Overview of Topsail Island
First things first: Pronounciation.
If you say Top-SAIL, we will know you’re not from here. The proper pronounciation is Top-SOUL or Tops’l. Who would have guessed that, right? Topsail Island is a 26 mile long barrier island, with 3 communities located between the crashing waves: Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Beach.
Once upon a time, swarthy pirates would attempt to hide their ships behind the island, but their sails were still visible from the ocean. The buccaneers labeled the white sands, Topsail Island.
Wouldn’t that be a cool history? Unfortunatly, I think pirates were smarter than that, and the name really derived from the New Topsail Inlet, which was depicted on old navigational charts. But if anyone asks, let’s stick with the pirate folklore. Much cooler.
- This number is multiplied by 8 in the summer months, when the vacation rentals, hotels, and campers are full, and people invite their friends to visit. Somehow, the island remains afloat!
Schools: 1 elementary, 1 middle school
- This new school will be built and ready for the 2018-2019 school year. Located in Surf City, the school will be a great addition to the area. It’s actually located just over the bridge, not on the actual isalnd.
Average summer temp: 78 degrees F
- Summer’s are hot and humid, which doesn’t really matter since the beach is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. The ocean breeze always helps. It has snowed a few times in the winter here, and there is something just breathtaking about seeing snow on the beach.
Distance to beach: Open your window, throw a stone.
- This is an island. There are plenty of beach accesses on the ocean side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other side. It’s the perfect place to be.
Super Market Chains: 0
- There are a number of super market chains located just over the bridge, but not on the actual island.
Food: Very few fast food chains (like Dominos) and a number of locally owned restaurants (Jolly Roger, Beach Shop and Grill, Daddy Macs, Shaka Taco, & more)
- The local restaurants offer a variety of faires, including fresh seafood of course. There are also delicious bakeris, ice cream shops, and delis on the island.
Dollar stores: Nope!
- Take that, Dollar General!
- The island has certainly been built up a lot in the last decade, but we aren’t ready to pay paradise for a superstore parking lot.
- This park is a happening place. Built next to the intracoastal waterway, your kids can enjoy swings and slides, while watching people launch small watercrafts and paddle boards into the Intracoastal. Many events are held here as well, like movie night in the summer.
Nearest Target: 29.8 miles from just over the bridge
- And now with a Starbucks inside. Skinny caramel machiotto to sip in the dollars deals section, please!
Nearest Walmart: 20.5 miles from just over the bridge
- I am not kidding when I say that this Walmart is actually nice. You will not hate shopping here. It’s super convienient to Hampstead too.
- There is a hefty fine for anyone caught playing on the dunes. The dune help protect the island from the surf and messing up the dune, in any way, is harmful to the integrity of the island.
- If you don’t come by water, there are only 2 ways to enter or leave the island. One bridge is located in North Topsail Beach and the other in Surf City. The Surf City swing bridge will soon be replaced due to it’s age and unreliability.
Beach Accesses: A lot
- There are a plethroa of public beach access, some with space for very few cars, and some with large parking lots. There are some handicap accessible ramps, some accesses with showers, and some with bathrooms.
Surf Reports: 3 Surf Cams
- North Topsail (SeaView Fishing Pier): http://surfchex.com/cams/north-topsail-island-web-cam/
- Surf City Pier – North: http://surfchex.com/cams/surf-city-pier-north/
- Surf City Pier – South: http://surfchex.com/cams/surf-city-pier-south/
Many locals groan about tourists, but with the same breath, they are thankful. Tourism is at the heart of the economy in Topsail Island, so we really do welcome visitors with thankful hearts, even if we curse at the traffic.
*Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Beach are separate cities that share many of the same resources, like schools. Some information has been combined from all three cities in order to give an overall view of the island itself, despite many resources located off the island.
-By RCI Staff