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Does Anyone Live on Roanoke Island?

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse Downtown Manteo NC

The town of both Manteo and Wanchese make up Roanoke Island, a landmass that is named after the Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people who once inhabited the island during the 16th century at the time of English exploration of the "New World."

There are a good number of people that call Roanoke Island home year-round. About 1,500 people live in Manteo and 1,600 residents call Wanchese home 12 months out of the year.

Some notable landmarks on Roanoke Island include:

  • Fort Raleigh National Park is a place to learn about some of the first colonists of the "Lost Colony" that traveled from Europe to explore North America.
  • Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse sits along the waterfront and is a sight to behold! Much smaller than any other lighthouses of the Outer Banks.
  • Explore a living memorial to the time period when Sir Walter Raleigh's colonists lived on Roanoke Island some 400+ years ago. The Elizabethan Gardens have exotic and native plants abound as well as statues and fountains.
  • The downtown Manteo waterfront is a place where you'll find numerous interesting shops and art galleries as well as a marina.

There is an elementary, middle, and high school in the town of Manteo that are all regarded as being above average in comparison to other public schools residing in North Carolina. 

Many retirees call Manteo home - Wanchese is more of a working-class place to live with an overwhelming number of fishermen.

Unlike the rest of the Outer Banks, an overwhelming majority of the homes on Roanoke Island are inhabited by residents, not vacationers. If you're searching for a rental home in Manteo or Wanchese, the selection is scarce. Most people who visit the barrier islands decide to book their stay closer to the beach.


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