Welcome to the Town of Swansboro, a beautiful and historic waterfront community located at the mouth of the White Oak River, where the river joins the Atlantic Ocean and flows past the pristine beaches of Bear Island.
Founded in 1783, the “Friendly City by the Sea” offers a historic downtown district overlooking the water, numerous opportunities for coastal recreation, and a progressive town government that works to balance high quality community growth with conservation of the community’s natural and historic resources.
Hammocks Beach State Park
The home of Hammocks Beach State Park and its unspoiled beaches, Swansboro boasts a beautiful small harbor adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and is only three miles from coastal recreational facilities in the Croatan National Forest.
The unique village atmosphere in Swansboro’s historic downtown area offers opportunity to enjoy the community’s heritage while shopping in an area alive with restaurants, boutiques, gift shops, and waterside parks.
Host to a wide variety of major events – from the Arts by the Sea Festival, the Mullet Festival, Candlelight Shopping, and the Christmas Flotilla to an annual Oyster Roast, an annual Pig Cook-Off, the Blue Water Fishing Tournament, the King Mackerel Tournament, and the Speckled Trout Tournament – Swansboro offers some of the best hospitality on the North Carolina coast.
Popular activities available in Swansboro and the surrounding area include beach-going, fishing, boating, camping, kayaking, golf, shopping, the arts, and amusement parks.
Settlers first came to Swansboro around 1730, founding a community on the site of an Algonkian Indian village at the mouth of the White Oak River. The colonial port town of Swannsborough was incorporated in 1783 – named in honor of Samuel Swann, who had been speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. The community’s early prosperity was based on shipbuilding, and its most famous shipbuilder was Captain Otway Burns. Burns, whose exploits as commander of the privateer vessel Snapdragon brought early attention to Swansboro, was also the builder of the Prometheus, the first steamboat constructed in North Carolina.
Although its shipbuilding industry declined, Swansboro found new prosperity in lumber and naval stores, and, in the mid-Twentieth Century, in the commercial fishing industry. Beginning with World War II, Swansboro, like most of Onslow County, began experiencing an economic boost from the nearby establishment of Camp Lejeune, one of the U.S. Marine Corps’ largest bases, and from the growth of coastal tourism – trends that continue today.
With its remarkable heritage, scenic views, great hospitality, and casual lifestyle, Swansboro has retained the quiet charm and unique character of a picturesque colonial port – making it an outstanding community for anyone who wants to join the “Friendly City” tradition to call “home”.