Manteo on Roanoke Island

Manteo is a central point on Roanoke Island. The small coastal town is protected by Shallowbag Bay. Beautiful and artistic with historic roots, Manteo offers a slower pace than the other towns in Outer Banks. The marina and replica lighthouse (Roanoke Marshes) is beautiful and offers visitors a glimpse of the past. Visitors come to shop, dine, and take a break from the activity and enjoy history and culture instead. Families and individuals who want to get away enjoy Manteo.

Manteo on Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island is not connected to the same barrier islands that comprise the Outer Banks. It is buffered by the Atlantic Ocean. It is still an island surrounded by water with less sand and a beach. Manteo is more touristy than Roanoke, home to many attractions from Shallowbag Bay to Croatan Sound. One main two-lane road runs the length of the island, US 64 Business.


Manteo is a beautiful place to walk on the waterfront boardwalk or book a dolphin tour. Captain Johnny’s Dolphin Watch is a popular stop for a sailing tour on Downeast Rover along with characters with Sail Outer Banks available. At Kitty Hawk Kites there are kayaking and stand-up paddleboard tours available. Arts lovers can take arts and crafts workshops and classes at Water Street Studio and Island Shop Boutique. Cycle the area and also stop by some of the top attractions:

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: 154,000 acres of wetland habitat featuring endangered species and wildlife along with plants native to the area Route 64/264, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954

Island Farm: historic farm and living museum with period costumes to tell about farm life on Roanoke Island. Hands-on activities and demonstrations are available along with activities for all ages. 1140 US-64, Manteo, NC 27954, Phone: 252-473-6500


Elizabethan Gardens

Elizabethan Gardens is located in Fort Raleigh National Historic site next to Lost Colony Waterside Theatre with beautiful gardens, sculptures, water views, and events all summer long 1411 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954, Phone: 252-473-3234

Lost Colony

Lost Colony is an outdoor theater famous for staging annual summer musical about the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island (a true story) produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association 1409 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954, Phone: 252-473-6000

Photo Credit: (Outer Banks Distilling)

Outer Banks Distilling

Outer Banks Distilling opened in early 2015, the distillery focuses on small-batch white, gold, and spiced rums along with holiday flavors in December. Purchase your very own Kill Devil Rum and get tours and tastings. 510 Budleigh St, Manteo, NC 27954, Phone: 252-423-3011

Photo Credit: (asdonkar)

The Mother Vine

The Mother Vine is about 400 years old and growing the oldest grapevine in North America. Probably planted by Croatan Native Americans or settlers and some call it the ‘mother’ of all vines. Features Mother Vine Wine and other activities like pick-and-eat grapes. Mother Vineyard Road, Manteo, NC 27954

Shopping & Dining

Get out of your comfort zone and try some new culinary treats while on Manteo. Outer Banks chefs and restaurateurs use local fish and shrimp on the daily menus. Try sandwiches and fresh-on-the-plate seafood. Shopping includes visiting places like Bluegrass Island Trading settling in an old-school cottage or settling in with a good read at Downtown Books, an indie bookseller right in Manteo also featuring books, puzzles, greeting cards, and author events. Nose around the old-time goodies at Lucky Dog Antiques, a mix of gently used leather coats, custom skateboards, and jewelry.

Eat to your heart’s content at one of many restaurants on the island. Overlooking the docks at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo NC, Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar is family-owned and offers seasonal seafood, high-quality meats, and views of the water and Bodie Island Lighthouse. Try their bacon chipotle mac and cheese or sesame-seared tuna. Ortega’z Southwestern Grill & Wine Bar offers a distinct flavor with a casual family-friendly atmosphere. Patio and wine bar on offer in the heart of Manteo with a menu featuring local, fresh ingredients. The usual deli food, pizzas, sandwiches, and more are also available at various places around Manteo, NC or Roanoke.


Have your pick of places to stay like small beach houses, bigger homes, motels, you name it. They are Victorian and Craftsman-style homes with B&Bs and Inns that bring a personal touch to Manteo. Tranquil House Inn, White Doe Inn Bed and Breakfast, and more feature personal service and a great offering of a comfy place to bed down for the night (or longer) while exploring your surroundings.

Manteo F.A.Q.

Manteo, NC is located on Roanoke Island, between the central Outer Banks beaches and the eastern North Carolina mainland. Roanoke Sound provides an eastern border and Croatan Sound borders on the west. Downtown Manteo is on the edge of Shallowbag Bay and Roanoke Sound. 


The most unique and popular thing to do on-site is to visit the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama experience and learn the history of what happened to the historic colony settlers. They disappeared without a trace and people have wondered ever since what happened. The drama company plays off the mystery but provides a background steeped in history and culture.

The best time to visit is almost any time as Manteo is popular year-round. The town brings holiday visitors to the area who want to view it during winter but summertime is a great time to visit and see the sites. Visitors may choose to stay somewhere else and come for a day trip or stay for a bit longer to explore the island itself. Summer temps are around 80 to 90 degrees and fall/spring temps can range from 40s to 60s and winter temps closer to 40 or 50 degrees. 


No beaches are right on the mainland. Manteo, NC is around 15 minutes drive from Outer Banks beaches. Visitors can park in public spots in Nags Head or Cape Hatteras National Seashore to explore the beaches, which get crowded during summer months but still have plenty of space to stretch out.