Sneads Ferry, NC

The traditional fishing village of Sneads Ferry (55 miles from Beaufort, NC) is located on the New River near the northern tip of Topsail Island off NC Hwy. 172. The river joins the Intracoastal Waterway at Sneads Ferry and access to the Atlantic Ocean is easy. A very active commercial fishing community, Sneads Ferry takes in more fish than any other Onslow County port.

In 1725 Edmund Ennett was granted the first license to operate a ferry in the area, an important link for postal delivery between Virginia and South Carolina, and for news of Revolutionary War battles in the 1770’s. The village is believed to have been first settled in 1775, making it the oldest settlement in Onslow County which is one of North Carolina’s oldest counties, established in 1734. The ferry operated for more than 200 years. In 1939, it was replaced by a wooden bridge. Today, the bridge is a new high-rise span.

Originally known as Lower Ferry, Sneads Ferry was renamed in honor of attorney Robert Snead when he became the new ferry operator in 1760. Snead himself has an interesting history. He shot and killed Revolutionary War hero George W. Mitchell in the heat of a political argument. After being tried and convicted, Snead received a full pardon from Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight. There was speculation that the pardon was achieved dishonestly.

Life hummed along quietly until World War II when Camp LeJeune was established just north of Sneads Ferry. In 1971 the Snead’s Ferry Community Council was organized and the annual Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival was first celebrated. Now grown to a two-day event, the annual shrimp festival is the town’s major fund-raiser. From its proceeds, the town established a 14-acre community park and built a 7200-sq. ft. Shrimp Festival Community Building. Fire and rescue headquarters are also on site.

Shrimp and seafood lovers never miss the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival each August. It’s a lively weekend family celebration of fishing heritage with music, plenty of delicious seafood, crafts, and a parade. It’s a total community effort and lots of fun.

Charter boats and headboat fishing is available from Sneads Ferry as well as horseback riding, shopping, one of the Onslow County public libraries, marinas and great seafood restaurants. Sneads Ferry’s easy-going atmosphere, fishing activity and history make it an interesting place to visit and a wonderful destination for seafood.