OBX Day Trips Part 1 – Roanoke Island

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OBX Day Trips Part 1 – A List of Great things to do on Roanoke Island

The Sea Ranch Resort is a great launching pad for day trips while you visit the Outer Banks

As we mentioned in our last blog, the Outer Banks are world famous for their beaches. Indeed, people often simply say they are going to the Beach when referring to a trip to the Outer Banks. What visitors quickly discover is that the Outer Banks are rich in activities and attractions in addition to the beaches. When planning your OBX Day Trips, it’s often best to pick a general direction and then explore from there. Here at the Sea Ranch Resort in Kill Devil Hills, visitors are lucky that they are centrally located for many of the places that make great OBX day trips. This article focuses on one of the best kept secrets about the OBX and one locals love: Roanoke Island. We came up with a simple list of places and ideas there for an inspiring day trip. Roanoke Island is a special place and we highly recommend spending at least a day (or two!) there. When you do, here are some suggestions of places to visit and things to do:

  1. Manteo: Head to downtown Manteo and stroll along the quaint waterfront shops. Walk to Festival Park and enjoy views of Roanoke Sound.
  2. The North Carolina Aquarium: A favorite for locals with children, this attraction features underwater wildlife of the area and also has a turtle rehabilitation center.
  3. Elizabethan Gardens: A stunning place to visit, the gardens feature the rich biodiversity of our coastal plains and tidewaters.
  4. Lost Colony: This classic outdoor theatre with a show about the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island is quite popular and something everyone should see at least once.
  5. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: The Outer Banks is within an hour’s drive of 11 Wildlife Refuges and Alligator River is amongst the finest. The visitors center on the island is a great place to start. Red Wolves and Black Bears are only some of the denizens of this vast wetland park.
  6. Island Farm: Go back in time on a colonial-era farm – your kids will love it!
  7. Festival Park: This outdoor amphitheater is right on the Sound and a great place to walk even when there isn’t a show. Walkable from downtown Manteo.
  8. Manteo Farmers Market: East Carolina has many diverse farms; this market offers a vibrant sample of fresh and high quality local produce.
  9. Airport Museum: Roanoke Island has a small airport with a rich history. The museum is a great place to learn how local aviation has many layers besides the Wright Brothers.
  10. Front Porch Cafe: Manteo is one of three locations for this local coffee shop. We put this on the list because you might need a pit stop after having so much fun. Bare feet allowed!
  11. Nags Head Pizza Company: New to the Outer Banks, the Nags Head Pizza Company is a good place for a snack. It’s located right on the causeway so you can have a before or after snack here.

As the above selections suggest, Roanoke Island is a beautiful community steeped in history. This small island in Roanoke Sound is on the opening pages of our country’s first chapter; just being there is an experience. Walk around downtown Manteo, grab a bite at one of the eateries and take time to imagine what it was like there hundreds of years ago. You will learn why local residents regularly plan their OBX Day Trips to Roanoke Island!


The Sea Ranch Resort is an oceanfront hotel located in Kill Devil Hills, NC. We are a pet-friendly facility with ocean view condos and amazing beach access. Our oceanfront dining restaurant, the OBX Beachside Bistro is one of a kind in relation to its location right on the beach itself. We are also a one stop shop for an affordable NC beach wedding as well as family reunions and group visits.
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