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About Dare County

Dare County, which is located in the extreme eastern part of North Carolina, is bounded on the north by Albemarle Sound and Currituck County; on the west by the Alligator River and Tyrrell County; on the south by Hyde County and Pamlico Sound; and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. The area is 388 square miles (250,105 acres). The elevation of the county ranges from 138 feet at Jockey's Ridge along the Outer Banks to nearly sea level across much of the mainland area.

Dare County, named for Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America, was formed in 1870 from parts of Currituck, Tyrrell, and Hyde counties. The original inhabitants of the region were Native Americans of the Wachapunga tribe. The county was the site of several failed attempts by the English to settle Roanoke Island during the 1580's; the so-called "Lost Colony" of 1587 was the last and largest attempt. Small numbers of English colonists eventually succeeded in settling the region.

The population of the region remained small during the 1700's when the area became a primary haunt for pirates, the most famous of whom was Blackbeard. Manteo, located on Roanoke Island and named in honor of a local Indian chief, is the county seat.

Nags Head was renowned in the 19th Century as a resort area. It and many of the county's other ocean-side towns have again become very popular with tourists in the last several decades.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Raleigh National Monument, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, and the North Carolina Aquarium are all located in the county.

Chris Bingham