Imagine lying on the beach with no worries but when the tide is going to come in. You can have this and more on beautiful Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina. The nice thing about Topsail Island vacation rentals is that they are located near plenty of family-friendly venues. Whether your kids are toddlers, school age, or teenagers, your family will find plenty of things to enjoy on Topsail Island. Check out some of the best family-friendly activities the area has to offer.

1. Relax at Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach is the smallest of three beaches on Topsail Island. It‘s located at the southern tip of the island, and city ordinances prevent people from building tall buildings. This means that the Topsail Island vacation rentals near the beach have unobstructed views for miles. Simply step outside the door of your rental house, and stroll along the shores of the Atlantic. Be sure to watch for sea turtle nests, and instruct your children to leave them alone while they play in the sand.

While you’re at Topsail Beach, visit the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center to see the rescued sea turtles up close. Then, stop at the Missiles and More Museum to learn how the navy first claimed Topsail Island in the 1940s for missile testing.

2. Go Kayaking at North Topsail Beach

At the other end of the island, North Topsail Beach is surrounded by the backwaters of Topsail Sound and the Intracoastal Waterway, making it the perfect beach for families with older children. Kayaking is popular at this beach, and you’ll find plenty of areas to explore. As your family members paddle their way through tidal creeks, salt marshes, and wetlands, keep an eye out for plenty of wildlife. Then, be sure to paddle out to the Permuda Island Coastal Reserve to explore 50 acres of natural treasures.

3. Play a Game of Putt-Putt at Patio Playground

Patio Playground, the only putt-putt facility on Topsail Island, is a venue that appeals to kids of all ages even the grown up ones. It’s an original 1955 putt-putt course with a very retro vibe. Play a round of miniature golf, then buy ice cream cones for the whole family. If it’s nice out, rent bicycles and take a family bike ride, or spend some time playing in the air-conditioned arcade.

4. Spend the Evening at the Topsail Beach Skating Rink

Don’t head back to your Topsail Island vacation rental when the sun goes down. Instead, take the kids to the Topsail Beach Skating Rink. The nostalgic skating rink has a simplistic ambiance that’s quite appealing. The oval-shaped rink is easy for little ones to navigate, yet has plenty of space for the older kids to race around the rink.

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5. Go Paddleboarding

Rent a paddle board from Ohana Paddle Sports to paddle around the Intracoastal Waterway. This activity is great for families with older children and teens, but it’s not really toddler-friendly. If your family has never been paddle boarding, take an instructional class before renting your boards.

6. Learn How to Surf

The Surf City Surf School teaches both beginner and advanced lessons. In addition to teaching students how to surf, the lessons teach students about common surf knowledge and ocean safety. You don’t have to buy a surfboard to take the class, but you can stop by 50 South Surf Shop to pick up surf-inspired clothing as a fun reminder of your trip.

7. Watch the Sunset at Soundside Park

Soundside Park has wide open spaces that jut up against the waterfront, making it ideal for a relaxing family picnic. Take the dog for a walk through the park while the kids play on the playground. Then, end your day fishing off the docks. While you’re there, check the park’s event schedule. The park often hosts free movies and concerts. Make sure you head to the marsh side of the park close to sundown, as it’s the best place on the island to watch the sunset.

8. Go Fishing at The Jolly Roger Pier

The Jolly Roger Pier sits at the southern side of Topsail Island, and while it’s one of many fishing piers, it’s one that’s popular with the locals. Spend the day chatting with locals and comparing the size of the fish you catch. You don’t need a fishing license to fish off the pier, but you may need to pay a small fee.

9. Go Shopping Along the Surf City Pier

The Surf City Pier hosts a variety of souvenir shops to explore. It extends out into the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s also a good place to fish where you’ll find plenty of bait and tackle shops. When you’re done exploring the pier, head over to Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille for lunch. They have an outside seating area that overlooks the Surf City Pier and the Atlantic Ocean offering an incredible view for the whole family to enjoy.

10. Eat a Slice of the Beach Shop & Grill’s Mile High Key Lime Pie

Topsail Beach Island is home to several different restaurants, so it won’t be hard to find one close to your vacation rental. However, eating dinner at the Beach Shop & Grill is an absolute must. The family-friendly restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus they use locally sourced produce. But the highlight of any meal at the Beach Shop & Grill is the dessert. Save room for a slice of the restaurant’s famous Mile High Key Lime Pie.

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