love this adventure!
When most Outer Banks visitors think of Nags Head, they imagine a classic beach town filled with warm sunny days, crashing ocean waves, and miles of beaches, shops, restaurants and all the attractions that inherently come standard with an entertaining and well-loved vacation town.
With the best views around and the quickest access to dolphins, Paradise Dolphin Cruises is committed to offering you one of the most amazing experiences of your life! Climb aboard the Kokomo, our 40-passenger catarmaran and the area’s newest dolphin boat, with a canopied top, cushioned seats and restroom. Sunset Dolphin Cruises runs daily. Departs from the Wanchese Docks on Roanoke Island. Get ready to see some of the most beautiful wildlife you have ever seen!
The Outer Banks played a key role in yet another historical milestone, as the birthplace of aviation. The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, a towering granite monument, pays homage to this history changing event, which occurred on the tall sand dunes of the Outer Banks just over a century ago.
Owned by Garry Oliver, the proprietor of the Outer Banks Fishing Pier, this small wooden aqua blue-colored store on the Nags Head-Manteo causeway has been serving the needs of fishermen for decades. A full line of tackle is available for all types of fishing --- surf, pier, inshore and offshore --- with fishing rods stored on the ceiling as well as along the walls. The store is an authorized dealer for major tackle brands, including Fish Bites, Daiwa and Gulp, and has a large selection of fresh, frozen and live bait. In addition, it stocks crabbing supplies, and sells sunglasses, jackets, hoodies, T-shirts and hats. The store also rents outboard and pontoon boats for sound fishing, and is an authorized outlet to purchase state-required recreational fishing licenses. We also offer Dolphin Watching Tours!
The prestigious Whalehead in Historic Corolla has been a dominant attraction to Corolla visitors since it was renovated and opened to the public in 2002. As part of the Historic Corolla Park, the Whalehead in Historic Corolla serves as a northern Outer Banks icon, and a living testament to Corolla and Duck's heyday as a secluded oceanfront retreat for the country's wealthy hunters and conservationists.
OBX Ghost tours is something your family will be talking about the rest of the summer! You'll be entertained as a guide leads you through down town Manteo by lantern telling the spooky stories that makes The Outer Banks one of the most haunted beaches in America! We are The Outer Bank's Only Ghost Tour that uses Ghost Detectors! Book now for the time of your afterlife!
Jarvisburg location is temporally closed. For those traveling to the Outer Banks, The Cotton Gin is a beloved landmark with its large windmill and picturesque gardens. The Cotton Gin has stood in the same location since 1929, starting as a working cotton gin and growing to a gift store with 4 locations. Visitors are treated to a unique shopping experience in our main store in Jarvisburg, as well as our beach stores in Corolla, Duck, and Nags Head. Explore room after room filled with décor for your home and coastal fashions for both men and women. Discover the brands you really want, like, Vera Bradley, Vineyard Vines, La Mer Luex, Simply Southern, Lindsay Phillips, Scout, Pandora, Kameleon, Brighton, Spartina, Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide and Salt Life and Old Guys Rule - all under one roof!
Don’t forget the gourmet market, or shop our beautiful linens for your bedroom and bath. We also feature coastal books and fine art, or just a whimsical fun gift to bring home to family and friends. Stop by soon and don’t forget to try our estate grown wines in our stores or visit our vineyard and winery, Sanctuary Vineyards, located adjacent to the original Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.
Most know The Cotton Gin as a must-stop shop for fine gifts, beachwear, souvenirs and so much more, but this retailer has a long-standing history within the Outer Banks. A local landmark that holds almost a century of memories, The Cotton Gin started from humble beginnings and continues to adapt to the times and tourists. Tommy Wright’s family has been in the Outer Banks for nearly 200 years. His great-great grandfather, Jacob Francis Wright, shipwrecked in Duck back in the early 1800s. Calling these barrier islands his new home, Wright and his family acclimated to their new environment.
Adaptation is a common theme for the Wright family. Tommy and his wife Candace, who continue to steer The Cotton Gin, have seen not only their business change with the times, but the Outer Banks as a vacation destination as well. A farm market in Jarvisburg eventually transformed and flourished into several retail locations dotting the Outer Banks.
“As the area changed and tourism took off in the 1960s, the family saw people coming for vacations, so they began to grow vegetables and things developed from there,” says Tommy Wright. The Wright family expanded upon the farm market and began to remodel a working cotton gin, later transforming the gin into The Cotton Gin general store in the late 1960s. While the additions to the farm store drew visitors, it was their encounters with the Wright family that kept people coming back year after year, which is something that remains true today.
Most all visitors to Corolla will spend at least a sunny afternoon or two at the Historic Corolla Park. This 39 acre site is home to three of the Northern Outer Banks' biggest attractions, the Whalehead in Historic Corolla, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, as well as plenty of gorgeous soundfront grounds that are wide open for visitors to explore.
Now with Axe Throwing! Jumpmasters OBX is the ultimate trampoline park on the Outer Banks with attractions the entire family will enjoy. From open jump trampolines to the dodgeball court, 3-D climbing wall, a foam pit, an epic ninja obstacle course, and more, these fitness activities feature a safe environment for families and groups to make memories while getting their heart rate pumping!
Seasoned visitors to Ocracoke Island love to soak in its rich heritage and culture which dates back to the 1500s, and features some legendary and longstanding residents. Some of the most popular Ocracoke locals are the Wild Ponies, which are protected in a secluded 180 acre area enclosure on the soundside of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but can still be enjoyed by anyone passing through the island on NC Highway 12.