The quaint and historic waterfront Town of Swansboro has been long thought of as one of the best-kept secrets at North Carolina’s southern coast. And with so much to see and do both on and off the water, our little gem of a town is getting some attention and word is getting out! Travel planning publisher, Matador Network, has recently included Swansboro as one of the 25 Coolest Towns in America to Visit in 2021!
“Padding through the remote white sands and tranquil marshes of Hammocks Beach State Park feels a world away from civilization. Until the gunshots start. It’s not at all unnerving, though; no impending revolutions are happening on the other side of the pine forest. It’s just a field exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, which shares a border with the park. And if you can handle the gunfire, the proximity makes for one of the most unique beach experiences in America.”
“Hammocks Beach is the crown jewel of Swansboro, a one-time shipbuilding hub that’s comfortably transitioned into a historic destination with North Carolina’s most under-appreciated beaches. Hammock Beach is home to Bear Island, a stretch of completely unspoiled, white powder sand beach that’s only accessible via passenger ferry from the park. Even on a summer weekend, it’s not unusual to be one of the only people sunning under the towering dunes along the shore.”
“But the beach isn’t the only thing that makes Swansboro so cool. The meticulously preserved downtown has buildings that date back over 100 years. Your first stop should be Bake Bottle and Brew, where you can try beers from all over the state, then counteract the effects with local coffee. It’s also one of those snarky souvenir stores where you’ll find yourself inexplicably buying mermaid potholders you never knew you needed.”
“Swansboro’s historic downtown has no shortage of places to get a meal on the water, either. You can scarf fresh seafood at Saltwater Grill, which offers an elevated perspective and the city’s best burger, or enjoy any of the cafes along Front Street. Just don’t be surprised if you see an MV-22 Osprey aircraft motoring in for a landing during your lunch.”
Photo Credit: Marsh Cruises and Onslow County Tourism
COVID-19 Safe Travel Updates:
It looks very hopeful that the Hammocks Beach State Park ferry service which runs every year from April through October and transports visitors to Bear Island will return to normal operation in 2021, from being temporarily suspended for the 2020 season due to Covid-19 restrictions. If you’d like to head over to Bear Island directly from Historic Downtown Swansboro, you can do so via one of our specialty cruise operators, Lady Swan Boat Tours, and Marsh Cruises.
If you’re doing some trip planning, be sure to visit our Safe Travel Portal for up-to-date information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions.