There are families in the area who can trace their family roots for generation to eastern North Carolina. Still, more and more people are coming here for the first time. Especially for people coming from further north, winter might be hard to weather. Is it worth it to pack the snow suit? Should you keep those skis accessible? Will you need to shop around for a good place to get snow tires?
The short answer is, no.
Winters are mild in Topsail. January tends to be the coldest month, but it only drops below freezing on occasion. The average high temperature is 56°F. By the end of winter in late March the average high has returned to the 60°s. A light jacket or sweatshirt are suitable for most of the season. People wear sandals year-round.
Unlike most of the year, winter is a bit more overcast in Topsail. Although we experience sunshine nearly 60% of the time here, the grey of winter here is far from intense. From December to March an average of 16 days of every month are sunny. February is the cloudiest month; only 15 of its days are sunny.
Winter on the beach is completely unlike it is during the summer. It is common to stumble onto an empty beach on cold, cloudy days. The beach it is frequently windy. For these outings wear a heavier jacket and leave any hats at home unless they fasten to your head. Leave the flips-flips there, too.
Whichever shoes you plan to wear on the beach, arrange to not bring them inside for a spell. Sand is notorious for good reason. Also, these shoes might get wet. You’re by the ocean, after all.
Winter for the Topsail newcomer will be a pleasant surprise. It is a quiet time on the island and remembered fondly during the chaos of tourist season. Boats can be seen out in the water year round, except for when the wind is too strong and water too choppy. The winters here don’t require any special gear to be comfortable. You can always trade in the snow suit for a surf suit and the skis in for a board.