Swansboro started as a settlement around the plantation of Theophilus Weeks. In 1783, Swansboro was incorporated as a town, taking its name from Samuel Swann, a Speaker in the North Carolina House of Commons and a resident of Onslow County.
The town, originally spelled Swannsborough, is sometimes called “The Friendly City by the Sea”
The town is featured as the setting of Nicholas Sparks’ novel The Guardian.
In 1818, Otway Burns built the Prometheus, the first river steamboat constructed in North Carolina.
The Swansboro Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990