Manteo NC Town Vacation Information and History

Surrounded by water and accessible only by boat or bridge - the town of Manteo, North Carolina is located on the eastern side of Roanoke Island, and is considered to be part of Outer Banks. Incorporated in 1899, this waterfront community was named the seat of state for Dare County in 1870.

Fun fact: Manteo is home to more bed and breakfasts than the other Outer Banks town.

Roanoke Island is home to Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, famed site of the first English Colony in the New World. You can still walk the grounds where Queen Elizabeth I established a lone military outpost in 1585 for raiding Spanish ships laden with Aztec gold. In 1587, just over 110 men, women and children sailed to the Outer Banks to scratch out a new life in an unexplored land. All that remains is their earthen fort that is still available to the public today. No one ever saw them again. 20 years later, the English would claim a stake in the New World again, at Jamestown.

Roanoke Island is home to the Freedman's Colony, a place of safe haven during the Civil War where African-Americans could escape slavery if they could just make it across the Roanoke and Croatan Sounds. A marker located at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site recounts their humble beginnings. Freedman's Colony is an official honorary stop along the Underground Railroad.

The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, and the Elizabethan Gardens are two popular attractions located on the north side of the island.

The Aquarium has a 1/3 scale replica of the U.S.S. Monitor as the centerpiece for their Graveyard of the Atlantic tank, patrolled by sand tiger sharks, barracuda, and other fish found along offshore reefs.

Elizbethan Gardens is home to an English pleasure garden, exquisite statuary, and a walking trail that takes you into a world of rare roses, tea shrubs, and a cornucopia of camellias and azaleas.