What You Need to Know About Topsail Beach
If you've been following our tour of Topsail Island, North Carolina, then you know we've reached the southern part of this beautiful 26-mile island and have arrived in Topsail Beach, NC. If you've stayed in a Topsail Island rental, you may have heard the entire coast of the island referred to as Topsail beach. But today, we're talking specifically about the Town of Topsail Beach, the smallest and southernmost of the three communities found on the island.
The Town of Topsail Beach is 5.9 square miles of barrier island beauty flanked by the sparkling Atlantic Ocean waters on one side and the calm soundside waters of the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. Only accessible by boat prior to World War II, Topsail was frequented by the area's residents who made the short trip to the island to enjoy the pristine beaches and blue-green Atlantic waters. During the war, the Army took possession of the island and built the road from Camp David to the sound and installed a floating bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway, where the present bridge is located. After the war, the Navy took an interest in the island for a secret missile testing program. It wasn't long after that, with some additional construction and improvements, that Topsail offered vehicle access for both its residents and visitors. The rest is history!
About Topsail Beach, NCIf you've visited Topsail Island, you probably already know that Topsail is not pronounced by the locals as Top-sail but Tops'l. Although folklore has it that the island was named such because pirate ships hid behind the island with their topsails visible from the sea, the name actually came from New Topsail Inlet. This inlet's name can be found on early navigational charts with the other Topsail Inlet located in Beaufort, NC. Soon after J.G. Anderson developed the southernmost end of the island and named it New Topsail Beach, the island has been called Topsail ever since. You can read more about the fascinating origins and history of Topsail Island here.
Incorporated in 1963, the Town of Topsail Beach boasts a friendly, family-oriented style of beach living. High rise development is not allowed, beautification is encouraged, and conservation of the island environment is a top priority. There are over 1200 homes, but only about 500 year-round residents. The seasonal influx of tourists increases the population to about 7,000, which helps sustain the town's motels, restaurants, gift shops, fishing pier and other businesses.
Attractions & Things To Do in Topsail Beach
Of course the main attraction on Topsail Island and in Topsail Beach is, well, the beach. Soft white sands are the perfect complement to the crystalline Atlantic waters, plus the laid-back island vibe that helps you take that next step into relaxation, rejuvenation and restoration. While the beach is the main attraction here, it's not the only one.
Here are more favorite Topsail Beach attractions and things to do in and around town. Try one or try them all. If you can't fit them all in on this Topsail Beach vacation, plan some new ones for next time you're here.
Topsail Beach Activities: Whatever your favorite beach activity is, you'll find it here. From sunbathing, swimming, shelling, surfing, fishing and on-the-water action to reading, dolphin watching, bird watching and just laying back, closing your eyes and listening to the symphony of coastal sounds that surround you—Topsail Beach never disappoints.
Jolly Roger Fishing Pier: Whether you're dropping a line or taking a stroll, stepping out onto the 850-foot wooden pier over the Atlantic is an iconic experience at this locally loved landmark. View the abundant area wildlife, including sea and shore birds, fish, dolphin, and sea turtles. Some of the island’s best sunrises are seen from the pier, and full moons are a special treat as they come up over the ocean. The pier is fully lit at night and an evening stroll is a tradition for many generations of Topsail vacationers. The Jolly Roger Pier has a fully stocked tackle shop, with all bait and tackle for pier, surf, sound, and offshore fishing as well as rod rentals, ice, snacks, beer and more. The tackle shop also carries a complete line of beach necessities, from sunscreen and toiletries, to Jolly Roger branded hats and t-shirts. The staff is a great source of local information and lore, and they’re open early and late for your convenience. Spectators can access the pier for only $1—and it's well worth the buck.
Lea Island: Located between Topsail and Figure Eight islands in Pender County, Lea Island is one of only three barrier islands in North Carolina that remain uninhabited. The island is only accessible by boat and because there is no development there, so it has retained the natural features characteristic of an untrammeled barrier island. Lea Island also offers abundant wildlife and is one of the most important havens for shorebirds and waterbirds in North Carolina, as well as an important nesting site for federally threatened loggerhead sea turtles. It’s a popular destination for beachgoers who enjoy shelling, walking, swimming, fishing, surfing and wildlife viewing. Audubon biologists protect bird and sea turtle nesting sites during the spring and summer by roping off nests and educating island visitors about how people and dogs can inadvertently disturb nesting birds and sea turtles. Park on the northwestern point and walk around or snake behind the island if you have a shallow draft boat. Then go ahead and explore it for yourself!
Missiles and More Museum: Learn about the fascinating, storied past of Topsail Island at the Missiles and More Museum, housed in the historic Assembly Building in Topsail Beach on Anderson Boulevard. The building, constructed in 1946, was used by the government to assemble missiles for a secret missile operation being conducted on Topsail Island. But that's not all! Delve into to the people, times and goings on that led up to the present day beach vacation destination that Topsail Beach is today. Oh the stories there are to tell. Plan your historic adventure and make sure to stop by next time you're in town.
Topsail Roller Skating Rink: Speaking of landmarks, take a little spin back in time at the Topsail Beach skating rink where you can still listen to music played on a record player and you can roll down memory lane while making new memories with your family. It only costs a few dollars to go skating (and that includes the skates!) but you can't put a price on the experience. The Topsail Skating Rink is open every night during the summer season, so set aside an evening to come out and enjoy it.
Queen Jean Fishing Charters & Sightseeing Cruises: Located at the docks near the Assembly Building in Topsail Beach, the Queen Jean offers half-day fishing trips, kids' fishing adventures and evening sightseeing cruises. Reservations are recommended to guarantee your spot or you can purchase tickets in advance at the dock. Experience Topsail Beach from the water and get a bigger perspective of the island and its inherent beauty by land and by sea.
Patio Playground: The Patio Playground is the only Putt-Putt golf facility on the island. It’s family-friendly for all ages. The Patio Playground is the original 1955 retro putt-putt golf experience offering ice cream, movie rentals, bike rentals and an air-conditioned arcade. Enjoy the DJ on Wednesday nights playing oldies and break out your dancing shoes for the Friday night DJ dance party and golf. Also keep an eye out for special characters to take pictures with during your visit.
You can find more attractions and things to do in and around Topsail Beach here.
Where to Stay in Topsail Beach
Topsail Beach vacation rentals give you splendid accommodations in locations from the soundside to the oceanside and everywhere in between. Choose the amenities that matter most to you and personalize your vacation so that it's customized to your needs and wants. It is your vacation after all. Make it the best it can be! Let Topsail Rentals Online and Century 21 Action Topsail help you find your vacation-home-away-from-home where you have the perfect combination of vacation luxuries plus all of the comforts of home.
Vacation rentals in the Town of Topsail Beach are set in barrier island beauty with convenient access to the southernmost part of the island. Particularly popular in this area are the Serenity Point vacation rentals offering exceptional views of acres of undeveloped beachscapes and natural beauty as far as the eye can see.
Isn't it time to start planning your next Topsail Beach vacation? You can start right here, right now.
Living in Topsail Beach
Are you looking for your own piece of paradise? Let us help you make beach life and island living your happy reality. Century 21 Action Topsail can help you navigate the Topsail Beach real estate and sales market with ease and get settled into island life quickly, easily and without stress. Our professional, experienced and qualified real estate agents know Topsail Island and would love to show you around.
Want to get a head start? Take a peek at the Topsail Island homes for sale that are currently on the market. Questions? Contact us and we'll answer any questions you have and get you started on the path to owning the beach house of your dreams.
Do you live or vacation in Topsail Beach, North Carolina? Tell us what you love most about life on Topsail Island.