Overview of Area in Swansboro/Cape Carteret, NC

Swansboro, on the White Oak River, and Cape Carteret, on Bogue Sound, are small communities near the ocean. Quality of life here is excellent due to mild weather, low crime, excellent schools, and family-friendly businesses.  Many visitors are so pleased with what they find in the area, that they come back to stay.

Featured Local Businesses
Coastal Image Photography by Carolyn Temple


While Carolina’s southern coast towns all boast the amenity of temperate climates and plenty of sunshine, they are not immune to the seasonal changes. During the summer months, temperatures reach the 80s and mainly fluctuate within that range, though they can climb into the 90s. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average maximum temperature of 89.9 degrees and a 63% humidity index. During the winter months, temperatures tend to be in the 40s but can fluctuate up or down by about 15 degrees. The coldest month is January, with an average minimum temperate of 35.8 degrees. 

It should be kept in mind that June 1 to November 30 are considered the Atlantic hurricane season, and the North Carolina coast can potentially lie in a storm’s path. For more information on safety procedures, visit the town's website or call their office. 

Visitors Center

The Crystal Coast Hospitality Association is a membership organization made up of both businesses and individual members. Their goal is to help promote tourism for the Crystal Coast. One of the things the CCHA does is host a helpful website for tourists and locals alike. They also publish and distribute the...more about Crystal Coast Hospitality Association

3409 Arendell St.
Morehead City, NC 28557
(252) 726-8148
(800) 786-6962

If you are in the area and looking for more information, contact the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority for all your answers.  These helpful and knowledgeable folks staff two visitors centers in the county. Their main office is in Morehead City, and their satellite office is located on the mainland side of the B....more about Crystal Coast Tourism Authority

Chamber of Commerce

203 W. Church St
Swansboro, NC 28584
(910) 326-1174

The Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business growth and professional development opportunities. This non-profit organization housed in downtown Swansboro is owned and operated by local business leaders. The Chamber also works to affect public policy to benefit the local area. ...more about Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce

Overview and History


Swansboro is a historic, water-oriented town sitting on the Intracoastal Waterway along the mouth of the White Oak River. It is the only geographic area of those described here that is not in Carteret County. It is in Onslow County, on the west side of the Crystal Coast. Many fishing boats call Swansboro home, and residents keep sport-fishing boats at marinas in Swansboro. You can reach Swansboro by taking either N.C. 58 (from Bogue Banks) or N.C. 24 (from Morehead City).

From its origins as the site of an Algonquian Indian village to its current status as the "Friendly City by the Sea," Swansboro is a lovely place to visit because of its mild climate and friendly citizens.

The town began about 1730, when Jonathan and Grace Green moved to the area from Falmouth, Massachusetts. With them, and owning half of their property, was Jonathan Green's brother, Isaac. They lived there about five years until Jonathan Green died at the early age of 35. His widow, Grace, married Theophilus Weeks, who had moved with his family from Falmouth to settle on Hadnot Creek a few miles up the White Oak River.

After their marriage, the Weeks moved into the Green family home on the Onslow County side of the White Oak River. Theophilus soon purchased all of Isaac Green's interest and became sole owner of the large plantation. Weeks first farmed, then opened a tavern and was appointed inspector of exports at the thriving port. In 1771 he started a town on that portion of his plantation called Weeks Wharf, selling 48 numbered lots recorded as being "in the plan of a town laid out by Theophilus Weeks," thus earning him the title of founder of the town.

Originally called Weeks Point, the New-Town-upon-Bogue was established by law in 1783. The General Assembly named the town Swannsborough, in honor of Samuel Swann, former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives and longtime Onslow County representative.

Swansboro (the later spelling of the town's name) was home to the famous Otway Burns. During the War of 1812, this native son became a privateer with his schooner, the Snapdragon. His participation during this "Second War of Independence" was acclaimed as an act of bravery and patriotism. After the war, he returned to the trade of shipbuilding and was later appointed keeper of the lighthouse at Portsmouth, where he died in 1850. He is buried in Beaufort's Old Burying Ground.

Swansboro's port continued to prosper, mainly because nearby pine forests produced the lumber, tar, pitch and other naval items shipped through the port. Prosperity continued until the end of the Civil War. Then, gradually, the town came to support itself with farming and fishing.

Swansboro features an historic downtown section built along the water's edge. Here you will find old structures, specialty and antiques shops, restaurants and plenty of space to stroll and gaze at the water and boats. The town's historic commission supervises the restoration of many of the town's oldest structures.

Economic Profile

Cape Carteret has a working population that makes up half of its entire population. Of them, about 95 percent commute to their workplace an average of 30 minutes. The leading occupations for the area are management, professional and sales positions, with the leading industry being retail trade. Construction occupations are also popular, and the educational, health and social services industry is thriving as well. The median household income in 2013 was around $59,000, and the estimated median house or condo value was about $247,000. 

Swansboro is a smaller North Carolina town at 3,000 in 2013, but it is a productive one. About 65 percent of the current population is employed, with 96 percent of them commuting an average of 30 minutes to their place of work. The main occupations are in professional, management and sales positions, with construction and service occupations coming in close seconds. The leading industry for the area are educational, health and social services, as well as retail trade. The median household income is about $47,000, while the median value of a household is $222,000. 


Swansboro and Cape Carteret are both charming waterfront towns that boast rich histories, gorgeous harbors and unique shops and restaurants. The quaint and scenic nature of these towns brings in a steady flow of tourists each year, giving the related industries a prosperous name. Due to this nature, many jobs in the area are held within related branches, such as the food and retail services, and opportunities to gain employment in these fields are high. 

Real Estate

This friendly city on the water is a lovely community for year-round dwellers and for returning tourists. The median house value in 2013 for Swansboro was an estimated $247,000 with a median gross monthly rental of $875.  There are approximately 2,200 houses in Swansboro with 25% rental homes.  Over a dozen rental and real estate companies in this area meet the supply of this industry.

Industry and Trade

There are many different industries within these two coastal towns, and many different opportunities to work within them. Below is an ordered list of the main, most prominent industries in Swansboro and Cape Carteret: 

1. Educational, health and social services

2. Retail Trade

3. Public Administration

4. Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (tourism)

5. Transportation and warehousing

6. Finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing 

Demographics and Statistics

In the 1.22 square miles of Swansboro is packed a variety of rental and owner occupied homes, tourist accommodations, an active business community, and organized recreational opportunities such as Little League, Soccer League, paddling, cycling, and watersports.

Median age is 38 years with a median income of $50,000 annually. Twenty-five percent of the population holds graduate or post graduate degrees and 59 percent of the homes are owner occupied. Ninety-two percent of Swansboro’s population is Caucasian, and 3% is African American. During the tourist high season the numbers are vastly larger. Swansboro’s unemployment figures are well below the state average.

With a year round population in 2014 of 68,811, Carteret County has few large towns and lots of small ones, exactly reflecting local preferences. The year round population of the county's communities follows:

Atlantic Beach 1,506
Beaufort 4,195
Bogue 701
Cape Carteret 2,058
Cedar Point 1,305
Emerald Isle 3,717
Indian Beach 116
Morehead City 9,258
Newport 4,694
Peletier 654
Pine Knoll Shores 1,366
Swansboro (neighboring Onslow County) 3,074

In the 2.14 square miles of Atlantic Beach is packed a variety of rental and owner occupied homes, tourist accommodations, an active business community.

Median age is 50 years with a median income of $48,000 annually. Ninety percent of the population holds graduate or post-graduate degrees and 65 percent of the homes are owner occupied. Ninety three percent of Atlantic Beach population is Caucasian. During the tourist high season the numbers are vastly larger. Atlantic Beach unemployment figures are lower than the state average.

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