The district was created in 1902, when the Bezirksamt München II was dissolved, and the new Bezirksamt Starnberg and Bezirksamt Wolfratshausen were created. Starting in 1939 they were called Landkreis. In 1972 two municipalities (Bachhausen and Höhenrain) from the district Wolfratshausen were added to the district. In the 1978 communal reform the previously 42 municipalities were merged into the current 14 ones.
Since 1982 the district has a partnership with the district Bad Dürkheim in Rhineland-Palatinate. Since 1981 it also has a partnership with the Taipei County (now New Taipei City), which developed after a delegation of parachutists from Taiwan stayed in Starnberg for the 1980 parachuting world championship in Altenstadt/Schongau.