Uncover the hidden treasures of Manteo, a vibrant destination in North Carolina’s Outer Banks

Manteo is a delightful and historic town situated on Roanoke Island in the heart of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This charming destination offers visitors a unique blend of attractions, activities, and cultural experiences that showcase the town’s rich history and picturesque beauty. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as we unveil the top 10 things to do in Manteo.

1: Explore the Elizabethan Gardens

Nestled on the edge of Roanoke Island, the Elizabethan Gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting Manteo. Inspired by 16th-century English gardens, this enchanting oasis features seasonal blooms, intricate sculptures, and tranquil water features. During the holiday season, the annual Winter Lights event transforms the gardens into a magical wonderland, adorned with thousands of twinkling lights that create a festive and unforgettable atmosphere.

2: Discover the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama

Experience the nation’s longest-running outdoor symphonic drama, which tells the captivating story of the Lost Colony. This spectacular production combines live performances, stunning sets, and a breathtaking outdoor stage to bring the mystery of the vanished Roanoke Island settlers to life. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in this unique piece of American history.

3: Tour the Roanoke Island Festival Park

Roanoke Island Festival Park offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past, with historical exhibits and interactive experiences that showcase life in the 16th century. One of the park’s highlights is the Elizabeth II, a replica sailing ship that allows guests to experience life aboard an English vessel during the Age of Exploration.

4: Stroll Along the Manteo Waterfront

Spend a leisurely afternoon wandering along Manteo’s picturesque waterfront, where you’ll find an array of local shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The vibrant atmosphere and stunning views of the Roanoke Sound make this a perfect spot for a relaxing stroll or a delicious meal.

5: Visit the Manteo Lighthouse

Make your way to the historic Manteo Lighthouse, also known as the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. This charming lighthouse, with its distinctive white and red exterior, overlooks the picturesque Shallowbag Bay. Although the lighthouse is not open for climbing, its scenic location makes it a perfect spot for photo opportunities and enjoying the peaceful waterfront atmosphere.

6: Take a Scenic Bike Ride on the Roanoke Island Trail

The Roanoke Island Trail is a scenic biking and walking route that showcases the island’s natural beauty and historical landmarks. As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter picturesque views of the Roanoke Sound and an abundance of local flora and fauna.

7: Visit the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is home to a diverse collection of marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of fish species. With interactive experiences and educational programs available for all ages, the aquarium provides a fun and engaging way to learn about the rich biodiversity of the Outer Banks.

8: Step Back in Time at Island Farm

Island Farm is a living history museum that transports visitors back to the 19th century to experience life on a rural Roanoke Island farm. With hands-on experiences and demonstrations, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the hard work and resourcefulness of the island’s early settlers.

9: Relax at the Outer Banks Distilling

Located in the heart of Manteo, Outer Banks Distilling produces handcrafted rum using traditional techniques and locally sourced ingredients. Take a tour of the distillery to learn about the rum-making process and enjoy a tasting of their delicious spirits.

10: Attend the Manteo First Friday Celebration

If you happen to be in town on the first Friday of the month, don’t miss Manteo’s First Friday Celebration. This lively street festival takes place in downtown Manteo and features live music, local food, and art. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the vibrant community and experience the town’s unique charm.


With its diverse and unique activities and attractions, Manteo is an irresistible destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty and history of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Whether you’re strolling along the picturesque waterfront, learning about the area’s rich history, or simply soaking in the laid-back atmosphere, you’re sure to fall in love with the charm of this coastal town. Plan your visit to Manteo today and discover all that this Outer Banks gem has to offer.