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Manteo’s historic waterfront is a harbor of hospitality and gateway to the outdoors. The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau welcomes visitors to begin their exploration of the barrier islands of the Outer Banks on Roanoke Island, where America’s story began more than 400 years ago. Today, the small waterside village of Manteo offers visitors a festive environment, ideal for anyone interested in history, hospitality, or the adjacent national parks and refuges.
Roanoke Island is nestled between the North Carolina mainland, the Northern Beaches, and Hatteras Island, encircled by the waters of the Croatan and Roanoke Sounds and just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Manteo is known for its bed and breakfasts and coastal inns, which provide intimate lodgings and superior guest services.
The constant sunset illumination of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse punctuates the stunning salt marsh scenery, supporting sailboats of all sizes as they travel off the Intracoastal Waterway in quest of seaside adventure. The 16th century replica sailing ship Elizabeth II watches over the port and invites history buffs to learn about the earliest Atlantic Ocean crossings from her berth at Roanoke Island Festival Park, as a reference to the Outer Banks’ colonial past.
Enjoy live drama beneath the stars at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on summer evenings as The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama continues an 85-year tradition of portraying our country’s early difficulties and achievements. Along with the island’s early European occupants, Roanoke Island has a rich African American history, with Black pioneers of personal liberty arriving during the Civil War. At cultural places throughout Manteo, you might be inspired by the story of the Freedmen’s Colony and other contemporary narratives. Beginning in the late 1800s, Pea Island Lifesaving Station, later a branch of the US Coast Guard, was the first station to be staffed entirely by African Americans.
The Pea Island Cookhouse Museum, which has been rebuilt, chronicles the station’s history as well as the heroic deeds of the brave soldiers who served there. Manteo is home to a number of unique, chef-owned restaurants serving locally produced seafood and a variety of different cuisines ranging from fine dining to street food. To celebrate your Outer Banks discovery, sip crisp cocktails made with local rum distillery spirits or savor taphouse created small batch beers.