Jacksonville, NC

Some of our visitors have been coming here for thousands of years. Our beaches have long been favorite nesting sites for the endangered sea turtle. Hammocks Beach State Park and Topsail Island both have Sea Turtle Programs which include educational opportunities and night beach excursions for female turtle sightings and nest hatchings. Our coastal marshes, waterways and river are also havens for migratory shore birds including herons, egrets, ospreys, ducks and geese.

Onslow County offers a natural playground for the ultimate in outdoor coastal recreation and sports. Whether you prefer relaxing in the sun, strolling the beach in search of sea shells or taking part in our many activities, visitors always go at their own pace.

Fresh and salt water fishing are highlights for outdoor lovers. The New River and tributaries are favorites for fresh water anglers. For salt water; the coast offers seven fishing piers, miles of uncrowded beaches for surfcasting and a varied fleet, from headboats to private charters, going offshore and to the Gulf Stream for the best in sport fishing. Area fishing tournaments welcome participation with numerous boating access areas and marinas convenient for boat owners.

Enjoying the warm, blue Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway is easy with a wide choice of water activities. Swimming, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, boating, snorkeling and offshore diving are year-round options.

The choices for land lovers are equally as diverse. Choose from beach walking, sea shell collecting, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, hayrides, kite flying, miniature golf, rodeos, roller skating, square dancing or catch a race at the Coastal Plains Dragway. More than a dozen major festivals are celebrated in different areas of the County throughout the year and feature parades, dancing, art, crafts and lots of delicious food!

Jacksonville, the largest city and major hub of the County, is North Carolina’s 7th largest commercial center and home to Camp Lejeune and the New River Air Station. The bases house the largest Marine expeditionary force in the world. The facilities are a major source of the economic success of the area as well as fostering a positive diversity in the County.

A strong community support for the military presence is best evidenced by the Beirut Memorial. Situated in a small forest of dogwood and oak trees, the memorial pays tribute to the Marines and sailors of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit at Camp Lejeune who were killed Oct. 23, 1983, when terrorists truck-bombed their barracks in war-torn Beirut, Lebanon. The names of all 268 men are engraved on the wall and a solitary bronze serviceman stands close by. The site, at the corner of Lejeune Blvd. & Montford Point Rd., is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Info., 910-455-2600.

Jacksonville continues its growth through a broad variety of contributions by Coastal Carolina Community College and an active Council for the Arts. The City, Base and surrounding County area are hosts throughout the year for numerous artistic and intellectual expositions, world renowned sporting events, music concerts featuring top entertainers and festivals highlighting cultural heritages.