5 Best Things to Do for Families Topsail Island, NC

5 Best Things To Do For Families Topsail Island, NC

With so much to see and do on Topsail Island, we made a list of what we feel are the 5 best things to do while visiting Topsail Island!

Relax on the Stunning Beaches

5 best things to do Topsail Island, waves crashing one the beach

A trip to Topsail island wouldn’t be complete without soaking up the sun, ocean waves, and salty air at one of the stunning beaches on Topsail island! Topsail Island is a 26 mile island off the coast of North Carolina, so enjoying the beaches are a must! Enjoy walking along the sandy beaches, soak and splash in the warm ocean water, bring your boogie boards to catch some waves, and sand toys to play in the sand and build sand castles. Coming from the West Coast where the Pacific Ocean is often freezing even during the summer months, the warm waters of the Atlantic make swimming much more comfortable, especially for the adults! Kids seem to always be numb to the cold, ha! Bring a cooler and picnic lunch and spend the whole afternoon! The sunsets here are also beautiful so plan for an evening for a sunset stroll.

Look for Shark Teeth and Sand Glass

Topsail Beach, North Carolina is one of the most well-known places to find shark teeth along the East Coast. Finding shark teeth and sand glass may be one of our boys most memorable things from Topsail! They loved sorting through the shells on the beach to find beautiful sea glass and shark teeth. Its a fun little treasure to find and take home, especially for kids! The best time to find shark teeth and sand glass is usually at low tide when many piles of shells wash up on shore.

handful of shark teeth found on Topsail

Finding shark’s teeth is a super fun family activity! The shark teeth you find are often black as they have been fossilized over time. We loved combing the sand and looking for small black triangular shape pieces. You have to be patient as there are a lot of shells to sort through and the teeth can easily blend in and can be pretty small.  It’s also fun to try and identify what type of shark they may have come from. 

Sea glass can be a variety of colors and looks almost like a polished crystal! Unlike glass, sea glass isn’t sharp as the edges have been smoothed down by being rolled and tumbled in the ocean often over many years. Sea glass is a beautiful little treasure to find!

Visit the Sea Turtle Rescue Rehabilitation Center

Topsail Island is one of the more heavily nested areas along the coast of North Carolina for loggerhead sea turtles. The mission of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is the conservation and preservation of all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach. They are very passionate about sea turtles and provide many opportunities to volunteer and get involved to help sea turtles.

Watch Baby Sea Turtles Hatch

Hatching season typically runs from July through October on the beaches of Topsail Island. Watching sea turtles hatch may be one of the most miraculous events you will ever get to witness! I know it sure was for us! I almost bawled getting to see baby loggerhead sea turtles emerging from their nest and making their way to the ocean. It was so beautiful and so amazing getting to witness such a beautiful and intricate glimpse into the glory of God’s creation. It will forever be engrained in my memory as one of the most magical experiences. We were very fortunate to be able to see them hatch! There were two turtle nests in front of our airbnb. We had just missed the first nest hatch by minutes. We found out the next morning that they had hatched 30 minutes after we left. As with all wildlife, it’s all about timing. The good thing is the turtle volunteer team will camp out each night at the nest when they anticipate the nest is close to hatching, so you can always chat with them to get a good idea of the timeframe they expect them to hatch.

5 best things to do Topsail Island, baby sea turtles crawling to the water

As if watching them hatch wasn’t magical enough, as the last turtle went into the ocean, it starting pouring rain. We ran back to our place soaked. As soon as we got back, our youngest son, Grayson, started begging to go back out again to see if we could find anymore turtles. We told him they had all went out to the ocean, but he insisted. My husband agreed to take him back out for 5 minutes “to check” knowing they were all gone out to sea. Our oldest, Aiden, and I had just taken off all of our wet clothes so we stayed behind. Two minutes later my husband calls me telling my to hurry and get to the parking garage. They found a baby sea turtle in there that got lost on its way to the ocean. We ran it safely back to the turtle team and they released it into the ocean. Gray’s instinct was strong and because of that he saved a little baby sea turtle! The turtle team all gave him high fives and said they were naming it Grayson after him. The next morning he proudly exclaimed, “When I get older, I am joining the turtle team!”

The volunteer turtle teams excavates the nest the day after the turtles hatch to make sure they are got out of the nest and count the eggs. So even if you miss the initial hatching, you might be lucky enough to see a turtle or two who didn’t make it out of the nest. Even if there are no turtles left behind, it is also cool to see the turtle eggs shells.

Light distracts and disorients the turtles as their instinct is to go towards the light of the moon or white caps of the ocean waves. You can help the turtles by being mindful when you are staying on the beach and turning your lights off at night and helping to pick up any trash you see on the beach.

Explore the Surf City Pier

Surf City Pier is Topsail Island’s first ocean pier. It was originally built in 1948. The family-owned and operated shop on the pier has everything from souvenirs to fish tackle to grabbing a bite to eat. It is a great place to go for a walk out onto the ocean and also to go fishing. You’ll often spot several fisherman fishing from the pier. Everyone was super friendly! One fisherman even let my son reel in a fish! There is lighting for night fishing and two large fish cleaning stations.

Surf city pier on Topsail island

Topsail Family Photographers

The beautiful white sand beaches offer the perfect backdrop for family portraits so it’s a perfect place to update your family photos! I’d love to capture your family portraits while you are visiting! Contact me to chat more and begin planning your Topsail family photos!

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    michelle's photography style is composed of capturing emotion-filled images in soft & neutral tones. her use of natural light with simple, authentic beauty allows your family love and bond to capture the focus.

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    email us | michellepoppphotography@gmail.com

    telephone (412)956-6696

    Logo Michelle popp photography

    located in san diego, ca

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