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Topsail Beach, NC – A Pirate Island

Allow me to introduce Gracie! Today she is taking us on a tour of a sleepy beach town island called Topsail Beach, North Carolina. 

Topsail Beach, NC – courtesy of Gracie Smith

Topsail Beach is a small town in North Carolina that my husband and I visit all the time. It gained its name because you could see the top sails of the pirate ships as they sailed by the island.  With a population of 449, this small quaint beach town is the best place to go if you are looking for a sleepy island getaway. 

“Thanks to its proximity to Camp Davis, Topsail Island was chosen as the missile testing site for Operation Bumblebee in 1942. In those days, Topsail was a 26-mile barrier island accessible only by boat. Only the occasional fisherman or pleasure boater would land on its shores for a picnic on the sand. Lieutenant Ted Stanwick, however, saw the island as an opportunity to build and test the experimental missiles away from prying eyes. To test the missiles, the Navy pulled out all the stops to build cutting edge facilities that were completed in only one year. On the south end of the island, the Assembly Building was constructed for the storage and assembly of the experimental missiles. Eight Observational Towers made out of thick concrete and built to withstand an explosion were placed along the coastline to collect data on the tests. Each tower was equipped with precise instruments that photographed and recorded each missile fired. They also built the Control Tower just across from the Assembly Building, a bunker, and a launch platform that serves as the patio of the Jolly Rodger Motel

My personal favorite place to go on the island is the Patio Playground for putt -putt and ice cream. They have the best ice cream on the island and you can get any topping you want. They have everything from brownie sundaes to banana splits. The shakes are also super tasty. The putt-putt course is a lot of fun. They have two rooms of arcade games to play. You can win tickets with these games and cash in the tickets for fun prizes! They have everything from plastic rings, blow dart guns, and boogie boards!

Topsail Beach, North Carolina – Courtesy of Gracie Smith

If coffee and music is more your style, Quarter Moon Books is the hot spot to go on a Saturday night. They have live music and a tasty wine bar, and of course, the island cat, Socks, will greet the guests as they come inside.

Food is always my main thing on a trip and my favorite place to go is Daddy Mac’s for the Topsul Burger. Fancy Sushi is always tasty, and if sandwiches are more your go-to meal, then Cora’s Deli is the place for you to go.  For a good burger and fries, Island Delights is super tasty and you can get there by boat or jet ski.  The Jolly Roger Pier has tasty burgers and snacks foods if you want more of an on-the-go meal.  

If you want a more upscale meal, check out Beauchaines. Every dish here is amazing. It does not disappoint.

The Gift Basket is also a great place to go if you want to bring a treat home from your trip. They have everything from beach wear to Christmas ornaments for you to buy so that you always remember your trip to the island.

If you love fudge, you must check out the Topsail Island Trading Company. The Topsail Island Popcorn Factory is also a must try.

If you are looking for a cheap beach read to throw in your bag, check out the local post office. They have all kinds of books donated by other residents or guests and you never have to pay more that $1.00. All the proceeds benefit the local turtle hospital.

The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City is also a great place to check out during your visit. Since 2013, they have been taking in injured turtles and they help rehabilitate them to go back into the wild. 

Topsail Beach, North Carolina – courtesy of Gracie Smith

If fishing is your beach activity of choice, “during the spring, summer and fall months fishermen can expect to find sheep’s head, spot, tarpon, red drum, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, trout, flounder, amberjack, striped bass, croaker, white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, wahoo and dolphin running in Topsail waters. You can also rent a fishing charter for the day for deep-sea fishing. 

My favorite place to watch the sunset is in the sound parking lot. It has the best view of the sunset, and it always breathtaking, no matter how many times you have watched it. 

Topsail Beach, North Carolina – courtesy of Gracie Smith

If you are in Topsail Beach, NC on a Thursday, you must come check out Pillage the Village. It is a local craft market and you can just about find anything.  The artwork is always beautiful. One year, I came home with a little metal turtle for a Christmas tree ornament. The prices are always reasonable, and if you love to hunt for fun things to bring home from your trip, this is the place to go check out. 

If you are in Topsail over the 4th of July, the Ocean City Jazz Festival is a fun activity for all ages. 

You can never go wrong with a vacation to Topsail Beach, NC. Whether you are coming for the day just to fish, staying for the week, or renting a house for a month, it is the perfect little beach community for simple and lazy summer days. 

Topsail Beach, North Carolina is a fun place to visit any time of year. Come for the day or spend the weekend, and you definitely will find something interesting on this little island in North Carolina. 



Gracie Smith is a food blogger based in Raleigh, NC. Her blog “If You Want To Eat, You Have To Cook!” consists of easy homemade recipes.

Gracie Smith is a college graduate from William Peace University with a Public Relations/Communications degree. She fell in love with blogging about food during college and started her own blog as a way to keep track of the recipes she was making and it quickly grew from there.

To connect with Gracie, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


I love hearing about small town adventures and small town history! If you have a small town getaway you’d like to share, please use the content submission form. 

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