is a city in Halifax County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 16,957 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Roanoke Rapids Micropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20.4 km²), of which, 7.8 square miles (20.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.51%) is water.
It is located on the Roanoke River in North Carolina's Inner Banks at the fall line, which marks the area where an upland region (continental bedrock) and a coastal plain (coastal alluvia) meet. The fall line is typically prominent where a river crosses it, for there will usually be rapids or waterfalls. Because of these features river boats typically could not travel any further inland. Because of the need of a port, and ready supply of water power, settlements often developed where the river crosses the fall line. In fact, this river is what caused Roanoke Rapids to initially develop. Sam Patterson and other textile manufacturers originally built their mills at this point on the river to promote their business in a better location than they previously had.
The most prominent example of fall line settlement was the establishment of the cities along the eastern coast of the United States where the Appalachian Rise and the coastal plains meet.
The seven mile long Roanoke Rapids Canal trail starts at the Roanoke dam and ends roughly a mile after passing the historic aqueduct. The trail is fairly narrow, which limits access only to walkers, runners, and bikers.