photograph by Charles Harris

Featured Image: Stand-up paddleboard rentals from Pogie’s Fishing Center provide a unique perspective of the “Friendly City by the Sea.”

In downtown Swansboro, you can see the water from almost anywhere. As you drive into town, the sun reflects off of it like diamonds. As you eat lunch, kayakers glide by on their way to Hammocks Beach State Park. As you wander Front Street, it peeks out between red-brick buildings.

And in this historic port town, that’s the point. At the mouth of the White Oak River, located along the Intracoastal Waterway, and minutes from Atlantic Beach, Swansboro is, and always has been, sustained by the water. It was the site of an Algonquin Indian village long before it became a busy colonial port. Famed for shipbuilding in the 18th and 19th centuries, Swansboro was largely a fishing village by the 1900s. These days, Front Street bustles with more tourists than fishmongers and sailors. But, at every turn, the water beckons and beauty abounds, just as it always has.

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Katie Schanze is the assistant editor and digital editor of Our State.