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“laid back living”
Review of Topsail Island

Topsail Island
Book In Advance
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$85.00*
and up
Guided Kayak Paddling Tours on Topsail Island NC
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$225.00*
and up
Guided Kayak Fishing Trips of Topsail Island NC
Ranked #1 of 27 things to do in Surf City
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed July 18, 2011

We rented a 1-bedroom condo on North Topsail Beach in late May. Not to be self-sufficient but because a lot of the beach houses on this island are multi-bedroom and quite large. That makes perfect sense for extended family stays but more than what we needed for 4 nights. Our unit was on 5th floor, at the rear of the complex but with good views over both the ocean in front of us and the back water behind us. It was very clean, neat, and had a good floor plan for such a compact area. The balcony was small but big enough for 2 chairs. It had air-conditioning but wasn't needed at night. The only problem we had was a towel bar in the bathroom needed repair. Pretty minor. Overall, it was a pleasant place to base ourselves and sight-see.

The island itself is a 26-mile sandbar (they call it a barrier island) and the dunes are fascinating. We walked the beach each morning and night. The beach at North Topsail is good sand, free of debris, not very crowded at all, and a lot of surrounding land is still undeveloped, so it was nice. Good stars at night when it wasn't cloudy. No hint of a town though, just some residences and condo communities. Our condo complex didn't have a restaurant, although it had a concierge, exercise room, indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor Bar-B-Qs and picnic tables, and free parking. There were good restaurants further south on the island at Surf City and Topsail Beach.

At Surf City, I highly recommend paying the $1 fee to walk out on the fishing pier. It's ocean fishing at its best. The water is very clear from above and large, brown and white striped jellyfish can be seen floating int he water. The water is good for swimming close to shore and surfing as far out as the pier.

Lastly, we really liked Topsail Beach at the bottom of the island, which had a 1950's feel and look to it. The beach houses on Topsail Island were all built on pillars to allow the storm tossed ocean to wash under them, not thru them, and are mostly 3-story structures so one can see over the dunes. Then they have wooden walkways built over the dunes with steps down to the beach. Some houses are inter-connected by elevated walk-ways.

The island also has quite a few concrete observation towers left standing after the 1940's "Operation Bumblebee" experiments, where rockets were tested in preparation for the space program.

I liked the island and the unique beach culture. Very worthwhile seeing!

8  Thank rosanielle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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787 - 791 of 852 reviews

Reviewed July 14, 2011

We picked this destination out of desperation because all of the other beach destinations either were too expensive, fully booked, or too far away for the 8 of us to meet driving from 3 different locations (WV, TN, SC). We booked "On Turtle Time" through "A Beach Place" and enjoyed a pleasant experience (this home also was listed on VRBO). The house is "2nd row" in Maritime Way community, about 1 block north from the center of the town of Topsail Beach. Although it is not oceanfront, the decks have good ocean views and also a sound view from the back deck. This house also has a community pool, which was very nice (and on the sound). The pier is a short walk to the south. Ocean access near the house is neither handicap accessible nor friendly for anyone with any difficulties walking. It is about a 3 minute walk north from the house, across the road and up stairs, over a walkway, then down a sand drift that apparently has stairs buried underneath. This was difficult for many of our party to navigate. On our other beach trips, we drove to find handicap accessible ramps (which seem to be plentiful). The beach itself is amazing! Absolutely unpolluted, uncrowded, and wide. No lifeguards, no public restrooms, and no food stands. There are many shells and shark teeth, but not so many that you cannot walk. The water is a beautiful crystal blue-green and unbelievably clear. No mega hotels or resorts and few condos, so the population comes mainly from the rows of beautiful beach homes that are rented to vacationers. No night-life to speak of (except Bingo and a weekly movie in the park) and no amusement parks or touristy shopping areas with cheap souvenirs. If you want a lot of action, this is not the place for you. If you want a relaxing, family-oriented beach vacation (we went pier fishing and kayaking), then you should definitely look into Topsail Island (there are 3 towns/cities on the island: Topsail Beach at the southern end, Surf City in the middle, and North Topsail Island at the northern end). There are 2 ways onto the Island. One is a swinging bridge into Surf City in the middle of the island. The other is a bridge at the northern end of the island that takes you into Snead's Ferry and near Camp Lejeune.

2  Thank crimedoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2011

My wife and I rented Unit 301 at Topsail Reef from Century 21 Action in North Topsail Island in NC. When we checked in to our unit the AC in the bedroom didn't work, there was no screen on sliding door, no fan and it was 90 degrees out. We called Century 21 action and they said they put in a work order in and someone should be out. We called everyday same story they never came. Thank God the unit in main room worked but we did not get one good night rest. I feel sorry for who ever rents after us, we were there the first week in June, would never rent from Century 21 Action in North Topsail beach again!

10  Thank frylander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2010

Interesting, Tammy. I stayed with United Beach Vacation Rentals for Summer 2010 and was pleased with the management's professionalism and the vacation condo's quality and cleanliness. My friend and I stayed at a beach condo in North Topsail for four months and enjoyed a great location, with great accomodations and flexible lease stipulations. All amenities at the property were included and United Beach Vacations management provided advanced days of notice when visiting the property was an absolute necessity. Not sure why our experiences differed so greatly, but I was very pleased with the company and would recommend their properties to any friend or family member.

3  Thank GINO49604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2010

I booked a house on Topsail 3 months in advance, paid. 7 days before my vacation was to begin, United Beach Rentals called and said the owner of the house decided he wanted to stay there the same week so....that's it. No apology no nothing. They offered one other property that wasn't nearly up to the standards of the one I had booked. I asked that they FedEx my money to me but no, they stuck it in the mail. Had to wait several days to be refunded and was left with 3 days to find another house. They were rude and made me feel like I was the one who broke the contract. Go with Treasure Realty or Century 21 to ensure smooth sailing. Century 21 made me feel important and was more than helpful in finding a suitable property. They saved my vacation.

20  Thank tammy244
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Unitedbeachrentals, Manager at Topsail Island, responded to this reviewResponded October 22, 2010

Again we are very sorry that we had to cancel the vacation rental that you had reserved with United Beach Rentals. As I had mentioned to you the owner had to stay in his home due to a medical condition. The owner was diagnosed with cancer and needed 6-weeks of radiation treatments and his doctor insisted that he remain at home. The home that you rented was a sound front, 3 bedroom and you had to drive to the beach. United Beach Rentals found another house that was a 5 bedroom, ocean front which was a lot more money but we were able to rent that home to you for the same amount of money, which was as nice as the house you had reserved. In all of my conversations with you I repeatedly apologized for the inconvenience and did everything in my power to find another place in our inventory that would suit your needs. Once you made the decision not to reserve the 5 bedroom home we did send your check out immediately. We understand your frustration but as you and I know that somethings are out of our control and we tried our best to resolve a bad situation. We are very happy that you did find another home here on the island and was able to have a good vacation. Sincerely, United Beach Rentals-Property Manager

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