Things to Do in Topsail Island, North Carolina

In North Carolina, there is a special 26-mile long island full of enticing activities for visitors. On Topsail Island, you can soak up the sun on the sandy shores or learn about the island's pirate history. From spending a relaxing day on a fishing pier to visiting the only sea turtle hospital in the state, you will never run out of things to do in Topsail Island, North Carolina.

Travelers looking for a relaxing atmosphere choose this area of North Carolina. While other beaches have become overcrowded, this section of the Crystal Coast (only 30 minutes from Wilmington) has remained unspoiled. Spend your trip playing golf, surfing, or exploring local wineries. However you spend your trip, waking up in a relaxing oceanfront vacation rental will make you want to never go back home.

topsail island water sportsWater Sports

Adventurous travelers will have a long list of Topsail Island things to do when it comes to water sports. Even those travelers who intend on spending the day lounging in the sun are often tempted by kayaking tours, fishing charters, sailing rentals, and surfing. Whether you're an expert or looking to take lessons, no beach vacation in Topsail Island would be complete without some water action.

Topsail Island is divided into three main towns: Surf City, Topsail Beach, and North Topsail Beach. No matter where your vacation rental is located, you will have access to sailing, fishing, and kayaking. A safe waters area is also appealing to parents trying to plan a family vacation.

Plenty of Fun on Land

While Topsail Island might be best known for its gorgeous water and water sports, there are also plenty of things to do by land. Golf enthusiasts are drawn to this area of North Carolina for sunny skies and warm temperatures. These perfect golfing conditions lure visitors to courses just off the island for a round of 18. Adventurous travelers might want to begin their day with a round of golf followed by an afternoon out on the water boating or fishing.

On a rainy day, Topsail Island has plenty of indoor activities to keep you occupied. One of the most popular options is the Missiles and More Museum . This museum reveals details of the island's past as a test-rocket launching site. Here you will discover fascinating facts about the island's history. Other great indoor attractions include the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center . This is the only facility of its kind in the state that takes care of sick or injured sea turtles.

topsail island shoppingShop Until You Drop

If you need a break from working on your golden tan, there are many stores in Topsail Island that will provide a good dose of retail therapy. Stores on the island are full of options for a new outfit to wear to dinner, a special gift for someone back home, or even furnishings for your house. In Wilmington, shoppers love The Forum Shops , where you will find everything from antique furniture stores to restaurants to keep you fueled up for a day of shopping.

Another Wilmington favorite is the Ivy Cottage . This consignment shop extends to four buildings and 25,000 square feet of antiques, furniture, china, artwork, and more. On Topsail Island, you will find the best shopping in Surf City. This town is the commercial center of the island and offers gift shops, surf shops, and other shopping treasures. You will also find many options here for stocking the kitchen of your vacation rental.

Relaxing Topsail Island Style

Every traveler has his or her own idea of relaxation. Whether you think golfing or reading a good book in the sun is the perfect way to relax, Topsail Island will provide the atmosphere you crave. If you need a little extra help to unwind, one strategy is to spend a day at the local day spas and salons. Whether you choose to enjoy a massage or a manicure and pedicure, you will leave feeling rejuvenated.

Another way to relax is with the excellent local nightlife. Of all the things to do in Topsail Island, North Carolina, visitors are tempted by the local beach bars and restaurant lounges. The outdoor deck at the Brass Pelican tavern is the perfect place to have a beer under the stars while the dance floor at Margarita's Bar & Grill is busy all night long. For a quieter night, other options including hitting the movie theater or a local cigar bar.

Annual Events in Topsail Island

If you already love the relaxed environment and gorgeous beaches of Topsail Island, you might be looking for an extra excuse to plan another trip. There are many annual events on the island that draw a crowd and deliver a great atmosphere. From the annual Dolphin Dip in January (where brave souls take a dip in the Atlantic) to the Car Show in July, there is an event for every type of traveler in Topsail Island.

Other popular events include the Fourth of July fireworks , the Taste of Topsail culinary festival , and the Offshore Fishing Club King Mackerel Tournament in October. Many travelers plan a trip to coincide with Halloween celebrations, the start of the holiday season in December, or the premiere of the farmer's markets in April. Whatever hobby or interest drives this trip to Topsail Island, you will be tempted to return year after year for the same annual event.

topsail island diningThe Taste of Topsail Island

When it comes to Topsail Island things to do, sometimes the simple pleasures are the best ones. Restaurants will give a great introduction to local flavors. At the end of a day spent indulging in water sports, you might be ready for a feast. Fresh seafood, from shrimp to oysters to scallops, is waiting to impress you with the daily catch. While seafood is the biggest attraction, there are also many other types of restaurants on the island including ethnic, American, and more.

For key lime grilled shrimp, get a table at the Bistro. If you're looking for a family-friendly spot where you can devour seafood, choose the Crab Pot. One of the top spots for al fresco dining is Daddy Mac's Beach Grille . If you're craving a slice of New York style pizza, it doesn't get any better than Long Island Pizza . For groups that include non-seafood lovers, check out Quartermasters Restaurant & Taver n. When you're on vacation, dining out shouldn't just be about fighting off hunger in Topsail Island it is a top thing to do.

If you spent the day fishing, you could always bring your catch to one of the restaurants that will cook you fish for you (or bring it home and throw it on the barbecue yourself!)

Spend the Night at Home

After an action-packed day, you might be tempted to spend the night at home in your cozy vacation rental. Why not fire up the barbecue and watch the sun sink below the horizon from your own outdoor deck? There are many amenities that will make spending the night at home in your vacation rental enticing. While looking at rental options, consider the following amenities that might make you more comfortable.

Of course the barbecue is an important one, but how about outdoor living space, a hot tub on the deck, or an outdoor shower? You might also want a rental that has a plasma TV (bring along some favorite DVDs) or a large living room where you can play board games or charades. The best part about choosing a vacation rental over hotels is not having to fill your time with activities when you feel like just hanging out.

Even More Entertainment in Topsail Island

The list of things to do in Topsail Island, North Carolina can go on and on. During your visit you might encounter a sand castle building competition or find yourself intrigued to join a marsh tour and get acquainted with the local wildlife. If you're interested in bird watching, there's no better time to get a kayak out on the water than the morning when you will find herons and egrets foraging for breakfast.

For a little more action, climb aboard a sunset cocktail cruise. Stunning sunsets are a daily occurrence here, and what better place to watch one than from the deck of a boat with a cocktail in your hand? There are many other types of boat rentals to enjoy as well, whether you want to charter a boat for an afternoon picnic or a fishing trip. This family-friendly island is the perfect escape whether you want to spend the day picking seashells or battling the waves on a surfboard.

The Beauty of Topsail Island

Once you set foot on these shores, you will understand why so many couples choose Topsail Island as the location of their destination wedding. Not only is the island beautiful and offer a relaxing environment, but you can also enjoy a wide range of water sports and nightlife too. For a new destination in North Carolina, leave behind the crowded beaches in favor of Topsail Island.

Beach Rentals in Topsail Island

7  Night Minimum Stay
3 BR, 1 BA, Sleeps 6


3 - 5  Night Minimum Stay
2 BR, 2 BA, Sleeps 6


3 - 5  Night Minimum Stay
4 BR, 3 BA, Sleeps 11


3 - 5  Night Minimum Stay
3 BR, 2 BA, Sleeps 9