Topsail Island is a 26-mile long barrier island off North Carolina’s coast. It is well-known for its maritime forests and serves as a sanctuary for sea turtles. With only approximately 500 year-round residents, much of the area feels untouched and encapsulated by nature, thanks to the community banning high-rise development.
The Surf City Pier is a top destination for families who want to enjoy great views and a prime fishing spot. Events are held throughout the summer season and include Fourth of July fireworks and a children's fishing tournament.
Soundside Park overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and has a climbing wall, a giant fish for the kids to play on, swings and multiple slides. Also at the park are boardwalks, viewing decks and a fishing pier.
Patio Playground in Topsail Beach is the only mini golf venue on the island. Built in 1955, it has remained a hot spot for visitors and residents looking for a fun night out. Patio Playground also has ice cream, movie rentals, bike rentals and an arcade. Head here on Friday nights for music, dancing and golf.
If you run into a rainy day during your stay then visit Topsail Skating Rink. Feel like a kid again as you put on some skates and circle around while music plays. The kids will enjoy learning to skate while spending time with you.
The rescuing of sea turtles is popular on Topsail Island and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center works to save the creatures on the shores. The hospital is open to visitors and a great learning experience for the whole family as you see how the turtles are rescued, cared for and returned to their natural habitat.
The Navy set up camp on Topsail Island at the end of World War II when it began a joint project with Johns Hopkins University. Operation Bumblebee became a top-secret experimental project that developed and tested ramjet missiles. Approximately 200 experimental rockets underwent testing on Topsail Island in an 18-month span before the complex was closed and moved to another area more conducive to missile testing. However, you can still visit the facilities today to get a history lesson on how important the testing was to U.S. Naval operations during that time.
While there aren't any major shopping destinations due to the quiet and remote location, there are smaller stores that will still satisfy your urge for retail therapy. Head to Quarter Moon Book Store, The Gift Basket and Island Treasures in Topsail Beach for souvenirs and other keepsakes. In Surf City you'll find the Bumblebee Market, Island Traders and the Topsail Island Trading Company.
Whether you're looking for fresh seafood or pub fare you can find it on Topsail Island. While you're in Surf City, check out Sugar Island Bakery and The Bistro at Just Baked. Topsail Beach eateries include New York Corner Deli, Home Port Restaurant and Pub, Breezeway Restaurant and the Beach Shop and Grill.