15 Best Things To Do In Surf City, NC - Updated 2021

things to do in surf city north carolina
Emilia
Emilia
Updated

There is a legend that some North Carolina locals tell about the past of an island with beautiful beaches. A pirate story. Some say that buccaneers used to hide in the channel between Topsail Island and the mainland and wait for merchant ships and attack them. Even Blackbeard is mentioned in these tales, and the name of this lovely island is related to these folktales. If you wish to unveil the hidden treasure of North Carolina, you can do so in the sandy beaches of Surf City, one of the three townships of Topsail Island. Now a family-friendly town, it offers lots of activities for a super fun vacation. Find the best Airbnb and long-term rentals for a place to stay. Hoist your sails and discover the best things to do in Surf City, NC!

1. Kenneth D. Batts Family Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Care to spend a quiet afternoon in the park? Surf City is home to Kenneth D. Batts Family Park. This park was originally named after the city but was changed to Kenneth D. Batts to honor the man of the same name who was killed in a bicycle accident. Batts was on the town council in the 80s and 90s. This memorial park is a fine place for a picnic with your loved ones. There’s a pavilion, a basketball court, and a playground. There’s also a boardwalk going into Topsail Sound.

Kenneth D. Batts Family Park

Address: 911 S Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC 28445, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

2. Tommy J Designer Jewelry

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Tommy j Designer Jewelry on Friday, November 2, 2018

Add to your collection of precious charms and visit Tommy J Designer Jewelry in Surf City. This independent shop sells intricate sterling silver and 14K yellow and white gold jewelry made by local artist Tommy James, with creations for other popular makers like Nicole Barr and Matt Bezak. If you’re in town for a romantic outing and are looking for a nice little gift for your special someone, consider getting your present here. From cute trinkets to stunning rings, you’re going to find the best surprise for your loved one here.

Tommy J Designer Jewelry

Address: 13500 NC-50, Surf City, NC 28445, United States

Website: Tommy J Designer Jewelry

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

3. The Daily Grind Surf City

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Daily Grind Surf City on Thursday, May 6, 2021

If you need a little pick-me-up after a day out and about in town, treat yourself to the Daily Grind Surf City. This coffee shop serves a classic selection of coffees and espressos which are best paired with their delectable goodies like cinnamon rolls. Occasionally, you’ll chance upon live performances and acoustic sessions at night. In case you have late-night cravings and are looking for a place other than the 24-hour fast-food chains, this is one of the best places to go. They are open daily until 11 pm!

The Daily Grind Surf City

Address: 114 N Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC 28445, United States

Website: The Daily Grind Surf City

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

4. The Belle of Topsail

Observation Tower Topsail Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wcleeuwenburg used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Don’t know what to do in Surf City, NC? You can start your pirate adventure in Topsail Island with a different tours offered by The Belle of Topsail. Most of the cruises are made on a replica of an 1880s riverboat and go through the North Carolina Intracoastal waterway and sounds. There are different types, like dinner and show cruises, the Captain’s Sunset or Dolphin Search Cruises or the most popular choice: the Pirate Show Cruise. In addition, they offer a private option for 6 passengers on board of The Raven, the only “real pirate boat” on the area. It is recommended to check the website for season schedules on all options.

The Belle of Topsail

Address: 518 C Roland Ave. (Back lot), Surf City, NC 28445

Website: The Belle of Topsail

5. Shipwreck Point Golf

Mini Golf
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gerry Dincher used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

In tune with the Pirate theme of the island, Shipwreck Point Golf provides fun for the whole family with two 18-hole mini-golf courses that resemble a tropical island with waterfalls, a shipwreck, flags and skulls and lots of pirate decorations. There is a lovely gift shop where you can get souvenirs to keep as a token of your visit to Surf City.

Shipwreck Point Golf

Address: 107 Charlie Medlin Dr., Surf City, NC 28445

Facebook: Shipwreck Point Golf

6. Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

Solstice, an olive ridley sea turtle gets prepped for release (36967364826)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pacific Southwest... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

There is no better way to learn about the local sea fauna than with a visit to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center. With the hard work of volunteers and what is earned from the fees payed by visitors, this Surf City attraction is able to perform its mission of conservation and preservation of all species of marine turtles, both in the water and on the beach. Loggerhead and other varieties of endangered sea turtles nest on Surf City’s shores from May through October, and the center offers tours and activities where you can learn and appreciate those wonderful creatures. Be sure to ask for directions from the locals before your visit, since their new facility is not found on Google Maps yet and the road where it is located is too new and doesn’t show up on GPS.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

Address: 302 Tortuga Ln, Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center

7. Surf City Pier

Surfcitync
Source: Photo by user Mikehelms used under CC BY 2.5

Some of the best Surf City activities are right at this pier. Those who are into fishing will have a great time in this pier that was rebuilt in the 1970s, after being destroyed by Hurricane Fran. Surf City Pier has everything that you need: lighting for night fishing, two large fish-cleaning stations with fresh water, bait supplies and a fully stocked tackle shop. It is a great space even if you just want to go for a stroll, as it has and an outside covered dining area and a great American grill restaurant. You can also go to the Surf City’s Beach House Marina if you want to book boat charters, water sports and fishing trips.

Surf City Pier

Address: 112 South Shore Drive, Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Surf City Pier

8. Seacoast Art Gallery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

A wonderful opportunity to find some hidden treasures, the Seacoast Art Gallery was established in 1987 and is a family owned establishment. It features original works and reproductions by local artists, and you can also find a large variety of pottery, glass, metal and crafts. As a bonus, you can meet artist and owner Sandy McHugh, who takes residence there from late spring through early November, and is quite a character.

Seacoast Art Gallery

Address: 121 South Topsail Dr, Surf City, NC 28445

Facebook: Seacoast Art Gallery

9. Soundside Park

Picnic Table
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Located along the Intracoastal Waterway, Soundside Park guarantees a great time with the family because of the available picnic shelters, boardwalk around the sound’s edge and playground that includes a climbing wall, a climbing fish, multiple slides and swings. It has several viewing decks to take great photos of the beautiful landscape. Ask about the season events, since the space also serves as a venue for concerts and movies.

Soundside Park

Address: 517 Roland Ave, Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Soundside Park

10. Tiki Tours

Lea-Hutaff Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Indy beetle used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A perfect chance to spot and learn about local fauna, with the great attention from the Tiki Tours staff. They offer different types of cruises, including the popular Shelling Tour where you get to see Lea-Hutaff Island, an uninhabited paradise with shallow waters that is perfect for shelling. Don’t miss it!

Tiki Tours

Address: 412 Roland Avenue, Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Tiki Tours

11. Back In Touch

Massage Shoulder Human
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Breathe and relax! Owner Michael McDowell and staff specialize in Sacred Lomi, an ancient Hawaiian Temple-style massage that will take you to another level. Their mission focuses on providing continuing education for massage therapists, so you need to ask in advance if they are receiving new clients. If you are in luck, you will experience one of the most special and energizing experiences of your life.

Back In Touch

Address: 418 N New River Drive, Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Back In Touch

12. Go Jet Skiing

Jet Ski Sport Sea
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

One of the funniest ways to enjoy Surf City’s waters is on a Jet Ski ride. You can get everything that you need in Surf City Jet Ski Rentals, who provide life vests, fuel, and a brief watercraft orientation so that you have a pleasant and safe experience. They also offer tour guides that adapt to your group’s needs. Pay attention to their early bird specials for discounts on 9:00 am or 10:00 am slots with prior reservation.

Surf City Jet Ski Rentals

Address: 512 Roland Ave., Surf City, NC 28445

Website: Surf City Jet Ski Rentals

13. Topsail Island Trading Company

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Your journey to Surf City can’t be complete without a visit to the Topsail Island Trading Company. They have a wonderful selection of fine jewelry and options for all members of the family as well: t-shirts, toys, bags and more. However, their trademark is on their variety of delicious fudge made fresh daily, right in the store. They have more than 160 flavors, yummy!

Topsail Island Trading Company

Address: 201 N New River Dr, Surf City, NC

Website: Topsail Island Trading Company

14. Stop in at the Salty Turtle Beer Co. in Surf City

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Ideal for a stop in on the way back from the Turtle Hospital, the small Brewery has a range of craft beer. It is kid friendly with board games during the day. Find cold beer, lots of Southern charm and an interesting array of beer. Enjoy good music, good beer, and good people. You can see the actual brewery through a glass window. You can choose to sit either outside or indoors.

Beer drinkers can even take a taste of some of the beer before ordering their favored pint. Choose between the likes of Barnacle Bill’s Brown Ale or Betio Blond. They have a nice outside deck and dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas.

Salty Turtle Beer Co.

Address: 103 Triton Lane, Surf City, Topsail Island, NC 28445

Website: Salty Turtle Beer Co.

15. Kill the hunger rumbles and dine on the best seafood dishes

Seafood Crab Gourmet Food
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Your daily adventures and activities will make you hungry. So hit the spot by eating some awesome seafood dishes at Sears Landing Grill & Boat. Enjoy a menu full of tempting meals like crab cakes, oyster po-boy, or the fresh catch of the day. Try the West Indies omelet for a unique flavor, or mahi mahi. Scallops are a popular favorite. Choose from a selection of sauces to eat with your seafood meal.

Sit out on the porch if you like, on rocking chairs. With bar service and a selection of scrumptious sandwiches, you really are in for a good dining experience. If you have to wait for a while, note this is a sign of really good food.

Sears Landing Grill & Boat

Address: 806 Roland Ave, Surf City, Topsail Island, NC 28445-6

Site: Sears Landing Grill & Boat

The X marks the spot

Surf City is the place to spend a wonderful time with your loved-ones. You don’t need to have a map to find the treasure: just enjoy the beach and prepare for an adventure for the whole family. Have fun!

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Surf City, NC

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Surf City?

Surf City is a place that offers plenty of exciting things to do. Some of the top attractions here are Surf City Pier, The Belle of Topsail, and Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Surf City?

There’s a plethora of outdoor activities in Surf City. It is in North Carolina, after all! The best outdoor adventures here include jet skiing with Surf City Jet Ski Rentals, having a picnic at Kenneth D. Batts Family Park, cruising with Tiki Tours, and fishing at Surf City Pier!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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When she is not backpacking round the globe, Emilia Lugo works as a Digital Content Specialist in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She considers herself a museum geek and loves destinations that can take...Read more

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