Topsail Island, North Carolina

Topsail Island is North Carolina’s best kept secret along the coast.  We like to think that the beach towns of Topsail Island remind many of their favorite beach vacations from childhood.  Our area is mainly comprised of single family homes, mixed in with some townhomes and small condominium communities. You won’t find any high rise hotels here.  Beautiful weather, clean white sandy beaches with blue ocean waters are just part of why this area is so special.  Once you visit, you too will be drawn to its vintage charm and unsurpassed beauty.

A few key points about our area:

Geography – Topsail Island is 26 miles long and no more than ½ mile wide.  Our shores benefit from the nearby Gulf Stream ocean current with warm clean waters. The ocean’s temperature is approximately 85 degrees in July and August, a few degrees warmer than it is along the Outer Banks, where the Labrador current meets the Gulf Stream.  This warm water current and the rocky ocean bottom provides for outstanding fishing.  The Atlantic Ocean, small islands and channels, as well as the Intracoastal Waterway surround the island. 

The coastal area of North Carolina, with its warm summers and temperate winters, is attracting people from all over the country, from families to retirees. The island is made up of three individual towns: Topsail Beach (south end), Surf City (central) and North Topsail Beach (north end) in two counties of North Carolina, Pender and Onslow.  Each town has its own unique and distinct personality. We can’t wait to share them with you so you can choose your favorite. 

Location – We like to think of Topsail Island as being close to everything you need, but far enough away to get away from it all.  Tucked in between Wilmington and Jacksonville, Topsail Island is perfectly located for full time living or as a vacation destination.  The island is connected to the mainland at two points: the Surf City bridge (central) connects to Surf City mainland and Holly Ridge on Hwy 50; and North Topsail Beach bridge (north) connects to Sneads Ferry on Hwy 210. These highways connect with Highway 17, a major highway connecting New England to Florida.  Highway 17 also connects with Interstate 40 near Hampstead. The three island towns, plus the mainland communities of Sneads Ferry, Holly Ridge and Hampstead, make up our overall real estate market.

Demographics - small year around population, but swells in the summer.

Economy – most year round residents work in Wilmington or Jacksonville.  However, our local economy is completely tourism driven.  If you have visited Topsail Island before, you are aware that this area is not overly commercialized.  The island restaurants, shops and service businesses are locally owned and operated.  On the mainland side of Surf City, there is a small commercial area with grocery stores, restaurants, medical offices and service businesses.  Some of the businesses on Topsail Island have been around for a long time, including Ward Realty, the roller skating rink, putt putt golf, and the Breezeway restaurant.  


Did you know that Topsail Island was the “first Cape Canaveral”?  The United States Army used Topsail Island immediately following World War II for missile tests.  These missile tests were the precursor to the space program that is currently in Florida. In 1947, before the government returned the island back to the original land owners, A.H. Ward and 2 others came to the island to begin development as a summer vacation destination.  

The name “Topsail” is said to have originated from pirate folklore during the 17th and 18th centuries.  It is said that the pirates would hide behind the island in the Sound and wait for merchant ships to pass by.  Only the topsail could be seen to warn the merchant ships.  Other theories exist, but nothing has been officially declared.  We would like to the think that the New Topsail Inlet had something to do with the naming of the island, too!

Things to do:

Due to the beautiful warm water and white sandy beaches, spending time on the beach is first and foremost.  Collecting seashells, building a sandcastle, surfing, bodysurfing, watching your children play, and getting a suntan are just some favorite beach activities.  Fishing is a close second with three ocean piers, plenty of room for surf fishing, homes/communities with piers along the Sound, canals and marsh, charter boats and more to help satisfy the need to drop a line in the water.  The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, Missiles and More Museum, sunset cruises, the EMA Ecological Tours for children, a roller skating rink are just a few of the other activities you and your family can enjoy while here on Topsail Island.  The most important activity, one that all to often gets pushed aside in our busy lives, is quality family time in your own vacation home along the sea.  Relaxing and catching up with family and friends is an activity we can all use more of.  

Join us!

So if you’ve been dreaming of owning your own piece of Topsail Island, you’ve come to the right place. Get ready to enjoy all that Topsail Island has to offer, whether it is as a permanent resident, or as a second home owner. You’ll  never be lonely, for as the saying goes, “You never know how many friends you have until you have a beach house”.