Topsail Island North Carolina

Topsail Island North Carolina offers a laid-back getaway with serene beaches and a small-town atmosphere. Topsail Island is a 26-mile long barrier island just off the North Carolina coast, with three charming seaside towns: North Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Topsail Beach. Topsail Island is off the coast of North Carolina but is located farther north then the Outer Banks.

Stay in one of the three main towns: North Topsail Beach, Surf City, or Topsail Beach. Each provides a unique and fun beach experience. With its maritime forests and natural landscape, North Topsail Beach is surrounded by water on three sides and offers dog-friendly shores. Surf City, located in the middle of the island, is the most commercial destination, offering lots of dining options, shopping, and community events. Situation on the southernmost end of the island, Topsail Beach is a coastal town with untouched sands and unbeatable views.

Make sure to visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City. Visitors can volunteer at the sea turtle hospital, take a tour of the facility, and help with the rehabilitation efforts of the turtle patients. Or cast a line off of the Surf City Ocean Pier. Or hop in a kayak to explore the sound, inlet, and ocean surrounding the town. In Topsail Beach, set up your chair at Serenity Point to catch a breathtaking sunset. There is plenty for everyone in Topsail Beach North Carolina. To learn about all the best North Carolina beaches, visit here.

Topsail Island Weather – When to Visit

Average temperatures for Topsail Island are in the 70s and 80s during the spring with less humidity then during the summer months. Spring is the perfect season for enjoying the best of Topsail Island, whether you choose to walk, run, pedal, or paddle your way around Topsail Island. Take advantage of the spring season lull where you have more of the island and its beaches to yourself and less crowds to contend with. 

Best Topsail Island Beach Towns

North Topsail Beach, Topsail Island North Carolina, best Topsail restaurants, best Topsail Island hotels, best Topsail Island nightlife, things to do in Topsail Island, when to visit Topsail Island
North Topsail Beach

North Topsail beach is known for uncrowded and serene beaches and many say it’s the best place to look for shark teeth and sea glass along the sand. It is also the only place to drive a 4×4 vehicle on the beach.



Surf City, Topsail Island North Carolina, best Topsail restaurants, best Topsail Island hotels, best Topsail Island nightlife, things to do in Topsail Island, when to visit Topsail Island
Surf City

Surf City encompasses 5.3 square miles and has its own pier. That pier attracts a lot of visitors, especially those that love to fish! With white sandy beaches that beckon to sun worshipers and lovers of water sports.



Topsail Beach, Topsail Island North Carolina, best Topsail restaurants, best Topsail Island hotels, best Topsail Island nightlife, things to do in Topsail Island, when to visit Topsail Island
Topsail Beach

In Topsail Beach enjoy sunbathing, swimming, surfing, fishing or whatever water sports you like to participate in. The beautiful sound front with access to the Intercoastal Waterway and nearby Lea Island is a great place to explore by boat.


Best Topsail Island Activities

Spend the Day at Topsail Beach

Lay down a beach towel and catch some rays on sandy Topsail Beach. Build a sandcastle or sunbathe and then cool off in the crystal blue ocean water. There are plenty of Topsail Beach activities to enjoy. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll along the shore and watch the beautiful sunset over the water. Visitors can have a relaxing day on the beach, whether they are there to sunbathe, surf or fish Topsail Beach is the perfect spot to have a fun and easy-going beach vacation.

Go fishing at Jolly Roger Fishing Pier

Topsail Beach is known for being a fishing town, and this is evident by the popular Jolly Roger Fishing Pier. Located close to Jolly Roger Inn, fishermen of all ages come to this pier for some quality onshore fishing. Right next to the pier is Jolly Roger Inn, which boasts beautiful ocean views, and is the perfect spot to stay if you’re planning on fishing or just exploring the area. If you don’t know what to do in Topsail Beach but you enjoy fishing, then head out to spend the day here!

Book an Excursion with Top Sail Island Tours

Those who want to fish offshore can always book an exciting fishing excursion with Fish Topsail. Half-day fishing trips start at $60.00 and all day trips start at $100.00. Not into fishing but still want to enjoy a boat tour? No problem – Fish Topsail offers evening cruises. Guests can bring their own drinks and food, then sit back for a relaxing cruise along Topsail’s pretty waters.

Learn about marine life at Ecological Marine Adventures

At Ecological Marine Adventures, children and adults can take advantage of some hands-on learning about marine life and their environment. Come take a one or three day class and learn everything from paddle boarding to crab hunting, to free weekly community classes. The free classes are perfect for visitors to Topsail Beach, as attendees are permitted to touch the various forms of marine life that inhabit the touch tanks.

Check out Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

For a friendly and fun family experience, visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Center. Young and old will enjoy seeing the turtle hospital. The place is wheelchair friendly and the guides are helpful and interesting. Check with them for release dates, as they do set the turtles free if they can. Tables are set out that explain the turtle mission.

Best Topsail Restaurants

Beach Bums Grill & Bar $11 – 30

A North Topsail Beach staple offering cold drinks, good food, and live music right along the beach. Telephone: 979-871-9145 Web: Beach Bums Bar & Grill

Seaview Pier Restaurant Under $10

Enjoy a fresh meal right on the pier! This friendly restaurant combines a picturesque view of the Atlantic Ocean with a nice little restaurant offering freshly prepared seafood and other delectable items. Telephone: 910-328-3172 Web: Seaview Pier Restaurant

Beach Shop & Grill $10 – 30

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this eclectic shop and restaurant uses the finest ingredients to create inspired takes on low-country inspired foods. They have an award winning wine list with more than 250 selections representing every major wine region in the world. Telephone: 910-328-6501 Web: Beach Shop & Grill

The Breezeway $11 – 30

This casual seafood family restaurant provides waterfront dining at its very best. Conveniently located 6.2 miles south of Surf City stoplight The Breezeway sits right at the waters edge. Telephone: 910-328-4302 Web: The Breezeway

Topsail Steamer $11 – 30

Topsail Steamer offers Seafood Steamer Pots prepared with fresh local seafood, meats, veggies and home-made spices to take home, steam, eat and enjoy. Telephone: 910-328-2645 Web: Topsail Steamer

Best Topsail Nightlife

Brass Pelican, Surf City

Known for its laid-back atmosphere and dive bar status, you can enjoy a cold drink, tasty bar food, live music, the outdoor area and a come-as-you-are atmosphere here. Telephone: 910-328-4373 Web: Brass Pelican

Hopsail Island, Surf City

This full service bottle shop and tap room serves up some of the best and most unique beer (and wine) on this island—and all with a smile coupled with friendly service. Check out their event schedule, too. Telephone: 910-803-2325 Web: Hopsail Island

Lor-re-lei’s Pub & Grill, Sneads Ferry

Go off island for this one and enjoy a full menu and some really cold beer. Lo-re-lei’s also offers live music, karaoke contests, dance parties, as well as pool and darts tournaments. Telephone: 910-327-0900 Web: Lor-re-lei’s Pub & Grill

Salty Turtle Beer Company, Surf City

Locals love the Salty Turtle and you will too. Enjoy this brewery and taproom complete with a beer garden. You can even bring your own food in with you. Telephone: 910-803-2019 Web: Salty Turtle Beer Company

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, Surf City

You can’t have romance without fresh local oysters—and they serve them up daily at Shuckin’ Shack. They also host “Sundays At The Shack” with live music on their pet-friendly patio every Sunday in June-August from 4-6pm. Telephone: 910-803-2037 Web: Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar

Best Topsail Hotels


  1. Anastazja

    This is another article on North Carolina that is just wonderful as we make plans for our trip back east in June.  Topsail Island sounds like a great place to spend a few days.  I am particularly interest in the Sea Turtle Rescue Center sounds amazing.  I also appreciate the fact that the humidity is better in the spring than summer, but our time there would be dictated by when we head east.  Again, thanks for the tips in terms of restaurants.  

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome   I hope you can get to visit Topsail Island North Carolina soon 🙂

  2. Leah

    Small beach towns are some of my favorite places for a vacation! Visiting North Carolina is definitely on my travel list and Topsail Island looks like a great town to visit.

    I love that there are some kid-friendly options here too. The Ecological Marine Adventures and Sea Turtle Rescue Center both sound really fun and educational. 

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Topsail Island is one of my favorite East Coast beach destinations.  That and the Outer Banks.  Neither can be beat for a small town atmosphere with a beachy vibe 🙂  Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Nyny J


    This is a great site! I have not been to North Carolina except to the airport. I like that your site provides detailed information on where to go and activities on the island. 

    I am from an island myself, in the Caribbean, and can relate to the experience. However, every island is different and has its unique features and atmosphere.

    I will surely bookmark your site and go back to get more information when I plan a trip.

    Thank you for sharing!

    All the best,


    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree.  That is what I love about traveling to different areas and different beaches.  They all have their own atmosphere and vibe.  The North Carolina coast is wonderful.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

  4. Holly

    Love your article. Its always refreshing to learn about different places to travel within the US that are outside of the typical beach cities like Miami, LA, etc. I have never been to North Carolina, but now I am definitely considering it, especially since there are dog friendly beaches. It seems like a good place to travel where there won’t a lot of people/crowds, which for me is a plus.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, less crowds and great small town atmosphere.  You’ll love it Holly 🙂

  5. Anna

    Hello There. Very nice article. Thank you for providing all the details along with pricing. I never thought of Topsail Island North Carolina as a destination for our next vacation but after reading your wonderful article, this is definitely an option now. Also, you have very enticing pictures on the website. They make me want to go there right now.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Anna!  I know you would love Topsail Island North Carolina.  Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Alex

    Hey Leahrae! Reading your article made me want to pack my stuff and board the next plane to NC. I’ve never been there, but I can see lots of reasons to visit there 🙂 Out of the three towns, North Topsail Beach intrigues me the most since it the less crowded one, but I would also visit Topsail Beach. I also love the different suggestions for restaurants, I normally eat 3x my daily calories when I’m on vacation haha. Thanks for the information, I will bookmark your page and I will keep in mind NC for this summer!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will find Topsail Island to be less crowded in general than other beach destinations.  I prefer to have a little more serenity and quiet.  You’ll get that on Topsail Island.  Thanks for your visit to our Topsail Island North Carolina guide.

  7. Sharon

    I like islands that I can hop in the car and drive to my destination. The sea turtle rescue sounds impressive. Being able to volunteer at the turtle hospital would be an adventure. Just reading about laying outside on a beach next to the water makes me want to get in the car and drive there today. I would like to try the Beach Bums Grill & Bar.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree and Topsail Island is a great place to visit and be able to see all the sights of the area.  Glad you enjoyed your visit to Beach Travel Destinations.

  8. Deborah

    What a wonderful place to visit. I absolutely love your thorough description of each specific beach and the amenities that are available. I would love to visit once the border opens up again for international travel. I and many other Canadians are anxiously awaiting the opening of our joint border. The beaches of North Carolina have definitely made my list of must-visit places. Thank you.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Depending on where you are in Canada, yes a visit to North Carolina wouldn’t be too far.  Even for a good road trip!  Hopefully things will lighten soon with the restrictions.  I sure hope so!

  9. Lily

    I had no idea that there were beaches like this in North Carolina, I really love the idea of getting away to a beach especially an island. I can see by your photos that you can park your vehicle on the beach for fishing and I would love to see the sea turtle rescue center. Even better I can take my dog and we can enjoy the beach runs together.

    I can’t wait to book a Marine adventure and get out for some sea fun. Great review thanks.

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Most people think of California, Florida or Hawaii for beaches.  The east coast is beautiful and North Carolina and some pretty awesome beaches.  Glad you enjoyed my Topsail Island North Carolina guide Lily.

  10. Molly

    This place sounds wonderful, thanks for all the info!  I think it would be so fun to volunteer to rehabilitate turtles and I also really appreciate that they have Ecological Marine Adventure for children to connect with nature and our planet!  Is Topsail normally pretty crowded/touristy or is it fairly unknown?  What would be the best time of year to visit to avoid crowds and/or hiked prices?

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Even during the busy season, Topsail Island just doesn’t get as busy and crowded as most other beaches. You don’t have to deal with thousands of other vacationers fighting for a spot on the beach. … When you vacation on Topsail Island, all you’ll experience is peace and quiet.  You will enjoy Molly!

  11. Lawrence Dora

    Hey there Leahrae,

    I have always wanted to visit the United States and after reading your article Topsail Island, North Carolina is definately going to be one of my many destinations. I love that it is a barrier island and i will make sure to visit during spring as per your recomendation. Thank you



    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Lawrence.  Glad you enjoyed my Topsail Island North Carolina guide.

  12. Groomy Dude

    Hi Leahrae, 

    I like your site! This is a great place to find valuable information on beachfront locations. I have been to Outer Banks. I have to say we loved it! There were a few things that I have learned from experience that I could have known had I seen your site first. 

    We did find North Topsail Beach and had the opportunity to get out on the beach in a four-wheel drive. I think had I seen this site first we could have spent more time enjoying our vacation than trying to find what to do and where to go. 

    I think it is great you have a list of some of the places to go for dining too. That is always an issue when we go somewhere because you don’t know what is around you. The way you have given a list and a quick overview of what is available is great! 

    We loved the NC beaches and will go back. I will visit your site again before I do! 



    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Chad!  I would have to agree, I love Topsail Island as well.  Just so beautiful and serene.  I appreciate the visit and for taking time to leave me some comments.  Thank you!

  13. Paul

    Thank you for submitting such an awesome article. Topsail island indeed offers a laid-back getaway with serene beaches and a small-town atmosphere.I have always had a dream of visiting surf city for for sure and this would be a great one to venture. such a unique experience that would be for sure. Thank you

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Paul!  Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  14. Mike

    Hello there! Oh wow, I am currently in North Carolina. Unfortunately, I am closer to the side of the Tennessee border so I am nowhere close to the shoreline of the state. I practically forgot that there is a beach in this state. Looking at the pictures you posted, it seems like a really beautiful place to visit sometime. Summer is approaching so this seems like a good spot to visit around then. Thanks for creating this post!

    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Mike!  Too bad you are not on their coast.  Topsail Island is wonderful.  Hope you visit soon!


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