Topsail Island, North Carolina
North Topsail Beach ~ Surf City ~ Topsail
Topsail Island is long and narrow, stretching 26 miles in length and between 500 and 1,500 feet in width. Topsail Island includes North Topsail Beach and Surf City, in addition to Topsail Beach proper. Residents and visitors call it a stretch of paradise, or "Mayberry." The island offers a simplicity reminiscent of a different time where the pace of life slows down and calm washes over you.
On the north tip of Topsail Island is North Topsail Beach. The town was incorporated in 1990 and has less than 1,000 year-round residents. The northernmost tip joins the New River Inlet Channel, where vehicles are permitted to drive out onto the shore. North Topsail Beach is located in Onslow County.
Surf City, incorporated in 1949, is situated between N. Topsail and Topsail Beach proper. With land in both Pender and Onslow counties, the town is home to more than 2,000 year-round residents. The majority of the commercial development on Topsail is found here. It is now home to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, where thousands of tourists visit rescued turtles every summer.
Topsail Beach Proper, incorporated in 1963, is the smallest of the three towns and is situated on the southern end of the island. Although Topsail Beach proper only has about 500 permanent residents living here year round, it is a very popular spot for
vacationers due in part to the lack of commercialization.
There is a bit of history behind the name "Topsail Island." During the times when pirates roamed the waters, scavengers would hide in the inlets between Topsail Island and the mainland. When ships approached the pirates' hiding places, they would storm the approaching vessel and take control of the crew and steal their cargo. Soon, word spread that pirates inhabited the waters off of Topsail Island and ships would watch for the tips of the pirate ship's "top sail" when approaching. If the top sail was visible, the ship would retreat from the area to protect their cargo. Today, there are no more pirates lingering in the warm Atlantic waters, but there is plenty of excitement and fun to be had here.
The most popular attraction for residents and visitors to Topsail Island is probably our beaches. Pristine white sandy beaches stretch for miles in both directions. Although the summer population typically grows to more than 8,000 residents, it's not hard to find your own quiet place along the shore from which to relax and watch the waves roll.
Other popular destinations include the Missiles and More Museum on Channel Boulevard, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center on Tortuga Road and the Patio Playground on S. Anderson Boulevard in Topsail Beach.