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Coastal towns of Jacksonville, Richlands, Sneads Ferry, Swansboro, and North Topsail Beach

Family fun adventures await in Onslow’s Great Outdoors. Our coastal North Carolina location makes being out on the water nearly a year-round opportunity with a variety of adventures on tap. As home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, our area is steeped in military tradition and history that inspires our visitors to experience a unique and palpable sense of heartfelt patriotism that is all their own. From our rural coastal plains region, all the way out to North Topsail Beach, Sneads Ferry, and the quaint and historic waterfront town of Swansboro, unforgettable memories are made in Onslow.

Onslow’s Great Outdoors

Onslow is an ideal getaway for vacationing families seeking a variety of fun and unique experiences. Located just 2.5 hours from Raleigh, Onslow is also a convenient place to stay and a short drive to many regional coastal North Carolina attractions and points of interest.

  • Escape the ordinary and spend an afternoon out on the New River in Sneads Ferry with Ghost Fleet Oyster Co., a chartered oyster farm tour. Feel the breeze coming off the water along a marsh cruise from Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro out to Bear Island for a leisurely family day at the beach.
  • Bait a hook and enjoy pier or kayak fishing in Jacksonville or head offshore on a fishing charter for a guided deep water fishing and sight-seeing adventure in North Topsail Beach or Sneads Ferry.
  • Take in the amazing scenery and enjoy a casual waterfront dining experience in Historic Downtown Swansboro.
  • Enjoy dinner and a river cruise at sunset with Captain Bob Beck at Marina Cafe in Jacksonville.
  • Head inland to the coastal plains town of Richlands to Mike’s Farm for a southern-cooked dinner as well as their many events and family activities throughout the year.

Local Seafood & Marine Life Excursions in Sneads Ferry

A family can make a day of it in Sneads Ferry by embarking on a scenic boat ride to a coastal island to explore, swim and picnic, or enjoy an evening adventure aboard a working shrimp trawler to experience firsthand the variety of marine life in the New River. Sneads Ferry is known as the “Shrimp Capital of the East Coast,” and a chartered excursion with Reel Livin’ Fishing Charters provides a truly memorable and authentic experience.

Lunch or dinner at the legendary Riverview Cafe will delight fresh seafood lovers. They offer a daily menu with many southern-style mouthwatering dishes as well as the area’s well-known Stump Sound oysters, which are a favorite among oyster lovers and are harvested locally along the NC Stump Sound, a seven-mile stretch of water from Sneads Ferry to North Topsail Beach.

Coastal Camping & Eco-tours in Swansboro

In addition to being known for its over forty unique shops, boutiques and restaurants, Swansboro is also the vortex for some amazing water recreation, outdoor adventure, and family fun!

Whether it be by kayak or paddleboard, Swansboro Paddle Boarding provides expertly guided tours of Swansboro’s local waterways and now has a 5-acre private island with ten individual tent sites available for rent, ready for family-fun, adventure-filled primitive camping experiences and relaxation.

Fresh seafood, a clambake or an authentic low country boil make for great family get-togethers while in Swansboro, Whether it be while out on a chartered excursion or while enjoying the outdoor seating area overlooking the beautiful White River, The Boro Low Country Kitchen provides all the service and deliciousness for a truly memorable experience with family and friends.

Enjoy an exclusive cruise along the backwaters of Swansboro’s coast. Get off the beaten path with Captain Darryl, of Marsh Cruises, to enjoy views of the coastline, an area known for more than 200 species of birds. Enjoy dolphin watching along the way during a visit to Bear and Sand Dollar Islands for an afternoon of shelling.

Local Traditions in Onslow County

Onslow County is ripe with local family-owned businesses that are passionate about the legacy they are creating for the next generation and beyond. Passion for their craft and working in the place where they grew up and raised a family conveys a realness to our visitors who enjoy a genuine and authentic connection while in our area. In Onslow, the magic is about our people, the stories they tell, and their amazing experiences.

  • Mike’s Farm began with Mike and Teresa Lowe selling Christmas trees.  Today, joined by their daughter Caitlin and her husband, they own and operate a multi-faceted agri-tourism business consisting of a 400-seating capacity family-style restaurant, wedding barn, bakery, gift shop, seasonal produce, and year-round events. A new store opening this fall showcasing exclusively NC products.
  • Don Walton is a local attorney with an office in Downtown Jacksonville, who created Walton’s Distillery, a small-batch craft distillery manufacturing corn whiskey and moonshine. Many of the distillery’s products are named after his ancestors and relatives. His son, Grey, is involved in growing the business. They host Open Houses (aka Distillery Sessions) seasonally that feature live bluegrass music, food, and tastings.
  • It’s a second and third generation father and son partnership manning the helm of the Riverview Café, a waterfront landmark restaurant in business since 1946. Seventy-three years serving fresh local vegetables in season, country favorites and fresh locally caught seafood, mostly from the New River and coastal waterways of Onslow County.

Women Making an Impact on Tourism in Onslow County, NC

Onslow County is home to many interesting and inspired local women entrepreneurs and business owners that help make our communities a great place to live and visit. Their love and passion is woven into what they do, and it’s what brings people back to Onslow County, time and time again. Creating family legacies, combined with a strong work ethic, and a deep love for the central coast of North Carolina are all part of the unique stories they share. Learn more here.