Discover > Outer Banks History > Fort Raleigh

Fort Raleigh

Step into history.
The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site sits on 513 acres on the north end of Roanoke Island just three miles from the historic town of Manteo. Established in 1941, the park commemorates the first English attempts to colonize the New World from 1585 to 1587. Sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, the efforts ultimately ended with the disappearance of 117 men, women and children, a mystery that still remains unsolved. The site is acclaimed as the birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in America before the colony vanished without a trace.

Today, the park is home to a visitor’s center, museum, Elizabethan Gardens, The Lost Colony outdoor drama, historic tour trail, gift shop and picnic area. Its mission has expanded to encompass the preservation of Native America culture, the American Civil War, the Freedom's Colony and the activities of radio pioneer Reginald Fessenden.

Some of the park's most popular visitor activities include attending a live performance of The Lost Colony outdoor drama in the park's Waterside Theatre; strolling through the Elizabethan Gardens, an accurately reproduced early English garden; and viewing the 17-minute film "Roanoke" at the visitors center to learn the background of the Roanoke voyages and Sir Walter Raleigh's efforts to colonize the area.

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