A few weeks ago our family stayed at a rented beach house in Surf City, NC. It was a cute little house right on the beach. We’ve rented beach houses in the Topsail Island – Topsail Beach – Surf City area several times before, and every time we do it reminds me what great place this area is to vacation with families.
This was the view from our back deck. Perfection. Every morning we’d wake up and take the kids and the dog (yes, there are pet-friendly beach houses!!) down to the beach where we’d stroll, play in the surf and sand, doze, and look for shark’s teeth.
The beach house where we stayed this time was called the “Wholly Mackeral.” It had been completely redone recently and was so beachy and nice inside. The only downside was that it only had 2 bedrooms and we had 5 people, so it was a little tight (the house is considered to sleep 6 people because it has a sleeper sofa in the living room). It was fine for us, though, because our 5th person was a little guy who didn’t mind sleeping with mom and dad.
We have been vacationing in the Topsail – Wilmington, NC, area for about 20 years now and still love it. Here is a list of our favorite family-friendly things to do there. Most of these activities were within a 30-40 minute drive. The exception is the aquarium, which was a little further but definitely worth the drive. Our 3 boys love every item on this list!
- The beach. (Duh!) We prefer being a mile or two either north or south of the Surf City stoplight. It’s much less crowded and commercial, and you can stretch out and enjoy the beach without noise and tons of people.
- The U.S.S. North Carolina Battleship in Wilmington — Hands-down my boys’ favorite place to go besides the beach. You get to tour a WWII battleship above and throughout the decks. Awesome.
- The Cotton Exchange in Wilmington — Historic downtown Wilmington has great dining and shopping, so this is usually my own favorite place to go besides the beach. The Cotton Exchange was a busy port trading center from the late 1800s and is so rich with history. And cool shops!
- North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach, NC — Everyone always loves to visit the aquarium. It’s great for people of all ages with lots of neat sea life and even hands-on exhibits. You can see everything in a few hours so it’s a great place to go on a rainy afternoon.
- Shipwreck Point Mini Golf in Surf City — This place is a tradition for my family. It’s not the coolest mini golf course in the world, but it is a good one and we enjoy the beach theme. We usually go here at night after a long beach day.
- The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center located in Surf City — This place is really interesting to visit and they also have scheduled releases that you can watch. Fun and educational!
Other activities in the area that we don’t do but are available include deep sea fishing expeditions, boat rentals, golfing, surfing, and fishing from the piers. Then we also usually do other, more typical vacation activities like going to the movies, eating out, and of course visiting our relatives who live in this area.
Topsail is a great place to have a big family get-together or reunion: several times when we’ve come we have had a huge beach house with 4-5 families. Everyone pitches in for meals and the cousins can all play together at the beach. We always have an amazing time.
I had hoped to have a ton of cute outfit photos of me on the beach, but guess what happened when we were there? I had a great time and didn’t bother taking any outfit photos. That right there tells you how awesome Topsail Beach vacations are. 🙂