When we go past Snead's Ferry and through the LeJeune Marine Base, we see people playing on the barrier island that shelters the ICW from the Atlantic Ocean. I think this area is called North Topsail or West Onslow.
Public beach accesses make North Topsail a great spot for day trippers and those who wish to fish in the surf. Town Park has picnic shelters, basketball courts, volleyball and tennis courts, fishing pier and kayak/canoe launch and gazebo. New restroom facility available.
I suspect that the beaches that we see from the ICW are actually on Camp LeJeune which has 14 miles of beaches. The Marine Corps website says:
Camping & Outdoor Recreation
Onslow Beach offers 41 RV and Tent camping sites with cable, water, power, and a bathroom/shower/washer/dryer facilities. We also offer 74 Beach Units for a nominal fee. Reservations can be made 20 weeks out for active duty military assigned to MCB Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River, and MCAS Cherry Point. Retired military, reservists from any duty station of any Armed Forces, and authorized civilian employees may reserve beach units 8 weeks out prior to occupancy date. We are open year round. Other beach amenities include: 3 pavilions with restrooms, convenience store, fishing pier, picnic areas, the Sandtrap Miniature Golf Course, and much more
However some of these facilities may be on the New River instead of the Atlantic Ocean
1565 Highway 210, P.O. Box 1160, Sneads Ferry, NC, 28460
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
It's a cute little old chapel building right near the road, on Peru Road that is. We call it, Pee Ru or some call it Peru. Anyway when you go in it is amazing, "It's so little on the outside but so big on the inside", my little friend, Jack, said. Beautiful art and of course my favorite clothing is there.
What to buy: Sneads Ferry Sneaker tees, hats, aprons, totes, prints. Make sure you get the SF Sneaker decal with the boots on it for your car, boat etc. I love mine.
Can't go fishing, shopping or anywhere without my Sneads Ferry Sneakers! Village Jewelers near CVS is the only other place to find some of the same SFS stuff.
What to pay: Spending is up to you, I like a bargain and I think the prices are reasonable.
I've put my Camp Lejeune anchoring experience under Snead's Ferry, because VT doesn't have a Camp Lejeune page.
When I went to look up Sneads Ferry on the internet I found that they have an annual shrimp festival. The website says:
"Sneads Ferry's Annual Shrimp Festival, is held every year, since 1971, during the second weekend of August. 2004 is the 34th Annual Shrimp Festival, and planning is underway. Mark your calendar for the weekend of August 13th & 14th, and come join us in the festivities, have some shrimp, watch the fireworks and enjoy the free entertainment. This year's entertainment includes; Heart & Soul, The Catalinas, The Coastline Band, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, Billy Scott & the Prophets.
"Due to rising costs this year the entrance fee has been increased to $3.00, or $5.00 for a two day pass. Children under 12 are still admitted free.
"Lots of good eating, Shrimp of course, but there were other goodies as well, for those who could not or would rather not have shrimp., From Cheese Steaks, Sausage Dogs & Gyros to Funnel Cakes, Ice Cream & Cotton Candy"
Crowning of the Shrimp Queen Friday evening.
Parade begins at 10:00 am Saturday morning.
Live Entertainment on two stages,
Fireworks from 8:30 pm to 9:10 pm. Saturday
Plenty of carnival rides, and games for the kids.
65 local and regional Craft Vendors both days.
Civic, Military and Commercial Exhibits
New River Fisherman's Association - Shrimp & Fish net displays
Just north of Snead's Ferry the ICW crosses Camp Lejeune. When the marines are doing exercises, they sometimes use live ammunition in the vicinity of the ICW and at that time the ICW is closed - usually this just lasts a few hours.
There are warning signs at each end of the area(pictured), and you can tune to the 530 AM radio or call the Coast Guard to see if there is going to be an exercise going on. Not all exercises involve live ammunition, and not all the live ammunition exercises are in the vicinity of the ICW. The guard towers also fly big red flags if there is live ammunition.
This sign says "STOP DO NOT PROCEED WHEN FLASHING - Live Firing in Progress When Flashing - Tune to AM 530"
The website says: "Camp Lejeune occupies 170 square miles, (111,000 acres), including 14 miles of beach front along the Atlantic Ocean. With 54 live firing ranges, 15 major training/maneuvering areas subdivided into 56 individual training and maneuvering sections with 34 gun positions, 23 tactical landing zones, 26 administrative landing zones, 12 parachute drop zones and a "Military Operations in Urban Terrain" or MOUT training complex.
"Camp Lejeune has more than 400 miles of roadways, 50 miles of sidewalks, 50 miles of railroads and 6800 buildings, to support it's approximately 123,500 Marines and Sailors. It is Onslow County's largest employer with approximately 4,700 civilian employees."
There are six major Marine Corps commands and two Navy commands aboard Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune is truly the
"Home of Expeditionary Forces in Readiness"
A major PITAs on the ICW is the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge run by the Marine Corps. In the fall of 2000, the spring of 2001 and the fall of 2002 there was no problem. After that, the bridge tenders have been surly, and argumentative and have not opened the bridge on time.
April 2002:Onslow Beach bridge tender said he would open at noon. We got there about 10 before noon, with about 2 knots current toward the bridge. Power boat (DRY MARTINI from NY) passed us and was ahead of us. Bridge did not open at noon. Finally DRY MARTINI called. Bridge tender said he would open at noon. It was 1202 by 3 GPSs, and my watch, and Bob's watch said 1201. Finally at 1203, the gates went down. By this time DRY MARTINI was being pushed quite close to the bridge and we were getting closer to him than we liked because he was having to back, and he can back better than we can.
At about 1205, the bridge started to swing, but it swung towards us, and DRY MARTINI had to back up to avoid being hit, so we also had to do some fancy footwork to keep him from hitting us or going out of the channel.
The Onslow Beach bridge was a pain (again). We took a station pointing upstream (stern to the bridge so we could motor slowly into the current rather than backing into it) to wait after calling the bridge to tell him we were waiting for an opening. The bridge tender put the arms down on the road at 0900 and then it was two full minutes before the bell rang and another minute before the bridge started to swing. We had to circle again as we were being pushed towards shore by the wind or current. When the bridge opened, MONTRACT did not start to go through. He waited until we were too close to maneuver. I didn't thank the bridge tender (which I usually do)
CHATEAU LA MER is there ahead of us standing well back from the bridge as if they know that it opens towards us (which it does). The bridge rings the bell for about 2 minutes before it opens, and then opens very very slowly.
63 Reviews and Opinions
The New River Marina is an inexpensive alternative to anchoring in Mile Hammock Bay.
Equipment: Very low diesel prices - the lowest on the ICW in 2002. Transient rate on wall was 50 cents/ft which includes electricity (30 amp only). Depth was 9 feet. However, this wall is very exposed to wakes and there is swift current at this point.
There is another possibility and that is Swan Point Marina: 327-1081 which is quite near the New River Marina. Also available in Sneads Ferry is Pirates Cove Marina & Store:
This almost land locked bay can be accessed off the Waterway, just north of the ICW - New River juncture. Pleasure craft are still welcome to anchor on these waters, though visitors must be careful not to go ashore. The surrounding lands are part of the huge Camp Lejeune Marine Base, and ARE off limits to ALL but military personnel.
There has been a narrow, rather shallow entrance channel. There is now a report that the entry depth is a minimum 12 ft. at mlw. Also, the anchorage had 12 ft between the bulkheads.
Equipment: When we were here in 2000, Bob decided to anchor on the inner edge of the dredged area, and we had considerable difficulty because we start out in 10 feet of water and as he let out the anchor chain, we were blown out onto the shallow part and end up in 5 feet of water. Bob reset the anchor once, and then just decided to put out less scope (less chain).
The traditional fishing village of Sneads Ferry 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, (Ennett's descendants still reside in the area). Ennett's "Lower Ferry" as it was originally called, was 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.
Fondest memory: Attorney Robert Snead moved to the area sometime during the 1750's to operate a tavern. When he became the new ferry operator in 1760, the "Lower Ferry" was renamed "Sneads Ferry" in honor of Robert Snead. 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, located at 126 Park Lane. Rescue Squad headquarters are adjacent to the festival site.