Take a Break From the Beach With These Rainy Day Activities
It finally happened. You have enjoyed several days of fun in the sun and your skin is telling you to take a break! Or perhaps Mother Nature has decided to blow gray skies your way, cumulating in a rollicking rainstorm.
Are you going to let a little sunburn or precipitation ruin your vacation? Absolutely not! In fact, you should think of this as an opportunity to enhance your vacation with some of the best "rainy day" activities here on Topsail Island! There is much more to our area than just the beach.
Explore this blog for some great ideas to try - no matter what the weather!
Our favorite "beach-free" activities:
1. The North Carolina Aquarium (at Fort Fisher or Pine Knoll Shores)
- Mostly indoors
- Located about 1.5 hours from Topsail Island
- Open 9 - 5 year round
- Cost: Between $11 - $13 per person
Sweet, cool air conditioning ... peaceful marine life lazily swimming around a tank ... and mesmerizing displays make the aquarium a great choice for your break-from-the-beach day out. Topsail Island is located exactly 1.5 hours from two awesome choices! The Fort Fisher Aquarium is just south of Wilmington and the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium is to the north, near the lovely Emerald Isle. Consider purchasing a membership if you have a large group, or if you want to go more than once.
2. Shopping on Topsail Island
- Support our local businesses!
- Mostly indoors
- Check some gift-buying off your list
Retail Therapy is a great way to beat the heat OR get out of the yucky weather, any time of year. We have quite a few fun choices in and around Topsail Island:
The Gateway Shopping Plaza is just across the bridge. It has several shops, including a great Mexican Restaurant, a BBQ restaurant, an American restaurant, a coffee shop, and Tommy James Designer Jewelry, which is a personal favorite of ours!
Mia’s Marketplace, just across the bridge on left, is two stores in one. The "boutique" is packed with uncommon gifts, home decor, jewelry, resort-wear and specialties. The "Pantry" offers old-fashioned candy, salt water taffy, dips, mustards and salsas, and the best pretzels & chips!
Sandy Toe's Boutique is here on the island, right around the corner. They have gorgeous women's fashions!
One of our guest favorites, The Bumblebee Market, has a new location - just down New River Drive, near Burt's Surf Shop. They have lots of cute gifts, accessories and special events like Girl's Night. Find them at 330 N New River Dr, Surf City, NC 28445
Quarter Moon Books, Gifts and Wine Bar - in Topsail Beach (708 S Anderson Blvd), is "an eclectic shop with books, gifts, clothing, children's section, coffee, wine, beer and joy!"
The Fishing Village (at East Coast Sports) has a surf shop, clothing, shoes, sunglasses, and everything you need for fishing - including a fishing license. Find them at 409 Roland Ave, Surf City.
3. The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital
- Educational for the whole family
- Admission: only $3 - $5 per person
- 302 Tortuga Ln, Surf City, NC 28445
Did you know that Topsail Island is a sea turtle sanctuary? And 2019 has been a record year for babies! The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital is in Surf City (just across the bridge). Learn all about our special turtle friends and how we strive to protect them. Make sure you like their Facebook page to be notified of Turtle Releases ... something you won’t want to miss when you are in town.
4. Surf City Art Galleries
There are several Art Galleries here in Surf City, filled with paintings, photography, pottery and jewelry. They are all made by local artists. Stop in and appreciate our local talent, and perhaps take something home to remember your vacation.
Doesn't a trip to the spa sound lovely when you need a break from the beach? Or, be proactive and check the weather forecast. If you see rain in your future, call the spa right away and book a facial or massage. We like the Ama Spa (in the Gateway Shopping Center - call (910) 803-2500). You can spend the whole day there.
Check out this blog for more local spas to try: https://www.wardrealty.com/post/quotes-that-will-kick-off-your-spring-defrost-mode-and-soothe-your-soul/
6. Golf - Miniature, too!
Did you know there is a great Putt putt golf course right here on Topsail Island? It's right across from the roller rink. There are also lots of other shops and restaurants down on the south end and it's worth an afternoon trip. Try the Patio Playground in Topsail Beach or the Shipwreck Point Miniature Golf Course in Surf City.
Looking for real golf? Here are some great courses to check out:
- Old Pointe Golf Course - https://www.facebook.com/OldePointGolfAndCountryClub
- Belvedere Country Club - https://www.belvederecountryclub.com
- North Shore Country Club - https://www.facebook.com/northshoregolfclubnc/?ref=br_tf
- Surf City Disc Golf - https://www.facebook.com/surfcityncdiscgolf/
7. Topsail Beach Roller Skating Rink
- Perfect for families, couples or friends!
- Open nightly from 7 - 10 pm
- Snack bar on the premises
- 714 South Anderson Boulevard - Topsail Beach
- Only $6 / person
The Topsail Beach Roller Rink has been serving our area for decades! After recovering from hurricane damage from Florence they are now back and better than ever. Skate along to awesome 70's and 80's music and embrace a simpler time ... perfect for a rainy evening! Follow them on Facebook, too.
8. Shopping & Fun in Wilmington
Wilmington is a good-sized city. It has fun shopping and great restaurants. Check out the Cotton Exchange, which has 30 shops and restaurants. Try the Mayfaire Mall for more shopping. It is connected to a movie theater which is always a good option on a rainy day, or if you really want to hide from the sun for a few hours. While you are up in the "big city", check out the various trampoline parks and the Children's Museum of Wilmington - it's perfect for little ones.
9. Battleship North Carolina
- Mostly indoors
- Open every day (but check website for times because hours change seasonally)
- Admission: $6 - $14 per person, kids 5 and under are free
The Battleship USS North Carolina, located in Wilmington, is a really cool visit if you have the time. The top deck is outside, but that is just a small portion of the ship. You could spend hours down below deck as well. Make sure you wear sturdy, soft-soled shoes as the deck can be slippery and you will be climbing up and down some narrow stairs and ramps.
Going out to eat is sort of our favorite part of taking a vacation. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert ... just take your pick. See our list of the best places to dine if you’re just looking for a few hours away from the beach and a great meal.
Another great way to take a break from the beach is to simply bask in the comforts and amenities that you chose as part of your Topsail Island rental. The properties available through Ward Realty are full of comforts like TVs, comfy couches, fully stocked kitchens and sweet, sweet air conditioning!
There are a million ways to enjoy your vacation on Topsail Island, whether you choose to spend the day on or off the beaches.