Surf City, North Carolina is the Perfect Beach Town for Any Family

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Searching for your perfect beach to visit this summer? Surf City, North Carolina is a quiet coastal town that offers tons of family fun, great places to eat, peaceful beaches, and more! They even have a turtle rehabilitation center that your family can visit. Local mom Jennifer spent some time in Surf City with her family and had a wonderful time. You can check out her review below.

local beach Surf City, North Carolina

We are beach people, but we are quiet beach people. My family prefers to rent a beach house for a week rather than stay in a hotel. We like beaches where there is some space between your beach chairs and umbrellas. This is how we ended up in Surf City, NC for the first time this summer. And, we fell in love!

If you haven’t heard of Surf City, I’m not surprised. This is a small township located on Topsail Island. Maybe you’ve heard of Topsail Island, which is a 26-mile-long barrier island off the coast located close to Wilmington, NC. Whereas Topsail Island is 26-miles-long, Surf City is a small, walkable section of the island. And, it is where all the action happens.

Looking for other beaches to explore in the Southeast? Check out our list of 20+ Amazing Beaches in the Southeast that are family-friendly and waiting to be explored! 

What to Expect at Surf City, NC

Surf City is full of vacation rentals instead of large hotels. There are a few hotels on the island, but far more townhouses or beach houses for rent. Since this is a small township, almost everything was within walking distance of our rental. It was fantastic! We could walk to get food from restaurants, pick up groceries, or shop.

Another fun part of staying in Surf City was the number of surfers! While we didn’t see many large waves, we did see a large number of surfboards in the water each morning. And, the local Surf City Surf School offers daily surfing lessons to tourists.

Surf City is quiet during the week, which was perfect for my introverted family members. But, it is much more crowded on weekends. This is because the locals head to Surf City on Topsail Island because it has several public beaches, as well as a beautiful pier. On the weekend we visited, there were lots of people around; however, there were still far fewer people than you find at other beaches that are tourist destinations.

Things to Do at Surf City

Surf City is a quaint beach town, so do not expect to find a ton of tourist attractions. Instead, plan to spend your days enjoying the beautiful beach. Take time to explore the town on foot. Visit the pier, shop the various boutiques and beach stores, and try out the restaurants. My favorite thing to do was walk across the street from the beach to the local bookstore.

Additionally, there is a mini-golf course in Surf City, as well as a turtle rescue and rehabilitation center. Both are family-friendly tourist attractions.

Topsail Island is close to Wilmington, NC, and Carolina Beach, NC. My family took a day trip to Carolina Beach and visited the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the Carolina Beach Boardwalk amusement park.

local shops in Surf City beach in North Carolina

Where to Eat when visiting Surf City

Since we were on vacation and could walk to multiple restaurants, we ate out a lot. And, I do not regret it one bit! The food was excellent. In particular, I grew incredibly fond of Shaka Taco, a fun taco restaurant connected to the Surf City Surf School. I ate there three times in a week. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I am still dreaming about their Shaka Nachos. Plus, there were several other local restaurants that my family enjoyed while on vacation, such as Daddy Mac’s Beach Grille and Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar.

Why We Plan to Go Back to Surf City

I love going to beach towns that feel like authentic beach towns, and this is the case with Surf City. It is not commercialized. It is quiet and quaint. My family felt safe enough there to walk everywhere. Plus, it was beautiful. Honestly, I would drive the five hours so that I could walk from the beach to eat at Shaka Taco again.

Surf City beach in North Carolina

What’s your family’s favorite nearby beach to visit?

Jennifer Curry
About the Author
Jennifer relocated to Spartanburg seven years ago, and now spends her days working from home and taking care of her two kids. She loves this area because we can go from rural areas to urban areas to the mountains within an hour. Her favorite things to do with her kids are using their imaginations and visiting Spartanburg County local libraries. Follow Jennifer at

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1 year ago

Where did you stay?