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Best beach vacation with family

Five families came together to celebrate moms 80th birthday. Rented a house on the island that the... read more

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
thomaseT9392YF
,
Bath, Michigan
via mobile
Walk Around Southern End of Topsail Island

Walking around the southern end of Topsail Island is the most dazzling walk on the Island. You... read more

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
Ann T
,
Topsail Beach, North Carolina
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Reviewed January 13, 2008

We drive down to Topsail Island from Raleigh on weekends during the summer (about 2.5 hour drive each way). Not nearly as busy nor as difficult to park as the Wrightsville Beach area to the south. Topsail is not even close to being as touristy as the Myrtle Beach area. We've rented houses on Topsail from Century 21 Realty which are nice depending on your selection. Of all the NC beaches, we choose Topsail because it's easy to access off I-40 coming down from Raleigh, and also because it's completely non-touristy with only one or two hotels I can think of the entire stretch of island, the rest in private homes. Even in the height of summer, you can park pretty much anywhere on a street or at one of several public access points, cross the dunes, and stake your claim to a wide expanse of beach with only a handful of others around you at any one time. The wave action is better than in Hilton Head or the Charleston area, where it tends to be calmer, at least in my opinion, so that's good for body surfing. Topsail also has warm water, which you can swim in from about mid-May through end of September. The water never really gets that cold, it's more the air temperatures and wind that will keep you out of it. You'll see a lot of people fishing from the shoreline at this beach. The bad side to Topsail is its almost completely devoid of flora/fauna. I don't know why, but there aren't a lot of trees or shrubbery like you'll see north of here in places like Pine Knoll Shores. I know there used to be a military installation here, so perhaps they bombed/destroyed all the fauna. Big surprise there. It really is just a sand bar now. Also, the majority of houses are older, blue collar beach shacks. As blue collar as a million dollar beach property can be, that is. This is no Hilton Head or Isle of Palms. It's really just a relaxing place to rent a smaller house and spend time at the beach with family. You won't even find that many restaurants, except a few things around Surf City and across the bridge on the mainland. On rainy days, though, you're about 45 minutes from Wilmington and all the shops and restaurants at the new Mayfaire Town Center along Military Cutoff Road. A good evening diversion. Downtown Wilmington along the Cape Fear River is also very nice with loads of good restaurants.

10  Thank kevboom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2007

Best beach to vacation at on the east coast...but do not tell anyone or it will not stay that way. Topsail is known for its uncrowded beaches and that is why I go. Should it ever become the crowded beach filled with hotels and amusement options, I would never go again. I go to the beach to lay in a chair and not move unless I have to....Topsail is perfect. My teenagers do get bored...but oh well. They may want the Myrtle Beach atmosphere, but mom still makes the rules. We use many rental agencies and have never had problems. I just choose whichever has the house I want. The last time we went we had a house with a outdoor hot tub....can you say relaxing???? Sitting in a hot tub overlooking the beach was awesome. My kids even loved it. Although you do not want to get in until dark...too hot during the day. You will love Topsail as my family has (teenagers not included) for many years. Just do not tell anyone.
Now I have written 3 reviews in one day (kids are gone!) and I am done.....more to come later. I am always checking TripAdvisor for my new vacation so I thought I would actually add something! imagine that.

11  Thank NCmomma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2007

We chose Topsail Island based mostly upon the reviews posted here so I thought I would add my comments and concurment that Topsail Island is heavenly! We rented a home through Treasure Realty in the Ocean Ridge subdivision on North Topsail Island. We LOVED North Topsail...it was quiet and not terribly congested. We were only about 1.5 miles from the highrise bridge taking you into Snead's Ferry for shopping (Food Lion and I highly recommend the Shrimp Shack, etc). The Shrimp Lady (a roadside stand for fresh shrimp and scallops) is also very close. We enjoyed cooking our own dinners on the home's grill....mmmmm, cheeseburgers taste better on the beach! My only disappointment was with the restaurants we chose in the area. We had lunch at Crabby Mikes...and dinner at both The Green Turtle & Daddy Mac's....all three were mediocore. My husband rented a Kayak from Herrings who's service is outstanding for renting...they delivered the Kayak within 2 hours of our call! Day 7 Spa on the mainland was such a treat. (nicely decorated and very clean!). I indulged in a salt-glow massage. We visited the Turtle Hospital in Topsail Beach but either get there early or be prepared for a wait! It's interesting, but we waited almost an hour in the hot sun to see 5 turtles (the tour takes less than 10 minutes). The Battleship in Wilmington is very interesting! The rest of our time was spent lounging on the beach, enjoying the community pool, searching for shark's teeth (my son was a master at finding these!), and soaking in the hot tub on our deck listening to the surf roar. If you're looking to reconnect with your family and relax with no obligations for a week...this is the trip for you!

10  Thank jennajschaeffer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2007

My husband, elderly father, and two teenage sons and I just returned from Topsail Island. What a treat. Beautiful beaches, not overcrowded. We stayed in the Topsail Dunes condo in North Topsail Beach through Treasure Realty. It was nice and clean, fit our family well. We had a balcony overlooking the ocean. Shopping is in Sneads Ferry just over the bridge or in neighboring Surf City on the island. There is also some shops in Topsail Beach which is the south end of the island. Although it does not have tons of "stuff" to do, we kept quite busy the week we were there. Did a lot of boogie boarding, shell hunting (you can also find fossilized sharks teeth), and just plain enjoying the beach and pool. We went into Wilmington (about an hour away) and toured the Battleship North Carolina. Loved it. There is mini golf, the Missile Museum (small but interesting - and free, they accept donations), and the Sea Turtle Hospital. Also in Wilmington is the NC Aquarium, we didn't get time to stop there. I know there are more activities in Wilmington. We did go down to Southport via the Southport Ferry and chartered a sail boat. Had a dolphin swimming right alongside the boat. There are restaurants both on and off the island. I highly recommend the Green Turtle Restaurant in Sneads Ferry. Casual, family friendly, great service, GREAT seafood. The she-crab soup is to die for! For those who want to relax and enjoy the warm ocean, and not deal with crowds, this is the place to go!

10  Thank dolynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2007

If you need a place to go and just enjoy doing nothing but laying on the white sand, taking long walks on the beach, golden sunrises and breathtaking sunsets Topsail Island is the place for you. I spent 7 days and 6 nights in a beach house rental (through Treasure Realty) it was everything they said it would be and more.There is no way to explain the beauty of this place... the water is so clear you can see the shells on the bottom. We went in the off season(April 28- May 5) and could walk for hours on the beach and only see a few people. We found all sorts of Shark teeth and sea shells. We seen crabs, dolphins, sea urchins, jelly fish,star fish, live conchs in their shell as well as beautiful conch shells to take home.While we were walking the pier one morning an old fisherman waved us over to help him... he caught a sand shark and needed help getting him in... it was a cool experience. We got to help reel him in and touch him take pictures and then release him. Everyone we interacted with was very friendly and made us feel like we were welcome. I can not wait to come back next year!! I found a paradise that is magical as well as affordable.

9  Thank islandkate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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