Located in Onslow County, at the southern end of Topsail Island, and off the shoreline of North Carolina on the southeastern part, the North Topsail Beach Town is the smallest among the three communities situated on the 26-mile stretch island. North Topsail Beach possesses the northernmost segment, while the Surf City, which the biggest town on the island, occupies the center. The Island is simply off US Highway 17, which is in between Jacksonville and Wilmington. Topsail Island has a uniquely varied and rich history.
The ‘Topsail’ name originated from New Topsail Inlet, although legends have it that the island was named Topsail (pronounced as Tops’l) due to the fact that the pirate ships took cover behind the island and their topsails being visible from the ocean. The current Topsail’s Inlet name can be found on early navigational outlines with the other Topsail Inlet situated in Beaufort, Not long after J.G. Anderson built up the south-most end of the island and called it New Topsail Beach.
Before World War II, Topsail Island was only accessible by boat. During the early 1900’s, there were just a few structures built and were often used for summer vacations and fishing trips. At a time when World War II was beginning, the island was being used by the United States Army for training activities. Development began later on long after the World War II had ended.
The Town of Topsail Beach, which was incorporated in 1963, boasts of a friendly and family oriented beach living style. Conservation of the island is most important, as well as beautification, but the development of high rise structures are not allowed. The town consists of more than 1200 homes, with around 500 residents who are present year-round. The influx of tourists often increases the overall population to 7,000. This helps in sustaining the town’s restaurants, motels, fishing pier, gift shops and other businesses.