Learn About Topsail Island's Rich Heritage

Topsail Island NC is located in southeastern North Carolina in between Wilmington and Jacksonville. Topsail offers 26 miles of clean white sandy beaches and glistening blue ocean waters. Our family beach offers something for every age and every dream. Experience marvelous sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean, stroll our quiet beaches looking for seashells, kayak through the marsh and observe the wildlife, go fishing along the shore or from one of the three piers, or simply relax and let time pass you by without a care in the world. The possibilities are endless on North Carolina's best kept secret, Topsail Island.

Topsail (pronounced "Topsul") is rich in history. It is said that the name originated during the days of piracy. Pirates would hide their ships in the channels behind the dunes, wait for the passing merchant ships and attack them. As the sailors became wise to the pirate's hunting game, they would watch for the tops of the pirates' sails showing over the dunes - hence the name "Topsail Island".

During World War II, Topsail Island was home to the Army for "Operation Bumblebee" to study and train with rockets. The Assembly Building in Topsail Beach was the location where the experimental missiles were produced. The concrete towers scattered about the island were observation towers for tracking the flight of the missiles.

Following World War II, Topsail was developed for the public. Ward Realty was instrumental in the early stages of development on Topsail. A.H. Ward of Ward Realty helped layout the basic structure that you know today and since then, Ward Realty has developed 19 subdivisions on the island. Currently, there are three towns that make up Topsail Island: Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Beach.

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Surf City

Surf City is located in the center of Topsail Island. Incorporated in 1949, Surf City is the commercial center of Topsail Island and has close to 1,400 year-around residents. Most of the things to do in Topsail Island are located in Surf City. Surf City is accessible by the swing bridge located on Roland Avenue or NC Highway 50.

Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach was incorporated in 1963 and is at the southern end of the island. Having a year-round population of close to 500, Topsail embodies the quiet family atmosphere with very little commercialization. Topsail Beach is only accessible through Surf City.

North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach was incorporated in 1990 and is comprised of the north end of Topsail Island in Onslow County. Formerly West Onslow Beach and North Topsail Shores, North Topsail Beach has a year-round population with close to 850 year-round residents. Virtually no commercial business is located in North Topsail Beach, but Sneads Ferry is just across the high-rise bridge on NC Highway 210.

Today, Topsail Island is a great family beach vacation destination. Our guests and homeowners come from all over the country, and they all agree that Topsail is a special place. They believe that Topsail is just like the beach they went to as a child. Though we believe that Topsail Island is the best vacation spot on the coast, please take the time to view our site and look at Topsail Island Things to See and Do, Topsail restaurants, Topsail Island business community and start planning your next family beach vacation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.