The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center
Located in Topsail Beach, this open-to-the-public veterinary hospital is a sanctuary for sick and injured sea turtles. During your visit to the center, volunteer staff will give you a tour of the facility and introduce you to their current patients, while explaining their rescue mission. It will be an eye-opening time for kids and adults. A visit to the center is free, but you might run into a long line. The rescue center is open from June through August.
Missiles and More Museum
The Topsail Historical Society operates this educational museum in Topsail Beach. Permanent exhibits include: Operation Bumblebee, including original missiles from the Navy's secret World War II-era guided missile testing program on Topsail Island; an Osprey Aircraft Exhibit, detailing the development of the revolutionary V-22 Osprey aircraft; and a Pirates Exhibit, featuring depictions of 10 infamous pirates including Blackbeard, who is said to have buried his treasure somewhere on Topsail Island. Admission is free and the museum is open from April to mid-October.
Surf City Ocean Pier
Reconstructed after being destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996, the pier now resembles its original 1948 form. Visitors can fish from the pier and purchase bait and tackle from the on-site store. Common catches include flounder, trout, pompano and mullet. The pier also features a hamburger grill, screened dining room, and a game room for children. Located in Surf City, avid anglers will want to note that the pier is open for night fishing.
Cruises and Tours
Topsail Offshore (Topsail Beach) and The Belle of Topsail (Surf City) both offer sight-seeing offshore cruises from Topsail Island. Topsail Offshore offers deep-sea fishing excursions, nature cruises and private charters. The Belle of Topsail is a replica 19th century riverboat offering dinner cruises, themed holiday parties, and even weddings.
Scuba Diving (Carolina Divers)
Located in Surf City, Carolina Divers caters to the adventurous traveler by offering diving, snorkeling and water sports lessons. Open water scuba diving classes are offered for every skill level. In addition, four charter boats service experienced divers interested in lobster dives, shark tooth dives, a visit to a sunken submarine, and even spearfishing. The on-site store offers dive equipment, beach apparel, and children's toys.