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Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site - BEST Places to Picnic

1401 National Park Drive
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Visitor Information
(252) 473-5772

Explore England's First Home in the New World

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site protects and preserves known portions of England's first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590.

This site also preserves the cultural heritage of the American Indians, European Americans and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

Things to Do

Visitor Center

The stories of Roanoke Island are told by exhibits, artifacts and the 17-minute park video Roanoke: The Lost Colony. In the summer, park rangers offer interpretive programs and activities.

Earthen Fort

Earthenworks restored on the site are associated with England's colonization efforts that were sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh from 1584 to 1590. An adjacent spot has confirmed evidence of metallurgical activity from the 1585 exploration expedition.

Nature Trail

The Thomas Hariot Nature Trail offers a 20-minute pocket wilderness experience of the island's natural setting. Wayside signs on the trail relate what English explorers observed of the natural resources and the commodities that could be made from them.

Hiking Trail

The Freedom Trail leads 1-� miles from the nearby Elizabethan Gardens through the park land to the island's western edge, offering a viewshed that the native Algonquians enjoyed from their island home. At the trail's west end, signs discuss the Civil War Battle of Roanoke Island and of freedom found on the island by escaped slaves.


On these small wooded grounds lie many stories of families and their struggles that have continued through time, resulting in the creation of a nation and its people. Here, the first infant cries of English colonization in the New World (1584-1590) burst upon the world. These efforts, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, ended with the disappearance of 116 men, women and children, including two that were born in the New World. The fate of this �lost colony� remains one of the world�s great mysteries.

This site also celebrates the preservation of Native American culture and was the location of an important Freedmen's Colony during the Civil War era. One of the early radio pioneers, Reginald Fessenden, conducted many of his experiments here.

The American tradition of sacrifice, inventiveness, and courage in the face of great adversity was defined by the actions on these grounds and continues to thrive in our national spirit. Visit Fort Raleigh National Historic Site for a visit into our past and a glimpse of our future.


From the North via Norfolk, VA take US-168 South or US-17 South to US158 East to US-64/264 West. The park is located on Roanoke Island, 3 Miles north of the town of Manteo, NC.

From the West, approach Roanoke Island using US-64 East from Raleigh, NC. The park is located on Roanoke Island, 3 miles North of Manteo, NC.

From the South, approach Roanoke Island using I-95 to Rocky Mount, NC then use US-64 East. The park is located on Roanoke Island, 3 Miles north of Manteo, NC.

Ferry Boat
Use departures from Cedar Island, NC or Swan Quarter, NC to Ocracoke Island, then use NC-12 North, leading to a ferry boat departure to Hatteras Island. Continue on NC-12 North to US-64 West. The park is located on Roanoke Island, 3 miles North of Manteo, NC.

Alternative transportation
Privately operated boat slips are available in the area. Nearest rail passenger access is 110 miles from the park in Newport News, Virginia or 150 miles from the park in Rocky Mount, NC, using Amtrak. Nearest bus passenger access is 69 miles from the park in Elizabeth City, NC.

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