Dare County was formed in 1870 and is named in honor of Virginia Dare, the first child born of English parents in America. The County contains much of what is known as North Carolina's "Outer Banks" resort and vacation areas and contains approximately two-thirds of the North Carolina coastline. It is the host to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers National Monument, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Jockey's Ridge State Park, the Elizabeth II State Historic Site, the Roanoke Island Festival Park, the North Carolina Aquarium and the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve.
Dare County has a permanent population of approximately 33,920. However, the county's tourism industry results in a large seasonal population with an average daily population from June through August estimated to be approximately 225,000 to 300,000.
Six municipalities are located within the county: Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Manteo, Nags Head and Southern Shores. The County has a Commissioner / Manager form of Government. The seven members of the Board of Commissioners serve staggered four-year terms.