25 Free Things To Do on Topsail Island

Raise your hand if you love free! We have some really good news for you—there are a lot of free things available to you and your family during your Topsail beach vacation, and they’re all right near your Topsail Island rental. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather 25 of the many free things you can enjoy while you’re here.

Here is our Topsail Top 25 list of best free activities, events, festivals, and things to do. How many will you take advantage of during your Topsail Island vacation? We want to know!

Free Annual Topsail Events

1. Participate in the Dolphin Dip on New Year’s Day.

It’s an annual tradition here on Topsail Island. Have you done The Dip? It happens every January 1st in Surf City on the beach. Bring in the New Year with a splash. Save the date! Event details here.

2. Attend the Surf City Easter Egg Hunt.

Every bunny loves an Easter egg hunt and the Surf City Parks and Rec Easter Egg Roll never disappoints. This year it’s held in a new location: the Surf City Parks and Rec Community Center fields. BYOB! (Bring your own basket.) Event details here.

3. Go to the Summer Concert Series.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, enjoy the sweet sounds of some of the best musicians in the area. Come to Soundside Park on select summer nights for a fun and free evening out. Summer Concert Series schedule coming soon. Stay tuned! Event details here.

4. Watch free Movies in the Park.

Free outdoor movie showings in Soundside Park every Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day are a summer favorite. Movies start at dark with pre-show activities and food vendors at 7pm. Movie schedule coming soon! Event details here.

5. Celebrate Independence Day with Surf City Fireworks.

We start the fireworks the night before the Fourth of July here on Topsail Island. The Surf City Independence Day celebration and fireworks in Soundside Park on July 3rd is a local highlight. Spend July 4th with us! Event details here.

6. Attend a Topsail Christmas tree lighting.

Christmas on the coast of North Carolina is a beautiful thing. Topsail Island comes alive with local tree lightings in Surf City and Topsail Beach, parades, and other special events throughout the season. Holidays are better at the beach, you know.

(Click here to see the best annual Topsail, NC events from our previous post. They aren’t all free but they are all totally affordable.)

Free Activities Around Topsail Island

7. Explore North Topsail Beach.

Spend a day or two or three just exploring around town. Start from your North Topsail Beach vacation rental and begin your adventures. Check out the Permuda Island Coastal Reserve, the Sea View Pier, the beaches and soundside waters just to name a few.

8. Explore Surf City.

Surf City is centrally located on the heart of the island. Walk out of your Surf City, NC rental and take in all the sights including the Surf City Ocean Pier, the beaches and sound, as well as the main dining and shopping strip on the island.

9. Explore Topsail Beach.

The southernmost town on Topsail Island, Topsail Beach offers miles of beautiful beaches, ocean and soundside waters, as well as the Jolly Roger Fishing Pier, the Missiles and More Museum, and access to Lea Island—plus they’re all right near your Topsail Beach vacation rental.

(Click here to read more about the area and each of our Topsail, NC towns.)

10. Visit the Missiles & More Museum

Learn about the storied past of Topsail Island at the Missiles and More Museum, housed in the historic Assembly Building in Topsail Beach. Delve into the people, times, and goings on that led up to the present day beach vacation destination that Topsail Island is today. It’s free, but donations are always welcomed.

11. Have a picnic at Soundside Park.

How much do we love Soundside Park? Let us count the ways. It’s the perfect spot to picnic, grill out, fish from the docks, watch the sunset, and let your kids burn off some pent-up energy. Lots of free events happen here, too!

12. Enjoy one of Topsail’s parks or playgrounds.

North Topsail Beach offers its Town Park; Surf City has Soundside Park, Kenneth D. Batts Park, and Nelva R. Albury Recreation Area; and Topsail Beach has its Town Center Park—each with their own unique amenities to enjoy.

13. Visit the Seacoast Art Gallery.

Stop by the Seacoast Art Gallery in Surf City and view the beautiful art and handiwork of Topsail’s local artists and artisans. It really is a local treasure!

14. Window shop around town.

One of the best things to do around town is to window shop Topsail Island’s unique stores. Right off the main strip you’ll find the Bumblebee Market, Topsail Island Trading Company, The Mermaid’s Purse, Mia’s Marketplace, and plenty of surf shops and sports shops just to name a few. Peruse the Topsail Chamber of Commerce Retail Shopping Guide here.

15. Bike along Topsail Island.

Hop on your bike and pedal your way all along Topsail Island. Try the Topsail Island bike path, the beach, and anywhere your two wheels can take you. Read more about biking around Topsail Island here.

Free Things To Do on Topsail’s Beaches

16. Soak up the Carolina sun.

You’re on a beach vacation, so soak it up! Whatever you enjoy most, get out there and do it. From fishing and boating, kayaking and canoeing, surfing and paddleboarding, biking and walking, or just finding your spot in the sand and relaxing, there are plenty of ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D here.

17. Walk the Topsail shoreline.

Stroll your favorite stretch of the 26 miles of shoreline that Topsail Island has to offer. Make it your morning or evening ritual. Feel the sand beneath your feet, hear the waves crash around you, breathe in the salty ocean air, and enjoy the views all while getting your exercise.

18. Collect seashells.

Topsail Island has some beautiful seashells just waiting to be discovered. Get out early and go out often for the best selection. Want some tips on shelling? Read our previous post: How to Find the Best (and the Most) Shells on Topsail Island.

19. Hunt for shark’s teeth.

Shark teeth abound on Topsail Island. From recently lost teeth (sharks lose thousands of teeth over their lifetime) to fossilized Megalodon teeth, you never really know what you may find. That’s all part of the adventure!

20. Search for sea glass.

The search for that glint of sea glass in all its colors dotting the shoreline is a beachcombing adventure all its own. With a watchful eye and a willing spirit, you have all you need for your sea glass hunting expedition on Topsail’s beaches.

21. Surf the waves of the Atlantic.

With plenty of Topsail surf shops and sports outfitters to guide you, you can grab your board, get out on the Atlantic, and ride the waves. May the swell be with you!

22. Paddle the local waters.

Whichever mode of paddling you prefer, Topsail’s soundside waters are very inviting to those who seek peaceful and calm on-the-water adventures. Bring your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard then get out and explore.

23. Swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

When is the last time you went for a swim in the wide-open ocean waters? It’s good to feel small in a big world every now and again. Float with the pelicans, body surf the waves, or just take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic. It really is rejuvenating.

24. Savor the Topsail Island sunrises and sunsets.

Because of Topsail Island’s placement along the North Carolina coast, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to coastal sunrises and sunsets. You get a double color show every day with stunning sunrises over the ocean and breathtaking sunsets over the sound.

25. Try surf fishing from any Topsail Island beach.

Surf fishing from Topsail’s beaches won’t cost you a dime, as long as you have the minimal fishing equipment, some bait, and a little patience. Just make sure you already have your NC fishing license!


Which of these free Topsail Island activities will you enjoy this year during your beach vacation? Or do you have more to add to our list? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a comment and let us know!


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