Surf City is located on Topsail Island, one of a string of three barrier islands located off the coast of North Carolina. Surrounded by 26 miles of coastline, the island is the ideal vacation destination for beach enthusiasts. Surf City offers access to a wide variety of water sports including consistently good swell conditions for surfing.

There is a surf-school onsite for beginners and you can rent equipment to enjoy a whole range of exciting water sports including jet-ski, SUP, kayaking and much more. Other island activities include visiting the Missiles and More Museum, fishing off the Surf City Pier and visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center.

1. Topsail Island

Topsail Island
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Topsail Island is separated from the North Carolina mainland by the numerous sounds and channels which make up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The island is connected to the mainland by two bridges and is a popular vacation destination. Legend has it that pirates once hid along the Intracoastal waterways and that merchant shippers had to look out for the topsail of the pirates’ ships to avoid capture. After WWII the U.S. Navy used the island as a missile test site - today visitors can tour the Missiles and More Museum to learn all about Operation Bumblebee. Other island attractions include a sea turtle rescue center, great beaches and the Surf City Pier.

Topsail Island, Onslow/Pender County, North Carolina

2. Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
© Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

As sea turtle numbers in the wild decline at an alarming rate, the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center strives to rescue, rehabilitate and offer sanctuary to these amazing endangered creatures. The center is a non-profit organization and visitors have the satisfaction of knowing that they are supporting an essential wildlife cause. The center volunteers monitor over 26 miles of coastline during the turtle breeding season from May to August, to assist newly-hatched baby turtles safely make their way to the ocean. Visitors to the center will find out all about turtle conservation, care and rehabilitation and meet some of the “patients”. You can further assist the center by “adopting” a turtle.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center, 302 Tortuga Lane, Surf City, NC 28445, Phone: 910-329-0222

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3. Surf City Ocean Pie

Surf City Ocean Pie
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For more than 50 years the Surf City Pier has been a prominent and well-loved landmark in Surf City. The pier has been damaged or destroyed several times due to storms and hurricanes, but has been faithfully repaired and restored each time. Fishing enthusiasts come from near and far to enjoy excellent pier fishing along with great facilities. There are two fish-cleaning stations with running water, a well-stocked tackle shop where you can buy just about everything you need for a fun day of fishing (including bait) and a grill/ice cream shop with outdoor seating area where you can top-up your energy. The pier is lit up at night for all-night fishing.

Surf City Ocean Pier, 112 South Shore Dr, Surf City, NC 28445, Phone: 910-328-3521

4. Salty Turtle Beer Company

Salty Turtle Beer Company
© Salty Turtle Beer Company

Salty Turtle Beer Company is owned and operated by a trio of craft beer enthusiasts who believe that every neighborhood deserves its own special local craft beers. From the outset the brewery partnered with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Center and supports their efforts with a portion of the takings. The tap house is open 7 days a week from 12 noon and beer enthusiasts can look forward to trying several craft beers on tap, including their Hurricane Hazel Hefeweizen, Coastline Kolsch, several IPA’s and their signature She’s so Basic, which is flavored with pumpkin pie and pumpkin pie spices. The on-site store sells a variety of branded apparel to remind you of your visit to Surf City.

Salty Turtle Beer Company, 103 Triton Lane, Surf City, NC 28445, Phone: 910-803-2019

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5. Topsail Steamer

Topsail Steamer
© Topsail Steamer

There is nothing quite like joining friends and family to enjoy a great Low Country seafood feast. If you are visiting Topsail Island the place to go for the freshest and tastiest steamer buckets of shrimp, scallops, clams and oyster is the Topsail Steamer. Topsail steamer makes vacation entertaining at home a breeze – all you do is choose your favorite combinations of sea food, collect your bucket (with all the trimmings) and take it with you to steam at home or on the beach. The company offers a choice of regular buckets or you are welcome to order a custom-selection of your favorite foods together with sides and sauces.

Topsail Steamer, 302 S. Topsail Drive, Surf City, NC 28445, Phone: 910-328-2645

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6. EMA Touch Tank Aquarium

EMA Touch Tank Aquarium
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The EMA Touch Tank Aquarium is one of Surf City’s one-of-a-kind attractions. Geared towards educating its visitors about the diversity of marine life, guests to the EMA Touch Tank can get learn about different marine animals and even see them up close. As the aquarium’s name suggests, guests and encouraged to experience these animals in a hands-on way. Meet bearded dragons, pet a ball python, hold a gecko in your palm, or let a tiny crab walk along your palms and arms. Depending on what time of the year it is, visitors can also see stingrays, starfish, fiddler grabs, and urchins up close.

106 N. Topsail Drive, Surf City, North Carolina 28445; Phone: 910-515-9751

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7. Shipwreck Golf Point

Shipwreck Golf Point
© Shipwreck Golf Point

Say hello to the one and only mini-golf course in Surf City – Shipwreck Golf Point. Featuring not just one but two 18-hole courses, Shipwreck Golf Point’s challenging layout portrays Topsail Island’s interesting pirate history. Navigate tricky shots at either one of Shipwreck Golf Point’s courses, Captain Dagger’s Revenge or The Pirates Curse, and find the best way to get your golf around, through, and over obstacles like waterfalls, rocks, or mini bridges. With a recent renovation just completed, guests can look forward to brand-new greens and even more visually stunning decorations to make your mini golf experience one for the books.

107 Charlie Medlin Drive, Surf City, North Carolina 28445, Phone: 910-547-4011

8. Topsail Island Popcorn Factory

Topsail Island Popcorn Factory
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Are you a popcorn lover? If yes, a stop by Topsail Island Popcorn Factory is a must on your travel itinerary or weekend agenda. Known for offering a seemingly endless array of popcorn flavors, Topsail Island Popcorn Factory promises a taste of the old times with out-of-this-world flavors and crowd-pleasing flavors alike. The factory also produces great old-fashioned candy with sweets like candy sticks, salt water taffy, chick-o-sticks, and many more, to snack on and sample. The fun doesn’t end there either as guests can also try mouthwatering frosted nuts like cashews, pecans, and almonds along with all of the other delicious treats that Topsail Island Popcorn Factory has to offer.

208 N. New River Drive, Suite B, Surf City, North Carolina 28445, Phone: 910-541-2475

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9. Topsail Island Trading Company

Topsail Island Trading Company
© Topsail Island Trading Company

When it comes to commemorating your visit to Surf City, all it really takes is popping into the Topsail Island Trading Company for a visit. Peruse all the gear, souvenirs, and knick-knacks that the shop has to offer and select the perfect keepsake to take home with you after your exploration of the city. Nestled in the heart of Surf City, patrons can check out a stunning selection of jewelry, pick up fun gadgets or your typical keepsakes like keychains or magnets, or grab a bunch of delicious fudge of various flavors for a tasty souvenir. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it at the Topsail Island Trading Company.

201 North New River Drive, Surf City, North Carolina 28445, Phone: 910-328-1905

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10. Topsail Escape Room

Topsail Escape Room
© Topsail Escape Room

Topsail Escape Room is the ultimate destination for escape adventures in Surf City. Perfect for all kinds of groups, whether you’re playing with family, friends, or co-workers, Topsail Escape Rooms will have something for every kind of team and all levels of players. What makes Topsail Escape Room unique is they offer both indoor and outdoor adventures. Their newest addition is an outdoor scavenger hunt where teams will have to follow instructions from the journal of Blackbeard to find treasures. Indoor rooms include Ocean’s Call and Beach House Break Out, both of which have a one-hour time limit to find their way out of the escape room.

328 A North Topsail Drive, Surf City, North Carolina 28445, Phone: 910-381-4425

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