Onslow County was formed in 1734 and was mainly rural. The economy was mostly based on agrarian and maritime communities. Onslow County changed dramatically in 1940 with the US Army Camp Davis near Holly Ridge and in 1941 with the start of Camp Lejeune. The increase in population because of this created major growth in housing and businesses. Onslow County is approximately 767 square miles, with flat terrain. The county includes the incorporated towns of Holly Ridge, Richlands, Swansboro, North Topsail Beach, and part of Surf City and the unincorporated town of Sneads Ferry. Camp Lejeune comprises approximately 156,000 acres with more than 43,000 marines and sailors stationed in the area. Onslow County has many elementary, middle, and high schools so no matter where you live there will be schools close by. This area has a very big military tradition and is culturally rich. There are museums and memorials that tell the stories of the Marine Corps and the African American heritage. There are also many theaters and galleries full of art and history and many antique shops, specialty shops, and boutiques with local décor and gifts. Since the beaches are so close by you will also find many surf shops and outdoor outfitters. Onslow County offers all kinds of educational activities and fun things to do with the beaches and recreational facilities such as camping, boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming walking and biking trails, and much more.
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