Roanoke Island is just west of Nags Head, NC.
It is eight miles long and two miles wide. It has as its border the Albemarle Sound to its north, Roanoke Sound to its east, Croatan Sound to its west and the community of Wanchese at its southern end. The town of Manteo is located on the northern portion of the island and is the county seat of Dare County.
Roanoke Island was the site of the Roanoke Colony, an English settlement initially established in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh. A group of about 120 men, women and children arrived in 1587. Shortly after arriving in this New World, colonist Eleanor Dare, daughter of Governor John White, gave birth to Virginia Dare. She was the first English child born in North America. The fate of those first colonists remains a mystery to this day and is one of America’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries. Visitors to the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site can watch The Lost Colony, the second-longest-running outdoor theatre production in the United States, which presents a conjecture of the fate of Roanoke Colony.
Manteo has a charming downtown, waterfront area with a variety of shops and restaurants. It is a great walking community. White picket fences frame the yards of historic bungalows reminiscent of a vibrant maritime community. Nearby Wanchese, hosts fishing charter vessels and large warehouses for boat building and seafood processing and distribution.
Located along U.S. Highway 64, a major highway from mainland North Carolina to the Outer Banks, Roanoke Island combines recreational and water features with historical sites and an outdoor theater to form one of the major tourist attractions of Dare County.
Beaches: Soundside beach near the airport has a parking lot and public restrooms.