Roanoke Island is located between the mainland and Bodie Island or Currituck Banks where Nags Head is located. It is separated from the mainland by the Croatan Sound and separated from Bodie Island by the Roanoke Sound. You can get to Roanoke Island from the mainland via the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge which is also Hwy. 64 and hwy. 264. To cross the Roanoke Sound to Bodie Island take the Washington Baum Bridge across the Roanoke Sound.
Roanoke Island is an ideal place to spend the day exploring. Go camping, hiking, boating, fishing. Visit the NC Aquarium, Elizabeth II State Historic Site and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Explore the wetlands. See the outdoor drama the Lost Colony. Check out the Elizabethan gardens during the summertime.
Roanoke Island is 11 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. Although small, the island had a big impact on history. It is the site of the first English colony in America (1587). The colony was known as the Lost Colony because the first colonists disappeared without a trace. Circumstances behind the disappearance of the colony remains a mystery.
There are 2 main towns on the island, Manteo and Wanchese. In Manteo area, (north side of island) see the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Waterside Theatre, Linsay Warren Visitors Center, Roanoke Island Festival Park, North Carolina Aquarium and Dare county Airport Recreation Area. Shop at Manteo's Waterfront shops. Wanchese, on the southeast side of the island, is a fishing village with public boating access.
Boating access locations are at Manteo and Wanchese. There is another boat ramp at the Dare County Airport recreation area.
The Roanoke Festival Park has an interactive adventure museum and 2 living history interpretive sites the Elizabeth II ship and the settlement site. The Elizabeth II is a full scale replica of a sixteenth century sailing vessel. It is an interesting stop because the guides or interpreters are dressed in Elizabethan dress. The ship is 69 feet by 17 foot. It is fully seaworthy. The Settlement site is equally as interesting as the interpreters are also dressed in costumed. There are also children's programs, performing arts and concerts during the summer. Visit the art gallery with changing monthly exhibits.
At Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, watch the outdoor drama, The Lost Colony preformed at the Waterside Theater. The fort is the restored earthworks of the fort that was built to protect the 1587 colonists.
The Elizabethan Gardens is a 10 acre formal garden created in 1960.