The Outer Banks is home to a treasure trove of history. From the first English settlers in America to the legends of Blackbeard patrolling the coast in search of riches, our area’s past is full of fact, myth, and legend. One of the best places to uncover knowledge of our history is the Roanoke Island Festival Park. This collection of museums, outdoor adventures, re-enactments, and replicas that are fun to explore for all ages. Trust us; this is a must-see attraction for first-time visitors!
Don’t forget to download our complimentary Vacation Guide for more information on the best ways to experience the Outer Banks!
Roanoke Island Festival Park Highlights
Roanoke Island Festival Park is one of the top attractions in Manteo, featuring an extensive look into the vast history of this beautiful and important island. This piece of land in between the Outer Banks and the North Carolina mainland was home to the landing spot of the first attempt at English colonization. In 1585, around 600 soldiers and sailors crossed the waters of the Atlantic to establish a fort for a future colony. Families then moved to the settlement in 1587, but a lack of food proper living conditions led to a need for an aid expedition to return to England. When ships returned with help, the settlers mysteriously disappeared, and to this day, no one knows what happened to them.
Many other voyages and expeditions sailed back and forth between Europe and the Outer Banks in an effort to continue to establish holdings along the coast. This eventually led the way to the many legends of pirates like Blackbeard plundering boats, stealing treasure, and taking all they could. All of this important and fascinating history is a part of our area, and Roanoke Island Festival Park portrays this to guests in a fun and interesting way.
Roanoke Island Festival Park is full of interactive ways to explore the rich history of our island. Below are more than a handful of attractions, experiences, and sites that create a dialogue on English settlements and Native American history in the area.
The Elizabeth II
If you are gazing out across the bay from downtown Manteo, chances are you’ll spot this regal ship docked at Roanoke Island Festival Park. The Elizabeth II is a reinterpretation of one of the seven vessels that originally sailed to the Outer Banks from England is home to plenty of fun for kids of all ages! Visitors can board the boat and enjoy a variety of activities, including swabbing the deck, steering the ship, firing cannons, playing games, and more! You can also ask the crew any questions about the historic Roanoke Voyages.
American Indian Town
The American Indian Town at the Roanoke Island Festival Park provides a look into Coastal Algonquian life. This unique village showcases what English settlers saw during explorations in the 16th century, consisting of homes, agricultural areas, work shelters, and longhouses. You’ll find interactive exhibits and showcases throughout the town.
The Settlement Site
The Settlement Site allows visitors to step back into the 16th century during the first English settlement on Roanoke Island. A small village setting features customed interpreters such as a blacksmith, soldiers, sailors, a craftsman, and more! Engage in one of the many activities such as woodworking, trying on armor, practicing your English accent, and play Elizabethan games.
You and your kids can take a deep dive into over 400 years of history in the Adventure Museum at Roanoke Island Festival Park. This fun and interactive complex is full of costumes, portraits, journals, and more. From the first settlements on Roanoke Island to the piracy and shipwrecks that took place along the Outer Banks, you’ll find plenty of fascinating information in this museum.
Legend of Two-Path
The Legend of the Two-Path film at Roanoke Island Festival Park is a docu-drama highlighting the Native American perspective of the Roanoke Voyages. This dynamic film is suitable for all ages and is a fantastic presentation.
Roanoke Island Festival Park hosts an extensive variety of tours throughout the year. Group tours for families, Scout troops, and school trips feature special pricing and offer a fun and immersive learning experience. You can also find special summer programs, outreach presentations, and even overnight programs. Check out their Tours & Programs page for more information regarding pricing, travel, and details about your trip!
In addition to the array of activities, shows, and attractions, you can experience a handful of fantastic events at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Rotating art exhibitions, the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, and Girl Scout Day are just a few of the great events that cycle through this beautiful little slice of history every year! Check out their Events page for more information and updates!
Plan your Roanoke Island Experience
Are you searching for a place to have the ultimate Outer Banks getaway? Look no further than Pirate’s Cove Realty. Our incredible selection of house and condo rentals on Roanoke Island provides a variety of fantastic locations that put you close to the top attractions in our area, including a short 10-minute drive to the beach. Enjoy breathtaking views of the sound from your deck at your condo or home in our private gated community or enjoy being steps away from shops, restaurants, and Roanoke Island Festival Park in downtown Manteo. The choice is yours!
Start planning your Outer Banks getaway today by booking one of our properties. We look to welcoming you to Roanoke Island!