A majority of my life has been spent near the water. Growing up in Maryland it was the Chesapeake Bay, and frequent visits to The Eastern Shore, Ocean City, and Rehoboth Beach. As a teen, we took family trips every summer and would visit Topsail Island and Myrtle Beach. When I was 16, and a senior in high school, my family moved down to Jacksonville, NC. That meant Topsail Island was now less than 20 miles away from home. It was the only thing that I was excited for when we moved.
Now that I live in Raleigh, I find myself missing the ocean, and the pace you find that comes with living there. We call it, “island time.” It’s much slower, and calmer. In my opinion, I do find it to be one of the best beaches in the area, especially when compared to Emerald Isle, or Wrightsville Beach.
Topsail Island – A Hidden Gem
Topsail Island really is a hidden gem of North Carolina. It’s predominately a family beach at the north end, but that also means it is quiet and peaceful. Surf City is another part of Topsail Island, but more the “party spot.” It is where all the area high schoolers can be found after the bell rings in the spring, and during summer break. Surf City is also where all the dining is located on the Island. Unlike other beaches, Topsail Island has a ton of parking, and guess what… it’s free! Unlike most other beaches where parking is very limited, and you have to pay. You are also able to bring “adult beverages” into the beach, which I know isn’t as common place on a lot of beaches as it used to be!
As with most beaches it gets more crowded during the summer, especially on the weekends. It is something to behold though during the week. On a good weekday you can find yourself with a vast span of beach all to yourself. I really enjoyed the years I spent living in Sneads Ferry, which is literally across the bridge from the beach. I lived less than 3 miles away then. It’s also safe. I can’t reiterate that enough. This isn’t the kind of place where someone would steal your stuff if you left it unattended for a while.
Topsail Island Finds – Shark Teeth And Beach Glass Galore!
One of my favorite things to do while at the beach is to hunt for shark teeth, and beach glass. The beach is unusually covered with sea shells, partially due to nature of the sea bed in the area. However, the many years of dredging from trying to save the Inlet at the north end helps a lot too. While maybe not the most exciting, this “hobby” is very relaxing, and might I also add, free. I had days where I would spent over 3 hours walking up and down spans of Topsail Island. It’s a good way to just clear your mind, and zen out. You can find some tips here, if you are interested in looking for teeth and beach glass on your next vacation!
The William H. Sumner
This is something neat that I learned about Topsail Island only a few years ago. The Sumner was a ship which crashed into the shore of Topsail Island around 1919. From time to time, due to storms and such, the remains come unearthed. There is much mystery surrounding the crash, and you can read about it more from Wrightsville Beach Magazine.
For those of you that have been lucky enough to visit Topsail Island, you know what a wonderful beach it is. If not, I would definitely add it to your list of beaches to see, especially if you live in North Carolina.
Feature Image: Sunset after hurricane Sandy, October 2012 ©thepollyanna.com