How to Get to Topsail Beach

How to Get to Topsail Beach
Only accessible by boat before World War II, Topsail Beach is located at the southern end of Topsail Island along the coast of North Carolina. Topsail Beach was home to Operation Bumblebee in the 1940s, when the U.S. government owned the island and did rocket testing there. Today it is a place where development is kept in check, which makes it a nice spot for beach lovers who prefer their sand and surf experience not to be sullied by over-commercialization. Only two bridges connect the 26-mile-long island to the mainland.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Head south from Jacksonville, N.C., which is near Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, or north from Wilmington, N.C., on U.S. Highway 17. These are the two closest major population centers to Topsail Island. U.S. 17 connects the two cities and is the main thoroughfare to access the roads that lead to the bridges to get to Topsail Island. N.C. 210 makes a half-loop off U.S. 17 through the island.
Step 2
Turn right off U.S. 17 onto N.C. 210 coming from Wilmington, which will connect with N.C. 50 after about 3 miles. Turn right on N.C. 50/210 to take you to Topsail Island, then turn right on South Topsail Drive/N.C. 50, which will take you to Topsail Beach. Before crossing over to the island, you will come to a swing bridge that once an hour turns its entire span open to let boat traffic through the channel. Automobile traffic can back up at this time, so be prepared to wait.
Step 3
Turn left off U.S. 17 onto N.C. 210 coming from Jacksonville or Camp Lejeune, which will take you directly to the island via a high-rise bridge. Once on the island, head south on N.C. 210 through North Topsail Beach and Surf City. In Surf City, N.C. 210 will turn right, back to the mainland, but you want to keep heading straight on South Topsail Drive/N.C. 50 to reach Topsail Beach.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced in 2009 that plans were under way to replace the swing bridge on N.C. 50/210. Construction is expected to begin on a more-accessible, travel-friendly bridge in 2015.
 
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced in 2009 that plans were under way to replace the swing bridge on N.C. 50/210. Construction is expected to begin on a more-accessible, travel-friendly bridge in 2015.
 
The swing bridge on N.C. 50/210 opens to boat traffic at the top of every hour, so plan your travel so you reach the bridge at the half-hour mark if coming from Wilmington.
 
The swing bridge on N.C. 50/210 opens to boat traffic at the top of every hour, so plan your travel so you reach the bridge at the half-hour mark if coming from Wilmington.

Article Written By Blake Guthrie

Blake Guthrie's articles have been featured in a variety of publications, including the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" and "Creative Loafing." He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Auburn University.