Topsail Island & Hampstead

A string of communities dotting the 26-mile-long shore host family businesses that bolster the small-town feel. Think of Topsail as paradise with a simple charm.

Completed in early 2019, a new high rise bridge connecting the mainland of Surf City to Topsail Island, was completed 10 months earlier than planned. This new bridge replaced the old fashioned swing bridge that connected locals and visitors to the island for years. One of the region’s least populated beaches, Topsail Island is void of super high-rise hotels and condominiums. Locals still come to weekend homes that have been in their families for generations. This beach is a favorite day-trip destination thanks to public parking and wooden fishing piers and watermen selling fresh shrimp from coolers on their tailgates.

Make sure you say the name correctly. It’s not pronounced like the “top-SAIL” on a schooner, although that may be what the island is named after. Rather, local dialect demands “top-SUL.”

Topsail Island is the next barrier island of any significant size north of Wrightsville Beach. The strip is split between the two counties.

Onslow County’s northern half includes the town of North Topsail Beach. You may hear someone call it by the original name, West Onslow Beach. If that happens, you’ll know you’ve encountered a true local. Politicians changed the name when the town incorporated in 1990. Just over the high-rise bridge to the mainland sits Sneads Ferry. The fishing village has sprouted many new homes, but the community maintains its quaint character.

Surf City and Topsail Beach lay in Pender County. The new high rise bridge takes you to Surf City, where you can still shop a little and meet locals at seafood steam bars. Serene Topsail Beach is the island’s southernmost town.

Year-round populations in these towns are small but they swell into the thousands in summer. Yet, the area never feels crowded.
 

Topsail Steamer

Instructions: Pick out one of 7 Signature Bay Buckets® or build your own with your choice of seafood and sausage, let them know how many you need to feed, pick your seasoning, and in minutes you have a bucket of steamed seafood ready to please your partner, group or party. Pick up your pot at their spot in Wrightsville Beach, or have it shipped to your bungalow for the perfect way to end a day at beach.

Burrito Shak

Our friends and neighbors are nuts for Mexican food, burritos and tacos especially. We prefer the kind that Burrito Shak serves, thick with well-seasoned meats or seafood.

Greater Topsail Chamber of Commerce

First time visitors to Topsail Island would do well to stop first at the Greater Topsail Chamber of Commerce. As you cross the swing bridge headed toward the beach, look for their building on the right on N.C. Highway 50. The Chamber staff is happy to provide visitors with whatever information they need to make their Topsail Island time pleasurable.

Topsail Charter Fishing

Visitors from near and far relish Topsail Island’s many opportunities to hook the big one. Surf cast, drop a line off a pier or reserve a charter boat. The fish are always biting on Topsail Island it seems. Headquartered in the Fishing Village on Roland Avenue in Surf City, Topsail Charter Fishing docks 10 different boats and captains.

Fishing Village

Everything anglers need to enjoy a day of fishing may be found in a building on Roland Avenue in Surf City aptly named the Fishing Village. This business is also one of the oldest on Topsail Island. They have been operating there since 1952.

ArtExposure!

Love art? There is a facility about 20 miles north of Wilmington and near Topsail Island you’ll want to visit. Located on U.S. Highway 17 about a 10 minute-drive from the Surf City swing bridge is ArtExposure!. Look for it just south of Lowe’s Home Improvement store at the intersection of U.S. 17 and N.C. Highway 210.

Beach Furniture Outfitters

The only bad thing about the beach is having to leave it, which may convince you to buy a Topsail Island home or redecorate your mainland home with some seaside style. Either way, visit Beach Furniture Outfitters in its new location at 204-F North New River Drive in Surf City for just the right look.

Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille

From fresh seafood accompanied by tasty sauces, to crab cakes done three ways, to the best baby back ribs on Topsail Island, Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille aims to please every taste. Ribs are slowly roasted, as they should be, so tender the meat falls from the bone. Select sweet Vidalia onion or Cajun beer barbecue sauce. The ribs, fish tacos, fried seafood platters and shrimp and grits are among entrees.

The Crab Shack

Located between Wilmington and Topsail Beach, The Crab Shack opened in 2012. Next door to Poplar Grove Plantation on US Highway 17 North, the restaurant features whole, steamed blue crabs, messy to eat but a delicacy well worth the effort.

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