Things to Do

Sunset over the water
Sunset over Albemarle Sound

National Park Service


View a schedule of Ranger Programs here. Ranger programs are offered spring through October, with expanded programming offered Memorial Day through Labor Day.
1896 Monument
Close-up of the stonework

National Park Service

1896 Monument
See the monument that marks the beginning of on-site preservation efforts. The stone marker commemorates the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America, and the baptism of the Croatoan native Manteo by the English.

Part of the reconstructed earthwork

National Park Service

Archeological evidence reveals an earthwork and metallurgical activity were present on this site in the 1580's. Copper nuggets, charcoal, antimony ore and furnace bricks were discovered just west of the earthwork and could be the workshop site of Joachim Gans, a metal expert on the 1585 expedition. The earthwork seen today was reconstructed in 1950.

Dark stone monument in an outdoor plaza surrounded by trees
Detailed etching on the First Light of Freedom monument

National Park Service

First Light of Freedom
The First Light of Freedom monument commemorates the Roanoke Island Freedman's Colony that was set up during the American Civil War. The colony provided a safe haven and education for the formerly enslaved to help prepare them for a new life.

Freedom Trail
View of the Croatan Sound

National Park Service

Freedom Trail
Explore the maritime forest along this 1.25-mile trail that ends with views of the Croatan Sound on the western edge of the park. The trail ends near the location where the Freedmen's Colony and Civil War forts once stood. Return by the trail or use the bike path along Hwy. 64 for a loop back to the visitor center of 2.5-miles.

A sign nestled in woods overlooking the water
Path through the maritime forest

National Park Service

Thomas Hariot Trail
Walk this 0.3-mile loop through the island's maritime forest to the sandy shores of Albemarle Sound. Enjoy interpretive signs along the way describing the forest habitat, the Algonquian methods for gathering food and resources the English found valuable on Roanoke Island.

Outdoor theater on the waters edge
Main stage of the Waterside Theatre

National Park Service

Waterside Theatre
View the home of The Lost Colony, an outdoor symphonic drama performed by a park partner, the Roanoke Island Historical Association. The performance is the nation's first and longest running outdoor symphonic drama.

Sandy beach view with trees.
Etheridge Point Beach offers spectacular views and calm, warm waters.

NPS Photo

Etheridge Point Beach

At Etheridge Point, a small, sandy, southside beach is the perfect place to explore the calm waters of the sound. The sound is usually calmer and warmer than the ocean, and is a great place to play, swim, or just relax in the water.

Etheridge Point provides some of the most expansive views of the Outer Banks. From this location, you can see Jockey's Ridge, the Wright Brother's Monument, and Colington Island.

This beach is not lifeguarded. All pets must be on a leash for the safety of the park wildlife and other visitors.


Fort Raleigh National Historic Site allows fishing as a means of providing for public enjoyment, and customary and traditional use, and regulates fishing to ensure that it is managed in a manner that avoids unacceptable impacts to park resources. Read more about fishing the Albemarle Sound at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

Last updated: September 5, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


252 473-2111

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