How to Keep Your Kids Busy at the Beach

How to keep your kids busy at the beach? Wait, what? Isn’t the beach one of the most entertaining places on earth for kids of all ages? Yes, yes it is. Most days all you have to do is step out of your Topsail Island oceanfront rental and onto the beach, and they are as happy as clams.

But then there are those days where you need a few extras (parents, you know what we mean). So just in case you have a day or two like that during your Topsail, NC beach vacation— we’ve got you covered with these fun, family-friendly beach activities for the kids and kids at heart.

Here are some of the easiest and most popular games, activities and classic beach fun to keep your kids happily amused while you sit back and soak up the sun.

Sand Play

Beach Treasure Hunt: A beach treasure hunt is fun for all ages. You can either hide objects, toys or coins in the sand for the kids to find, or you can keep it even simpler by creating a list on paper or in the sand of things they need to find and retrieve from the beach.


Build a Sandman: Forget about building a snowman, build a sandman instead! Use wet sand to create your base and then get creative with the rest. Sunglasses, goggles, flippers, flip flops, beach towels, and other beach accessories make perfect accents.


Bury Each Other in the Sand: What child doesn’t love the opportunity to bury their sibling in the sand? …Or friend, or parent… (if you’re down with that). Goggles or sunglasses might be helpful as a preventative measure for keeping sand out of the eyes. Then it’s time to switch places!


Oil Drilling: This is a classic beach activity where kids have 5 minutes (or any time period you choose) to dig a hole in the sand. Whoever has the deepest hole when time’s up is the winner. Just remember to fill up any holes you make in the sand when you’re done! You don’t want anyone to get hurt or provide any dangerous obstacles to sea turtles and their hatchlings.


Sand Angels: This is a fun activity for the littlest ones to enjoy. Sand angels are made the same way as snow angels. You can even add a few shells for decoration.


Sand Drawing: Kids love to draw and the beach can be their canvas. Have them draw pictures in the sand using their hands, sticks or shells. You can draw a frame first that each child has to draw their picture inside or have them start from scratch and you can judge the best picture.


Sand Hopscotch: Draw a hopscotch grid on the sand and use shells as markers. Kids love it!


Sand Sculptures: You can get really creative with these—sculpting turtles, aliens, or anything you want. Decorate with shells and pebbles for added effect.


Sandcastle Building: Make it a team competition between two different sandcastles, or give the kids a time limit to finish their own masterpiece. However you do it, sandcastle building is fun for all ages.


Easy Beach Games

Beach Scavenger Hunt: Supply each child with a list (it can be written or drawn with pictures) and a bucket in which they can collect their treasures.


Bucket Ball: Use some buckets and a tennis ball to have kids take turns aiming and tossing the ball into the buckets, or you can buy the commercially produced game and bring it with you to the beach.


Fill a Bucket Relay: Place small plastic buckets away from the water, one bucket for each person or team. The aim is to be the first to fill the bucket with water from the sea, using only hands to carry it. (Younger children can use cups or sponges instead of their hands.)


Parachute” Games with a Beach Towel: Grab a large beach towel and a beach ball. Hold the ends and sides of the towel with the ball in the middle of the towel, and see how high that ball can bounce. Aim for the sky!


Sand Bull’s Eye: Draw three circles in the sand and collect some stones and shells. Players have to throw the stones into the circles for points (one for the big outer circle, two for the middle circle and three for the center circle).


Sand Pictionary: Write down a list of beach objects on separate scraps of paper (sand castle, ice cream, crab, etc.). Fold them up and put them in a bucket. Set a timer for 1 minute. One child picks out a piece of paper from the bucket and has to draw in the sand the object that is written on it. The other kids have to guess what is being drawn. After each correct guess the drawer then picks another bit of paper and keeps drawing as many objects as they can in 1 minute. The drawer scores a point for each drawing that was correctly guessed by the other kids. Another child then becomes the drawer and does the same thing. This can also be done in teams of 2 or more—the drawer from each team reads the same bit of paper and tries to get only their teammate to guess, racing against the other team.


Seek and Retrieve: Assign a part of the beach as a boundary, and tell everyone who’s playing to bring back the most interesting thing they can find within the boundary area. Bonus points for whoever gets back first.


Squirt Ball: Bring water guns and a beach ball to the beach, and draw a line in the sand for each team. Place the beach ball between the two lines. Players have to use the squirted water to get the beach ball over the other team’s line.


Classic Beach Activities

Beach Volleyball: Beach volleyball is so fun. Enjoy a mixed game of kids and adults or divide up teams any way you choose. For the smaller kids, a beach ball and a towel are great substitutes for a net and volleyball. Try to count the number of times they can get the ball back and forth.


Beach Frisbee Golf: Try substituting a game of regular frisbee with frisbee golf for a new twist. Set up targets using items you brought to the beach (could be a picnic blanket, an umbrella, a towel, or you could even dig a hole in the sand to aim at). Take turns trying to throw your frisbee as close to the target as you can. Make sure smaller kids are allowed to stand closer to the target than the bigger ones to keep frustration levels to a minimum.


Bocce Ball: Bocce ball is an easy game for all ages to learn and to play. A “jack” or target is thrown on the sand. Players then throw their weighted balls and the one who gets their ball closest to the target wins a point. The game continues until a certain number of points are reached. If you don’t own a bocce set, improvise with rocks and other beach treasures. Just always make sure no one is walking by when it’s your turn to throw!


Bubble Blowing: Don’t underestimate the entertaining power of a simple bottle of bubbles. The beach is the perfect wide-open space for kids to blow, chase, and pop bubbles. So easy, so fun!


Frisbee: The beach is a nice open space for a good old-fashioned game of frisbee. It fits easily in your beach bag and can be played on the sand or partially in the water. Just be mindful of anyone near to you so you don’t become a nuisance or accidentally hit them.


Kite Flying: Let’s go fly a kite! This is a classic beach day activity. Even if it’s not a windy day, kids love running while pulling a kite behind them. Many of Topsail Island’s local sports outfitters and shops sell kites, so check them out.


Limbo: Play a beach-friendly version of this game by improvising with a pool noodle, jump rope, paddle, or beach towel. This one’s not just for the kids, either. How low can you go?


Musical Beach Towels: This is just like musical chairs, but instead you’re using beach towels. Make sure there’s one less beach towel than number of people playing. Start up the music from your phone and when it stops, each person must sit on a towel. Whoever is left without a towel is out of the game. Remove another beach towel and continue playing in this manner until the winner is revealed.


Tidal Pool Exploring: Topsail Beach has pockets of tidal pools left behind when the ocean waters recede at low tide offering the perfect opportunity for kids to play, explore and observe.


Tug of War: Using a jump rope or some beach towels tied together, stand at the water’s edge. Divide the kids (and adults) into two teams as equally (and fairly) as possible. Make sure the middle of the rope is right over a line drawn in the sand. Hand the ends of the rope to each team and on the signal let them tug away until one team is triumphant.


Love these beach games and activities? You can find more here and here.

What are your favorite family-friendly beach games and activities for the kids and kids-at-heart? We’d love to hear them!



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!


How to Have the Best Family Spring Break Ever

What does a successful family spring break require? That’s a really great question! It’s not just something you can throw together last minute and hope for the best. A vacation is both an investment of your time and your money, so of course you want it to be the best it can be. We have some helpful tips to ensure you have happy memories of your family spring break for years to come.

1. Choose a family-friendly spring break destination.

You really don’t want to choose the spring break locations that the college kids are choosing, right? Right! You want a family-friendly vacation destination without all of the spring break antics and indulgences.

Topsail Island, North Carolina has just what you need to get away from it all and still have fun at the beach. With a welcoming, safe and family-centered atmosphere, everyone is sure to enjoy their beach days. There’s enough to do to keep your focus on family time without too many distractions that draw everyone in different directions. We happen to think it’s the perfect family spring break destination for oh so many reasons!

Check out TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Things to Do with Kids on Topsail Island and see why families love it here.

2. Plan ahead and do your research.

Take some time to see what family-friendly activities and attractions are available to you and your family during your stay. This will help you plan your time and budget for any big-ticket items. Don’t forget to search for the free and low-cost options in the area, too.

Topsail Island offers not only miles and miles of beautiful beaches but plenty of family-friendly fun around town. Check these favorite Topsail Island attractions, annual events, and things to do.

3. Book a vacation rental instead of a hotel/motel.

Booking a vacation rental makes sense and saves you money. Why choose a hotel or motel stay when you can opt for a vacation rental that offers more bang for your buck? Think about all you can get with a vacation rental: more privacy, more space, a kitchen, laundry facilities, pet-friendly options, a personalized vacation experience and so much more. Why sacrifice any of that?

Take a look at our Topsail Island rentals and see which one best suits your family’s needs and wants.

4. Choose amenities that matter most to your family.

When you’re perusing your vacation rental options, think about the must-have amenities that you and your family will use during your spring break vacation. Whether it’s a pool, tennis courts, bicycles, hot tub, game room, boat dock, fishing pier—or whatever your family wants as part of their stay, plan accordingly. Talk together about what’s most important and prioritize.

Discuss your vacation rental’s preferred location, style, size and all the extras. Then find the best vacation rental for you and your family—one that at least meets, if not exceeds, your expectations. This is your vacation, so don’t settle for less.

5. Stay flexible.

This is not the spring break vacation of your youth when you were single and carefree. A family spring break is quite different (but in a good way!) so you have to go ahead and expect the unexpected. Keep the right perspective and know that all may not go as planned, which is almost always the case when you’re traveling with kids and teens. Focus on the memories you’re making and what will be remembered in the long run. It may not be perfect, but it can be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable for everyone.

It’s good to have a plan but it’s also important to stay flexible and go with the flow. Allow some time for spontaneous adventures while also planning ahead the best you can for the big things. Communicate with your family, discuss the options, and keep your expectations realistic.

Before you know it, your spring break vacation will be in full swing. Savor these fleeting moments that will quickly become memories. These are days you will look back upon and wish you could go back to, so cherish them.

Happy spring break to you and yours!

Let us know if we can help you plan your family spring break on Topsail Island. We’re here to help!

15 Rainy Day Activities on Topsail Island


Top 15 Rainy Day Activities on Topsail Island

 

“Rain, rain go away” is the song we are all singing today at Topsail Island. This week has been (and looks like it will continue to be) pretty soggy, but don’t let the weather dampen your vacation fun! There are several activities that you and your family can do on (and around) Topsail Island when you can’t be out on the beach.

Looking for something to do on this rainy day? Check out our Top 15 Rainy Day Activities!

 

Top 15 Rainy Day Activities

on Topsail Island:

 

Sea Turtle

 

1. Visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

 

2. Take a spin at the Topsail Beach Skating Rink .

 

3. Get a healthy dose of “retail therapy” at Mia’s Marketplace or Bumblebee Market.

 

Swingbridge Cork & Brew

 

4. Enjoy a nice glass of wine at Swingbridge Cork & Brew or a crisp local beer at The Salty Turtle Beer Company.

 

5. Test your wit and logic at the Topsail Escape Room.

 

6. Pick up your rainy day read at Quarter Moon Books & Gifts (P.S. – enjoy a glass of wine and some retail therapy here too!).

 

Lotus Flower

 

7. Treat yourself to a spa day at Inis Spa or The Float Spa of Sneads Ferry.

 

8. Indulge in some locally made fudge at The Topsail Island Trading Company or grab something sweet at Sugar Island Bakery.

 

9. Browse through (and buy!) local artisan designs and wares at Coral Cottages Boutiques or Carolina Decor & More.

 

Cappuccino

 

10. Enjoy a hot cup of specialty coffee at The Daily Grind or 4 C’s Java.

 

11. Grab a few new movies from a local Redbox and some popcorn from The Topsail Island Popcorn Factory for a good ole movie marathon.

 

12. Take the kids for ice cream and some arcade fun at Beach Bunny Ice Cream & Arcade.

 

Topsail Steamer

 

13. Cook up some fun with a Topsail Steamer bucket for a late lunch or early dinner.

 

14. Paint yourself a wooden sign or ceramic figurine to take home as a souvenir at The Turtle Factory.

 

15. Burn some energy at the 24/7 Sneads Ferry Fitness gym or join in on a yoga class at the Surf City Community Center.

 

 

 

No matter which activities you choose to do, always remember:

A Rainy Day at the Beach is Better than a Sunny Day at the Office.

 

 

 

We’d love to see how your family enjoys a Rainy Day at Topsail. Drop us a picture in our comment section!

 

 

Top 15 Rainy Day Activities on Topsail Island