Situated on the coast in southeastern North Carolina, Topsail Island is one of the state’s stunning barrier islands that stretches about 26 miles. With three coastal communities on the island — North Topsail Beach, Topsail Beach, and Surf City — finding a Topsail Island vacation rental is easy, and most properties boast mesmerizing waterfront views of either the Atlantic Ocean or an inlet. Attractions include local state and national parks, sandy beaches, and eclectic shopping opportunities. Take a refreshing dip in the ocean or head out on the water to see dolphins frolicking in the warm waters. Check out this list of top 15 things to do on Topsail Island.

1. Relax on the Beach With a Rental From North Topsail Beach Service Rentals

Why would you lay on the sand on a thin towel when you can rent comfy beach chairs and an umbrella from North Topsail Beach Service Rentals? Located in Surf City, this shop delivers your items to your vacation rental and picks them back up. Rent for a day or your entire holiday. Spend your day on the beach splashing in the surf, collecting seashells, flying kites, and relaxing under your umbrella while reading this summer’s blockbuster novel.

2. Set Sail With Queen Jean Charter

Queen Jean Charter offers a cruise out on to the water for an afternoon of fishing or a sunset cruise to watch the blossom of colors as the sun dips below the horizon. The knowledgeable crew can help your little one bait his hook or tell you colorful stories of the area’s past and tales of shipwrecks in the area.

3. Learn About Underwater Life at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

On a rainy afternoon, stop by and show your support at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Billed as the Sea Turtle Hospital, the center teaches visitors about the dangers sea turtles face just off the shores and steps you can take to help keep them safe. Kids enjoy looking over the side of the large blue pools to see the massive turtles swimming inside.

4. Explore With a Kayak Rental From Topsail Boat Rental

Meander along the shores and explore the waterways with a kayak rental from Topsail Boat Rental. This company provides you with everything you need to get out on the water. Families with small children can opt to rent a canoe so everyone can ride together. Take binoculars from your vacation rental to get a better look at the wildlife along the shore.

5. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Topsail Island Trading Co.

Fudge and beach vacations go hand in hand, and you find the best fudge on the island at Topsail Island Trading Co. Select from among the more than 100 flavors of fudge to pick out a new favorite or go with traditional chocolate. This company makes it fudge fresh each day, and you can watch them whipping up a batch while you’re there.

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6. Sip Some Wine at Quarter Moon Books, Gifts, and Wine Bar

Unwind with a trip to Quarter Moon Books, Gifts, and Wine Bar. While younger members of your group curl up on a couch to flip through a book, find a barstool and order a glass of locally-made wine. This family-owned business hosts frequent events, such as author luncheons and seasonal parties so check the schedule.

7. Tee off at North Shore Golf

Just a couple of minutes from Topsail Beach Island, North Shore Golf welcomes visitors to come tee off on their champion Bermuda green fairways. As you progress through the 18 holes, the scenery becomes even more lovely with palm trees, small ponds, glimpses of the Intercoastal Waterway, and lush greenery.

8. Spend an Afternoon at Surf City Ocean Pier

Family-owned since the 1970s, the Surf City Ocean Pier is one of the islands favorite attractions and runs almost a thousand feet out over the ocean. Stop at the bait and tackle shop to pick up some live bait to catch your dinner, or walk out to the end of the pier to watch ships passing by and possibly see dolphins playing in the warm waters.

9. Visit the Missiles and More Museum

In the 1940s, the Navy ran Operation Bumblebee to test guided missiles in this area, and the Missiles and More Museum documents that history. Step through the doors and discover a wealth of information through exhibits on this era of history and so much more. The museum also explores the island’s history with pirates and sea disasters.

10. Unwind at Ama Spa

Treat yourself to a day of pampering at Ama Spa. Feel yourself begin to unwind as you trade your street clothes for a white fluffy robe before your treatment begins. A licensed professional with magic hands can work out all the knots and tension with a massage or treat your skin to a refreshing body scrub. Before leaving, ask for a pedicure to get your toes beach ready.

11. Play Putt Putt at Shipwreck Point Golf

Shipwreck Point Golf offers two golf courses for your group to practice their mini golf game. Choose the pirate-themed course and take a picture with your face sticking out of the pirate cut out, or opt for the Oceanic theme and play around wrecked ships and other obstacles.

12. Rent Bikes at Herring’s Outdoor Sports

If your vacation rental doesn’t have bikes, stop by Herring’s Outdoor Sports to rent bikes to pedal along this beautiful barrier island. The shop offers several models of bikes for rentals by the hour, day, and week, and can provide you with bike helmets and other safety items. Cruise along the island surrounded by marshes, sand dunes, and picturesque scenery.

13. See Local Works of Art at Seacoast Art Gallery

Part store and part museum, Seacoast Art Gallery provides a glimpse of the local art scene. Wander through the galleries to see some of the best works from the region in oils, watercolors, clay and other mediums.

14. Have Fun at the Topsail Beach Skating Rink

Built in the 1960s, the Topsail Beach Skating Rink offers nightly skates in the summer season. Rent skates at the rink. You might need a few minutes of practice on this wooden floor skating rink.

15. Get Creative With Paint With Me

Express your inner creativity with a few hours at Paint With Me, where you participate in a class to help you learn the tricks to painting. Every member of your group can elect to paint the same thing or choose different scenes. You find a variety of shells to add texture to your paintings.

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