Posted on 10/23/2017

Everything You Need to Know About Beach Driving

Everything You Need to Know About Beach Driving 

Beach driving is one of the great things about vacationing on Topsail Island. Unlike many beaches in the country, Topsail Island's different communities each allow beach driving at various times of the year with certain conditions. For fall fisherman this is particularly exciting as it allows you access to different areas of the Island and lots of great fishing. Don't forget to check out our previous post: How To Have A Fantastic Fall Fishing Trip for more tips and tricks about the local fishing scene. However, there are a few rules, some tips, and tricks, along with great responsibility when you drive on the beach. Here is what you need to know if your planning on driving on the beach during your Topsail Island Vacation. 

Rules and Regulations 

Rule and Regulations

Topsail Island is made up of three different separate and distinct municipalities, each with its own rules and regulations related to beach driving. The different municipalities do not have reciprocity with each other. If you wish to have access to all the beaches of Topsail Island, and you can, at certain times of the year, you will need to purchase a pass from each of the different towns. It is also important to note every vehicle must be registered, have a proper license plate, and insurance per North Carolina law. Here is what you need to know about each, and links to find out more. 

North Topsail 

  • Access is allowed year round. 
  • Driving is allowed from 6 am to 7 pm 4/1 thru 9/30 and between 7 am and 5 pm 10/1, thru 3/31. 
  • All vehicles must display a properly issued pass
  • Daily Passes cost $20.00
  • Weekly Passes cost $60.00
  • Annual Passes cost $100.00
  • The best access point it 3962 River Drive, North Topsail Island.
  • For more information contact 910-328-1349 ext 20.
  • All passes can be purchased online and will be mailed within 10 days. 

Surf City

  • Beach Driving is allowed for FISHING only. There is no general access for beach driving. 
  • Access is allowed from 9/10 to 5/15 of each year. 
  • Night Access is allowed from 10/1 to 5/1 of each year (fishing access only).
  • The best access point is on Kinston Ave, Surf City, just south of the Surf City Fishing Pier. 
  • Surf City is located in between North Topsail and Topsail Beach. The Surf City Beach driving boundaries are 1300 Block of South Shore on the south and Dolphin Street to the North. 
  • All vehicles must display a pass when on the beach. 
  • Passes can only be purchased at the Surf City Police Dept. Passes can be obtained 7 days a week from 8 am to 5 pm. 

Topsail Beach

  • Beach driving is allowed only for FISHING purposes. There is no general access for beach driving. 
  • Access is allowed from 10/1 to 3/31 each year. 
  • Night Access is allowed for fishing. 
  • Permits can be purchased M-F 8 am to 4 pm at the Topsail Beach Police Dept. On the weekend till 11/19 permits can be purchased at Bush Marina and after 11/19 from 7 am to 12 om by appointment at the Topsail Beach Police Dept. 
  • Permits cost $25.00 for a weekly pass or $50.00 for an annual pass. 

Driving on the Beach 

Driving On The Beach

Recommended Equipment

  1. Tow Straps Small shovel.
  2. Collapsable or foldable ones work great for this.
  3. Tire pressure gauge.
  4. Portable air compressor
  5. First aid kit Fire extinguisher
  6. Jack and Jack Support Board
  7. Cell Phone
  8. Map
  9. Tide Chart or App 

10 Tips and Tricks 

10 Tips and Tricks

  1. 4x4 is not required but is strongly recommended.
  2. Two-wheel drive vehicles are allowed but highly discouraged from attempting to drive on the beach.
  3. Always lower your vehicle's tire pressure by 15- 25 psi. Soft tires give your vehicle much better traction on the sand.
  4. Follow existing tracks, this will help ensure you do not get stuck and leave the smallest footprint on the beach. 
  5. If you do get stuck, do not spin the tires as this will only cause you to sink deeper into the sand. Instead, dig out behind the tires until you gain traction.
  6. Program one of the local tow company's phone numbers into your cell phone prior to heading to the beach, this way you have a "last resort" if stuck.
  7. Make sure to wash your vehicle, especially the undercarriage immediately after leaving the beach, salt water is highly corrosive.
  8. Lend a hand. You never know when you may need help, so make sure to offer assistance when needed.
  9. NEVER drive on any vegetation or near any wildlife. 
  10. Make sure to keep an eye on the tides. Tides often come in faster than you think and wet sand is something to avoid. 
  11. Watch out for kids, beach chairs, and other non-driving beachgoers. Sun glare and speed can turn a fun day into a tragedy. 
  12. Go slow. Remember you're on vacation take an easy on the gas pedal and relax. 

We hope you have a great time enjoying the Topsail Island beach driving experience. Whether on North Topsail for a pleasure ride with the family, or fishing in Surf City and Topsail Beach we are sure you will have a great experience. Please remember to be a good steward of our beaches. Topsail Island has beautiful beaches and a fragile ecosystem. We all must be responsible for taking care of our beaches, so clean, sustainable beaches, are available for future generations. So come enjoy a great fall vacation on Topsail Island. 

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