Are you headed to Topsail Island this summer? Use our list of awesome local adventures to ensure you have an unforgettable experience!
Ecological Marine Adventures
If you're the kind of vacationer who enjoys learning about the local area, Ecological Marine Adventures has just what you're looking for. They offer classes for both kids and adults as well as multi-day and/or single-day summer camps covering a variety of topics.
The purpose of their camps is to "encourage children to explore the outdoors, go on adventures, and most importantly, to love and take care of the ocean."
For those of you who are looking for a truly unique experience, join Ecological Marine Adventures for a nighttime mission and help the research team collect and compile data about ghost crabs on Topsail Island! For this adventure, you will help researchers "collect weather parameters as well as identify, measure and release ghost crabs."
And if all that still isn't enough, Ecological Marine Adventures offers FREE weekly community science classes to the local and vacationing families of Topsail Island. Each Tuesday from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at 116 South Topsail Drive in Surf City, students will participate in short experiments as well as indoor and outdoor activities. No registration is required for these community classes.
Catch Some Waves
"Surfing's one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind."
- Laird Hamilton
Surf City Surf School offers group and private lessons catering to students of all ages and skill levels, and takes pride in their holistic approach to "safety, ocean knowledge and, of course, SURFING!"
Group surf lessons are offered daily and focus on teaching new students about "what's going on around us in the ocean, the equipment we use, how to properly "pop-up," and how best to exercise safety in the water."
Private lessons can be scheduled around the rest of your vacation itinerary and last about 1.5 hours on average. These lessons focus on teaching you everything you need to know about environmental factors (tides, winds, waves), equipment, technique, and safety so that you can be shredding the waves like a local by the time you're done.
They say it best when they say: "In short, we exist so you can ride waves."
On Shore Surf Shop in Surf City also offers surf and paddle board lessons by appointment.
Surf 50 South
If you're looking for some action on the water, but you're not quite committed to the idea of spending your time learning to surf the eastern NC waves, then Surf 50 South may be more your speed.
Surf 50 South is a local flavor surf shop offering surfboard, paddle board, body board, single and double kayak, and bicycle rentals (including safety gear) as well as minor bike repairs. Their rental prices are very reasonable and you can manage your equipment rental from the convenience of your vacation rental by using their online portal.
And guess what? For an extra $10, they'll even deliver the equipment you need to create your self-directed, one-of-a-kind Topsail Island adventure!
Looking to combine those local learning urges with your love of the water? May we suggest the Paddling Pirate, for one of their infamous guided paddling tours or kayak fishing trips.
The paddling tours are perfect for nature lovers and others who are interested in experiencing the peaceful backwaters of the Intercoastal Waterway. On this adventure you set the pace, so bring your camera to take lots of pictures and paddle as quickly or as leisurely as you wish. The average tour lasts between two and three hours.
While it's true that Topsail Island has many different kinds of fishing options to choose from, kayak fishing is certainly one of the more adventurous of the choices. Vacationers who choose to participate in one of the Paddling Pirates saltwater marsh kayak fishing adventures will not be disappointed with this 4.5 to 5 hour trip. Note: a current NC Saltwater Fishing License IS required.
No matter which option you choose, the Paddling Pirate promises to "make every effort to tailor the experience to you and your skill." They will equip you with a "fully rigged Malibu kayak, along with rods, reels, and bait (artificial and/or live), and all required safety devices. Each adventure will begin with a safety discussion along with some basic paddling instructions. The guide will adjust and fit your kayak seat to your height and size. Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) will be adjusted to properly fit prior to launching."
2018 Summer Aquarium Program
Over the course of six Wednesday afternoons this summer, the Historical Society of Topsail Island will team with the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher to offer a series of interactive educational outreach programs designed for local and vacationing families with school-aged children.
- June 27 - Frog Songs
- July 11 - Mermaids and Pirates
- July 18 - Fantastic Fish
- July 25 - Turtle Time
- August 1 - Scaly Survivors
- August 8 - Jammin' Jellies
This program will occur on the Wednesday afternoons indicated above from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Assembly Building (720 Channel Blvd., Topsail Beach, NC 28445).
A donation of $1.00 per child is requested in order to help offset the cost.
Topsail Island is famous for its sea turtles. Sea turtle nesting season in North Carolina runs from roughly mid-May through September, so your summer vacation adventures may very well coincide with a Topsail Turtle event. One of the most unique experiences that you may be fortunate enough to catch during your Topsail Beach vacation is a release of rehabilitated turtle back into the Atlantic Ocean.
Follow The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Facebook to be notified of turtle releases and other events as they pop up throughout the summer. Witnessing the release of rehabilitated sea turtles back into the ocean is something you won't want to miss!
The photo above shows sea turtle tracks found on Topsail Island leading to the first nest of the 2018 season!
Shell Collecting and Shark Tooth Hunting
Collecting sea shells and searching for sharks teeth are classic beach pastimes. Topsail Island, with its 26 miles of beaches, is a shell and shark tooth hunting paradise.
There are some guidelines that you'll want to observe while collecting shells. The following are just a couple to keep in mind:
- Collect only what you need
- Preserve the natural habitat
- Respect private property
A truly special shell can be found at any time of day or night, anywhere along the beach, although the best finds are generally had early in the morning and/or after a big summer storm. Keep your eyes peeled any time you're on the beach and you may very well come away with a really exceptional vacation souvenir!
In addition to the plethora of sea shells that you are guaranteed to find along our coastal Carolina beaches, Topsail Island is also a well-known hot spot for finding shark teeth. Sandbar, sharpnose, blacknose and dogfish shark teeth are all pretty commonly found, although tiger, bull and great white teeth show up from time to time as well. Even cooler though are the teeth from the now-extinct Megalodon shark that are occasionally found by a lucky beachcomber!
Evening Beach Yoga
Have you ever om'd on the beach by the pale moon light? If not, here's your chance!
Experience inner and outer peacefulness on the beach on Tuesday nights from 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Roland Beach Access (102 N. Shore Drive, Surf City), and Wednesday nights from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Soundside Park (517 Roland Ave, Surf City). Mats and/or beach towels are recommended.
There is a cost for these evening adventures. The price is $5 for facility pass holders and $10 for visitors/non-pass holders. No cash will be accepted at the beach, although prepaid punch cards and credit cards will be processed on site.
Classes are weather dependent. Call 910-328-4887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Fulfill Your Need For Water Speed
Are you a thrill seeker who likes to go faster than a kayak and longer than a paddle board ride? If so, you might be looking for motorized watercraft rental facilities.
Surf City Jet Ski Rentals offers jet ski rentals as well as guided jet ski tours. Aquaholics Boat Rentals offers boat rentals, including motor boats powerful enough to pull tube riders behind the boat and through its wake. Both facilities provide required safety gear and basic equipment familiarization training as part of your watercraft rental cost.
If renting a motorized water craft isn't your thing, and you'd prefer not to have to do all the work of paddling yourself around, don't give up your hopes of a boat-based adventure yet! We have one more adventure idea for you.
Tiki Tours NC can accommodate groups of up to 46 people aboard their "Tiki Queen" paddlewheel ship or you can book a private tour for up to six people aboard their "Tiki Time" pontoon.
Hop aboard the Tiki Queen for a 2-hour nature/history tour along the Intracoastal Waterway and the back of Topsail Island. You'll learn about the history of the island's lookout towers, pirates and so much more all while keeping an eye out for Topsail Island's spectacular wildlife including sea turtles, dolphins, ospreys, pelicans and more!
OR, "if you're ready for a party... Put on your LUAU wear, bring your own drink and snack...and hop on board the TIKI QUEEN Paddlewheel to enjoy a 2-hour SUNSET PARTY! Enjoy tropical music...sit back, relax and witness one of our SPECTACULAR TOPSAIL SUNSETS! Then after dark the disco ball and dance music comes on so you can dance your way back to the dock."
Reserve the Tiki Time for your own private shelling tour. This trip is a 3 to 4 hour charter that takes you and up to 5 of your guests to Lea-Hutaff Island! This uninhabited island is known for its great shelling and bright blue, shallow water.
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