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About Dare County

Dare County is located in Northeastern North Carolina and stretches along approximately 110 miles of shoreline known as the Outer Banks. Manteo is the County seat and is around 200 miles east of Raleigh. The Virginia Beach area is nearby and offers residents a quick trip to popular restaurants, shopping and an airport in Norfolk. 

The sun sets over a pier in Nags Head. 

The Outer Banks is rich in history and culture. In fact, Dare County is named after Virginia Dare, the first child born in the Americas to English parents. Historians will appreciate the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island and the corresponding history of Sir Walter Raleigh. Ongoing research studies highlight the importance of the Lost Colony to early American history. Additionally, the Wright Brothers Memorial is a popular tourist attraction and symbolizes the innovation that characterizes the culture of the Outer Banks. 

Dare County is home to the Outer Banks. The area is a popular resort and vacation attraction and during the summer season over 300,000 weekly tourists visit for vacation.  Dare County is home 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.

                        A surfer enjoys the waves on the Outer Banks.

There are approximately 33,000 permanent residents in Dare County. 

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.

 
 
 

 

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Learn more about the partnership between the Dare Education Foundation and the school system.