The Outer Banks is filled with history just as vast as its beaches. With tales about the first settlers and the mysterious lost colony to the first moments of flight, the OBX has many historic sites for the American history lover to take in. For a week of learning and exploration on the Outer Banks, follow our history travel planner for beautiful sites and memorable attractions.
DAY 1 – THE LOST COLONY
Watch as the history and mystery of The Lost Colony come to life at this must-see production. Now in its 80th season, see experienced actors, dancers, singers, and musicians reenact the story of 117 settlers who made their home on Roanoke Island in 1587 and mysteriously vanished just 3 years later. With appearances from Queen Elizabeth’s court, colonists, and Native Americans, brush up on your history while being entertained by these talented performers and set designs at the beautiful outdoor theatre.
1409 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC
The show runs Monday – Friday at 7:30 pm starting the last week of May and running through the mid-August.
DAY 2 – GRAVEYARD OF THE ATLANTIC
If pirates, shipwrecks, and Civil War stories peak your interest, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras offers wonderful exhibits and storytellers to share fascinating stories of historic events that took place on Hatteras Island. There is something for all ages with scavenger hunts, guided tours, presentations about local culture, fishing, life-saving stories, and much more!
59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC
Open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
DAY 3 – WRIGHT BROTHER’S NATIONAL MEMORIAL
It is amazing to think that within many Americans’ lifetimes they were able to witness the great strides in aviation, from hearing about the first flight of the Wright Brothers in 1913, to seeing the first space shuttle launch just 78 years later in 1981. Local historians at the Wright Brother’s National Memorial give great insight into what that day was like for the brothers and what it meant to the world. Replica gliders, flight times and markers, a replica camp site, museum and the monument all pay tribute to the birthplace of aviation and its founders at this stunning, historic site in Kill Devil Hills.
1401 National Park Drive
Milepost 7.5, N. Croatan Hwy, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Open daily 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
DAY 4 – ROANOKE ISLAND FESTIVAL PARK
Roanoke Island Festival Park gives history lovers a glimpse into what life was like for the first settlers and Native Americans. This family-friendly park has something for all ages. An American Indian town, settlement site, Elizabeth II replica ship, and the adventure museum are hands-on and inactive exhibits that help transport you back in time.
1 Festival Park, Manteo, NC
Open daily March 1st – December 31st from 9 am – 5 pm (closed for holidays)
DAY 5 – FORT RALEIGH NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Explore England’s first home in the new world at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in Manteo. This location protects and remembers the settlers that lived there from 1584 to 1590. It also brings to light the culture and community of Native Americans and African Americans and their time on the island. The site includes exhibits about the inhabitants, their stories, and an archeological site.
1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC
Open daily from sunrise to sunset
DAY 6 – CHICAMACOMICO LIFE-SAVING STATION
Rich maritime history fills the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. This site honors the heroes that saved the numerous shipwrecked crews along the Outer Banks. Visitors learn more about the historic timeline of the station and stories about those that worked there though their tours, programs, reenactments, and special events.
23645 N.C. Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC
Open April – November, Monday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm
DAY 7 – OUTER BANKS LIGHTHOUSES (Ocracoke, Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, Manteo, Currituck)
The Outer Banks lighthouses have lite the way for captains and crews for years and have become well-known, must-see landmarks for OBX travelers. Spend the day taking a scenic drive through the Outer Banks and touring each of these lighthouses. Several lighthouses provide exhibits with their personal history and fascinating stories from the past.
Ocracoke – North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in operation
Lighthouse Rd, Ocracoke, NC 2960
Open daily to see at your leisure. Does not offer tours or climbs.
46368 Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC 27920
Open April through Columbus Day from 9 am – 4:30 daily. $8 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children.
8210 Bodie Island Lighthouse Rd, Nags Head, NC 27959
Open April through Columbus Day from 9 am – 5 pm daily. $8 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and children.
Roanoke Marshes Light
104 Fernando Street, Manteo, NC 27954
Open daily 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
1101 Corolla Village Rd, Corolla, NC 27927
Open March 14th – November 26th from 9 am – 5 pm. $10 to climb. Children 7 & under are free.