When is the park open?
The park grounds are open every day during daylight hours. The visitor center hours are
- May 26 to August 20
10:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Saturday
9 am to 5 pm Sundays
- After August 20
9 am to 5 pm daily
What does the park’s visitor center offer?
Exhibits, a 17-minute park video and bookstore are offered at The Lindsay Warren Visitor Center. Park and bookstore staff are available for on-site questions and contacting the park by telephone. Park ranger-conducted interpretive programs are offered in the summer months that cover the stories of Roanoke Island and England’s first efforts at colonization in the New World.
Are entrance fees charged to visit the park?
There are no fees to enter the park. Within the park, two non-federal park partners charge admission fees. Contact these partners for more information:
- The Elizabethan Gardens at (252) 473-3234 or visit elizabethangardens.org.
- The Roanoke Island Historical Association at (252) 473-2127 or visit thelostcolony.org.
I heard there is a sailing ship to visit on Roanoke Island. Where is it?
The sailing vessel Elizabeth II is at the state-operated Roanoke Island Festival Park located in the nearby town of Manteo. Call (252) 475-1500 or visit http://www.roanokeisland.com for more information.
I am planning a group visit to the park. Who do I contact to make arrangements?
To schedule a group visit, please call the Lindsay Warren Visitor Center at (252) 475-9001. If planning to visit the Elizabethan Gardens, contact them at (252) 473-3234. For a backstage tour or other plans to learn more about the Lost Colony drama, please contact the Roanoke Island Historical Association at (252) 473-2127.
Are there campsites near the park?
Campgrounds are located approximately 30 minutes drive from the park. The nearest National Park-operated campground is at Oregon Inlet. No utilities are provided except drinking water, shower and restroom facilities. Privately operated campgrounds are also located in the area.
There is a restored earthen fort located on the park grounds. What is its historical context with the story of England’s colonization efforts?
The archeological feature is considered an above-ground remnant of England’s first New World settlement. Restored in the early 1950s, area residents referred to the earthworks as “Fort Raleigh” by the late 1800s. During its restoration, artifacts dated to the late 16th century were discovered. Some of these items are on display in the park’s visitor center.
The earthworks were restored using pioneering methods of historical archeology that are common in the profession today. The earth comprising the fort had settled to just above the ground level by the time of its restoration. However, archeologists studied the stratification of soil to determine the original depth and angles of its ditch, as well as its interior dimensions. Enough information was learned to restore the feature to a more original configuration. Sod was then placed over the sandy soil to preserve the structure.
Does the park have trails for biking or hiking?
Yes, the 1-1/4 mile Freedom Trail leads from near the Elizabethan Gardens through the park grounds to the west side of the island. Hiking and bicycling is permitted on the trail.
From the west end of the Freedom Trail, a paved path for walking or bicycling leads eastward, adjacent to U.S. Highway 64.
I understand that there were messages “CROATOAN” and “CRO” apparently left behind for searchers of the English settlers known as the Lost Colonists. Where can I see the tree and post where these messages were made?
The precise locations where the messages were made are not known. Shoreline erosion may have washed away portions of the original settlement and the acidic soil of Roanoke Island rots timber quickly. So, not much evidence apparently remained when the area was resettled by Europeans nearly 150 years later.
Has the park made recent archeology efforts to locate more evidence of the English settlements and the island’s cultural history?
Yes. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the park and an archeological group to conduct archeology on the park grounds. This group, known as the First Colony Foundation, is comprised of experienced professionals from several disciplines. Plans of the group are to conduct archeological studies in the park for the foreseeable future. For more information on the most recent archaeological discoveries, click here.