people holding up drink glasses in the sun

What Are the Top 19 Events in Manteo, NC?

07/21/2021 | by Pirate's Cove Realty | OBX Events

Everyone knows that the North Carolina Outer Banks is well-known for its vast stretch of sandy beaches. There’s so much more to OBX than just sun and surf. If you search around, you’ll find some hidden gems that may soon become favorites for you and your family. Savor one of the many events in Manteo, NC for a fun and exciting time on our beautiful island! Whether you’re here in the winter to escape the frigid cold of the north or taking a relaxing vacation in the middle of summer, there’s a family-friendly event with food, drinks, and entertainment in every season! 

For more ways to make the most of your time in the Outer Banks, be sure to download our complimentary Vacation Guide.

The Best Events in Manteo, NC

Spring/Summer 

OBX Rod and Custom Festival – May 

Car enthusiasts will love this celebration of vintage and antique automobiles. The OBX Rod and Custom Festival is a two-day Kill Devil Hills event is full of family-friendly activities, food vendors, cruise-ins, and of course, plenty of cars!  

Nags Head Woods 5K Run – May 

The Nags Head Woods 5K Run is the perfect chance to enjoy one of the most beautiful outdoor areas in the Outer Banks while participating in physical fitness! This is one of the longest-running events in Kill Devil Hills and is an excellent way to enjoy part of your Mother’s Day weekend.  

Coastal Gardening Festival – May 

The Coastal Gardening Festival provides an educational showcase of local plants and flowers. In addition to the beautiful exhibits full of colorful plant life, this event features children’s activities, garden art, handcrafted goods, and food. You’ll also find plenty of pertinent gardening information that you can take home with you!  

Dare Day – June 

No, Dare Day isn’t a contest to see who can go through with the most outrageous dare. It’s the big celebration of Dare County! You’ll find plenty of food, live entertainment, pig races, kids activities, and much more along the Shallowbag Bag waterfront during this June event in Manteo, NC. It’s a great place to grab a locally made craft or souvenir to take back home with you to commemorate your trip! 

Sunset Festival – June-August 

The Sunset Festival is a week-long event in Nags Head, where visitors and residents celebrate the beautiful sunsets from the dunes in Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Pick up a kite from Kitty Hawk Kites and fly it from this impressive dune system as you watch the sun dip below Roanoke Sound.  

Fourth of July Celebration – July 

Who doesn’t love a good Fourth of July celebration? Manteo packs in a full day of fun activities, a parade, live entertainment from The Lost Colony Choir, and are just a few of the happenings you’ll find as you stroll through town. This major Manteo, NC event also includes unique featurettes like a firecracker cornhole tournament and a watermelon eating competition. Nighttime fireworks cap of the Independence Day festivities. 

OBX Skim Jam – July 

Once again, Jennette’s Pier is the meeting point for this Nags Head event. The Outer Banks Skim Jam is a fun and exciting competition to watch as the best skim boarders on the East Coast test their skills in the Nags Head surf. 

Freedom 5K – July 

The Freedom 5K is a great way to continue your Fourth of July celebration into the next day. This annual run along one of the most scenic stretches of the beach in the heart of the Outer Banks. A post-race event takes place at the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall where refreshments are available. 

Wright Kite Festival – July 

The Wright Kite Festival commemorates the first flight in the exact location of the birthplace of aviation. The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills hosts this showcase of large kites flying in the beautiful blue skies of the Outer Banks. 

Outer Banks Watermelon Festival – July 

Few things are more refreshing than a slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. The Outer Banks Watermelon Festival takes place in Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, where there is a wide variety of activities revolving around this tasty summer treat. 

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament – August 

Test your angling skills at the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament! This mid-August event features live weigh-ins and a big celebration with food, drinks, and bands! You won’t want to miss this fishing extravaganza in Pirate’s Cove Marina! 

Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament – August 

The Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament takes place during the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament in Manteo, NC. Serious anglers honor Alice Kelly in one of the largest ladies fishing tournaments on the East Coast. 

Fall/Winter 

The Easterns – September 

This week-long Nags Head surfing event offers an exclusive list of some of the best surfers in the country. The ESA Easterns Surfing Championships is a grand-finale event that is one of the top surfing competitions on the Eastern Seaboard. 

Outer Banks Kite Festival – September 

Jockey’s Ridge State Park provides fantastic kite flying opportunities. The Outer Banks Kite Festival is an incredible two-day event in Nags Head that features a large display of high-flying kites in the sky! 

Labor Day 5K – September 

We like to be active in the Outer Banks (in case you didn’t notice by the collection of running events on this list). The Labor Day 5K winds and weaves through the heart of Kill Devil Hills and offers a great opportunity to see the town on foot.  

Outer Banks Seafood Festival – October 

Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than when you’re at the beach. Local cuisine and culinary traditions are on display at the Outer Banks Seafood Festival in Nags Head. You’ll discover just about every type of seafood preparation possible. 

Christmas Tree Lighting – November 

Ring in the Christmas season at the end of November with the Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade in the heart of downtown Manteo. Singing, dancing, and other performances take place outside of the historic courthouse where Santa will also be available to meet with children the town lights up for the holidays. 

Poulos Family Christmas – November-December 

The Poulos Family Christmas is a gorgeous holiday light display that is one of the most beloved Christmas traditions in the Outer Banks. This famous Kill Devil Hills event takes place throughout November and December. 

Celebration of Wright Brothers First Flight – December 

The name of this event says it all! Head to the Wright Brother Memorial to commemorate the launch site of the first flight where a variety of activities and aviation exhibits tell the story of this important event in American history. 

Stay at Pirate’s Cove Resort!

houses lining the streets in the town of Manteo, NC

Pirate’s Cove Resort offers an unparalleled experience in the Outer Banks region. Our extensive collection of vacation homes and condos on the island of Manteo puts you within a 10-minute drive of the beach without all of the traffic that backs up on the main strand of OBX. You can choose from a variety of locations around Manteo, from the gated community of Pirate’s Cove to the shop-lined streets of downtown. Our resort has a long list of exclusive amenities like sports courts, activity areas, and on-site dining that make for a convenient and comfortable stay.


Ready to start planning your trip to our OBX island paradise? Book your property today for an unforgettable adventure! We look forward to meeting you!