A low cost of living and pleasant natural surroundings in North Carolina’s Onslow County contribute to a quality of life not often found in larger metropolitan areas. In 2017, an estimated 193,893 people called the county home, and the population density was 233 people per square mile, the U.S. Census Bureau says.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune-Marine Corp Air Station New River is more than 37,000 people strong, according to the 2017 Marine Corps Installations East economic impact statement. About 23,000 veterans live in the area, according to the Census.
Housing is available on base, but the county’s communities also give newcomers plenty of additional choices for places to live. Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to help sort through the home options. The North Carolina Association of Realtors is a central source of local real estate information and services. Visit www.ncrealtors.org to find expertise and professional services for those interested in purchasing a new home.
Onslow County stretches over about 906 square miles of North Carolina with 16 percent of that covered by water; the county’s southern margin lies along the Intracoastal Waterway, Onslow Bay, and to the east, the Atlantic Ocean. The county offers rich outdoor coastal recreation and sports with more than 30 miles of beautiful beaches, rivers and saltwater teeming with marine life and forests filled with wildlife. The scenic New River is the only large river in the continental United States with its headwaters and mouth in the same county. Onslow County also remains a force in terms of agriculture, thanks to its rich soil. Today the beauty of the scenic terrain, shoreline and seascape continue to define Onslow County, attracting industries, tourists and families alike. For more information, check out the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce website at www.jacksonvilleonline.org.
Communities in Onslow County near Camp Lejeune-New River include Holly Ridge, Jacksonville, North Topsail Beach, Richlands and Swansboro.
212 N. Dyson St.
Holly Ridge, NC 28445 910-329-7081
Holly Ridge is the gateway to Topsail Island beaches, offering abundant sporting and recreational opportunities in a natural coastal area. The town has strong military ties and is the home of historic Camp Davis. Holly Ridge residents enjoy a peaceful, friendly environment for living, working, playing and visiting.
The median household income in the town of 2,377 was just slightly higher than that of North Carolina as a whole, $55,909 compared with $55,322, according to the U.S. Census’ most recent figures. Median rent was $1,149 in 2016, and the median value of a home in Holly Ridge, according to the census, was about $194,000. Commutes are slightly longer with mean travel time to work for those living in Holly Ridge being about 30 minutes.
815 New Bridge St.
Jacksonville, NC 28540 910-938-5200
Jacksonville is the county seat of Onslow County and home of MCB Camp Lejeune-MCAS New River. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Jacksonville as the fifth fastest-growing small city in the United States. Demographically, Jacksonville is one of the younger cities in the United States with an average age of around 23 years old, thanks to the large military presence.
This residential community is 46.51 square miles with a population of 72,447. Mean travel time to work for those who live in Jacksonville is 18 minutes. Median rent in the city is $973 and the median value of a home in Jacksonville is $150,800, the census says.
North Topsail Beach
2008 Loggerhead Court
North Topsail Beach, NC 28460 910-328-1349
North Topsail Beach is a beautiful, natural environment with plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities. Award-winning ocean beaches, fishing and fun-filled boating make North Topsail Beach a great place to raise a family, enjoy retirement or escape for a long weekend or vacation.
The census counts 726 residents of the community, and their mean travel time to work is a little over 29 minutes. Rents are higher in this coastal spot with median rent coming in at $1,150. The median value of a house was $273,200.
302 S. Wilmington St.
Richlands, NC 28574 910-324-3301
The highest point of the county, Richlands was named for its rich soil, which is celebrated every year on Farmer’s Day, an annual festival that has been held on the first Saturday after Labor Day for more than 40 years. Richlands was the first town in Onslow County to have its own library and museum, and its historic district includes many turn-of-the-century homes.
At just 1.2 square miles, Richlands had 1,698 residents in 2017, the U.S. Census estimates, showing steady growth over the last two decades. Median rent is $975 and the median value of a house in the area is $153,000, the census found. Mean travel time to work is 30 minutes.
601 W. Corbett Ave.
Swansboro, NC 28584 910-326-4428
The home of Hammocks Beach State Park and its unspoiled beaches, Swansboro boasts a small harbor adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and is only 3 miles from coastal recreational facilities in the Croatan National Forest. The village atmosphere in Swansboro’s historic downtown combines the community’s heritage with an area alive with restaurants, boutiques, gift shops and waterside parks. About 3,210 people live in Swansboro’s 1.3 square miles.
Major fun events include the Arts by the Sea Festival, the Mullet Festival, Candlelight Shopping and the Christmas Flotilla. Popular everyday activities in Swansboro and the surrounding area include beach-going, fishing, boating, camping, kayaking, golf, shopping, the arts and amusement parks.
Known for its high-quality ambiance, Swansboro offers many different residential settings — many of them on or near the White Oak River, the Intracoastal Waterway or the numerous coastal creeks that border the town — and an attractive array of business services.
Median rent in Swansboro is $1,099, and the median value of a house in the area, the census calculates, is $188,800. Mean travel time to work is 26 minutes.