Memorial Gardens - Fallen Heroes - Lejeune
Incorporated in 1842, Jacksonville is named after President Andrew Jackson. It is located on the banks of the New River next to the NC Crystal Coast.
Its early history began with the end of the Tuscarora Wars in 1713 as early European settlers moved into the area.
In 1942, Camp Lejeune Marine Barracks changed Jacksonville forever.
And in 2014, Forbes Magazine named Jacksonville the 5th fastest-growing small city in the US.
Full of American history, let’s take a step back in time as we discover the historical things to do in Jacksonville NC.
Established in 1942, Camp Lejeune caused a population explosion in Jacksonville. It is home to over 137,000 servicemen, retirees, and families. Camp Lejeune has 156,000 acres and more than 11 miles of beachfront training grounds.
Camp Lejeune is named in honor of Lt. General John Archer Lejeune. As one of the premier military bases in the US. It has received the Commander in Chief’s Award for Excellence six times.
The base is open to authorized personnel only. If you plan to visit, make sure you bring all the required documents. So you can register / check-in at the Visitor Center to receive your temporary Visitor pass.
The memorials in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens rival those found in Washington DC. Included memorials are:
Future memorials in the works include the Museum of the Marine and Corpsman Memorial.
The Lejeune Memorial Gardens Greenway Trail connects Jacksonville with Camp Lejeune. The trail winds through the gardens and is open to both foot and bike traffic.
Montford Point was the training base for African American marines. Called Montford Pointers, they trained apart from other marines. Since the Revolutionary War, no African American had served in the US Marine Corps. World War Two changed this when 20,000 Montford Pointers. Proudly and successfully defended our country as US marines.
Part of Lejeune Memorial Gardens, the Montford Point Marine Memorial has 4 elements.
Approved for construction in March 2022. The 40,000 sq foot Museum of the Marine will pay tribute to the
The Freedom Fountain marks the entrance to downtown Jacksonville. It honors all who serve or have served in the US Armed Forces.
Built circa 1850 by Rufus F. Pelletier. The Pelletier House is the oldest. And the only antebellum home that remains in Jacksonville. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The house served as Rufus Pelletier’s home and office.
The Pelletier House is open for group tours. It features exhibits that celebrate the history of the area.
Besides the fixed exhibits. The Pelletier House hosts a variety of rotating exhibits throughout the year.
Historic Downtown Swansboro has short, narrow streets and a picture-perfect waterfront. A great place to walk! Grab your tour map at the Swansboro Heritage Center. And start exploring the town that served. As the backdrop in Nicholas Sparks’ novel, The Guardian.
Built in 1839, the Brick House is the oldest structure in Onslow County. It served as a church, school, post office, and drugstore.
Held in October, the Mullet Festival is the oldest festival on the Crystal Coast. Come celebrate the mullet, a humble fish that was Swansboro’s main industry. Enjoy the parade, street vendors, live music, and fish fry.
Arts by the Sea is held on the 2nd Saturday in June. It features local arts and crafts and great entertainment.
Held at the end of November, experience the magic of the Holiday Flotilla.
Ready for some Christmas shopping? Check out Swansboro by Candlelight in December.
Perfect for history buffs. Discover what a typical one-room schoolhouse looked like at the turn of the century. Built in 1880, Morton’s Academy was moved and restored to its present location in 1996.
Founded in April 1941, it is the oldest continuously-operated USO in the world. Open to veterans and visitors alike. Enjoy the all-you-can-eat breakfast Saturdays from 8 am - 11 am.
Walton’s Distillery serves moonshine (legally) the same way it was made over 50 years ago.
Try the E.M. Walton’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the silver medal winner at the 2020 Las Vegas Global Spirits Awards.
Or sample Walton’s Premium Select, the gold medal winner at the 2019 Denver International Spirits Competition.
Jacksonville is rich in military history and tradition. Its monuments and memorials pay tribute to those who served our country.
But Jacksonville has much more to offer than just military history.
Discover local arts and crafts at the Riverside Arts Market held Saturdays along the river.
Visit the various museums and exhibits that showcase the history of the area.
Relax in the shade at one of its 17 parks.
With over 19 miles of greenways and trails, you'll enjoy the journey as you discover all the historical things to do in Jacksonville NC.