Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner! As a coastal North Carolina military community and Home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, we are honoring the American heroes that gave it all in service to our country as we kick-off the summer season. We hope you join us! Here are 10 ways to enjoy a safe and relaxing weekend in Onslow County. All of the businesses listed have health safety measures in place to ensure your safety and a good time for all! Visit their Facebook pages and websites for more details. Also, be sure to practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and wear a mask when at all possible.
If you like the idea of leaving the mainland behind, cross over the wide-span bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway, where you can quickly settle into vacation mode. On North Topsail Beach, you’ll find plenty of free parking at two public beach accesses as well as lots of wide-open beaches for sunbathing and fishing. On all of Onslow County’s uncrowded family beaches, you can unwind into a leisurely day focused on the sound of the waves or chatting with your friends. For longer stays, consider a beach cottage or multi-level oceanfront rental. PUBLIC NOTICE – Onslow County Beach Accesses
Tour Lejeune Memorial Gardens
Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a place to reflect and honor our American military servicemen and women in light of the sacrifices that they have made in defense of our country and our freedoms. Located at the gateway to Downtown Jacksonville, and nestled amidst North Carolina pines and a beautiful landscape, it is a true place of beauty to pause and reflect on the awe of the American patriotic spirit. Check out Jacksonville’s Virtual Memorial Day Observance and schedule a guided tour of the gardens on May 25th.
Shelling at Bear Island
For an even more isolated and a feels-like-you’re-the-only-one-here experience, head over to Bear Island, which is accessible only by the Hammocks Beach State Park by private boat. There you’ll find over three miles of unspoiled island beachfront, with all the salty air, wave action, and large seashells that you want. Marsh Cruises offers sunset, shelling, and night excursions along Bogue and Bear Inlets. Charter a day or evening sunset cruise aboard his 23-foot Bay Rider Skiff, and owner Captain Darryl, will take you to the best spots for finding sand dollar seashells. Other shelling excursions to Bear Island include Lady Swan Boat Tours, Pogie’s Fishing Center, Swansboro Paddle Boating, and Paddle NC.
Sunset Tour on the Water
Explore Swansboro by sea on the Lady Swan, a 40’ Coast Guard inspected pontoon boat that cruises Swansboro’s surrounding waters. Known for its scenic sunset cruises, the Lady Swan features a fully shaded top, comfortably padded seats, and onboard restrooms. Yes, you and your guests will be cruisin’ the coast in style! Experience the Lady Swan’s popular historic and nature cruises, too. Both are a great way to discover Swansboro’s local history and distinctive coastal beauty.
Enjoy Take Out at One of Our Restaurants
Onslow County has a culinary delight for everyone’s tastes, from authentic North Carolina barbeque to local fresh-caught seafood at one of our renowned waterfront restaurants, where your dining experience can include the added ambiance of the beautiful coastal scenery.
The perfect getaway calls for an exploration of the best local cuisine. Sample traditional mouthwatering southern delicacies, indulge a pasta craving, some good authentic Mexican, or your favorite sushi. Endless options are available and we’re sure your taste buds will be satisfied. List of Restaurants offering to-go.
Kayaking & Paddle Boarding
Enjoy paddling the waterways in Onslow County! Whether you are an expert or a beginner looking to enjoy some easy recreation in Onslow’s Great Outdoors, we have many access points throughout Onslow County…along the Intercoastal Waterway in Swansboro, at Hammocks Beach State Park, or at North Topsail Beach. Check out our outfitters and outposts for gear and guided tours!
Recreational, sport and commercial fishing has deep roots in our coastal communities of Onslow County. If you’re interested in casting a line or two, you might catch your own dinner and enjoy seafood at its freshest! List of all fishing outlets
For the land-based angler, head over to Seaview Fishing Pier or enjoy walking along North Topsail Beach and fish the surf and the areas around the inlets. Be sure to obtain a permit and review the rules and regulations from the Town of North Topsail Beach.
Saltwater fishing from both land and boat is an anglers dream in Onslow. You’ll find an abundance of speckled trout, flounder, red drum, bluefish, sea mullet(whiting), croaker, Spanish mackerel, and spot in our waters. Those that have larger boats can fish for cobia, Mahi (dolphin), king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, grey trout, flounder, black sea bass, various groupers and more. Unless you are fishing from a pier, head boat or charter, you must have the appropriate license to fish saltwater.
Freshwater fishing opportunities are available along the New River in Jacksonville and the White Oak River in Swansboro. Anglers enjoy catches of speckled trout, red drum, flounder as well as largemouth bass, sunfish and white catfish.
Visit NCWildlife.org to obtain information about obtaining a fishing license in addition to rules, regulations and related guidelines.
Cruise the New River with Bayonet Cruises
Board Bayonet Enterprises Cruise private yacht charter for a relaxing day on the water. Cruise along the New River and enjoy the sights of downtown Jacksonville and the surrounding wildlife. Choose from a champagne brunch, lunch cruise, sunset retreat, a mini overnight getaway, and more.
Local Strawberries & Products at Mike’s Farm
Seasonal treats are yours for the picking at Mike’s Farm in Beulaville. Mid-April through late May, fill your baskets with ripe, juicy strawberries fresh from the field. The NC Products Barn is home to the largest variety of products that are all produced, manufactured, and crafted in our great state. From the Mountains, Piedmont, and the Coastal Plains they hope to have all 100 counties represented. From suspenders, pottery, and mismatched socks to specialty coffee, handcrafted foods and unique wines there truly is something for everyone!
Being outdoors and active is front and center in Onslow County. We love our great outdoors, it’s a big part of our lifestyle! Visitors will find opportunities for a wide variety of recreation and family fun activities at our parks throughout the area including along our waterfront towns, at the beach, as well as throughout the City of Jacksonville and Richlands.
Paddle trails, bicycle routes, tennis, playgrounds, picnic areas, basketball courts, disc golf, splash pads – you name it! We encourage you to visit Onslow County’s Recreation & Parks website as well as the Recreation & Parks – Jacksonville, NC Facebook Page for a whole slew of happenings and activities to enjoy throughout the year. List of Parks.