3 Big Benefits of Spending Winter at the Beach


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Topsail Island, North Carolina is known more for its summer beach season and as a popular family beach vacation destination during the warmer months, but as those who live on Topsail know—winter at the beach has a unique beauty and draw all its own. There are some big benefits to visiting Topsail Island during the wintertime when there are less vacationers and more beach for you to have all to yourself.

Take a look at the top three benefits of a Topsail beach escape during the winter months and experience it for yourself. If you already live here or enjoy one of our long-term Topsail rentals, then let us know if you agree or if we missed anything.


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1. Unmatched Peace and Tranquility in Winter on Topsail Island

Winter on Topsail Island provides a tranquil setting that is unlike any other season here. There is a peacefulness that surrounds you and a quiet escape for those who need to get away from the busyness of life for a while and find rest, restoration and relaxation. Topsail Island residents savor the reset that the winter months provide after the busy summer beach season and the sense of calm that winter at the beach provides.

Less traffic, less crowds; more peace and tranquility where the sand, sun and sea are your constant companions. Did we mention the stunning coastal sunrises and sunsets this time of year? The color show is breathtaking. The brilliant hues of the sky are uninhibited by humidity and really stand out against the neutral tones of the beach color palette. Bring your camera!


RELATED READING: The 3 Most Popular Reasons People Relocate to Topsail Island

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2. Excellent Shelling on Topsail Beach During the Winter Months

With less people and less crowds, the beach treasures are yours for the taking. There's less competition for that beautiful sea glass, those intact conch shells, and those delicate sand dollars as you stroll the sands in search of the beach's bounty.

The churning of the waves during the winter months often washes up some of the best seashells and coastal treasures to be found. Don't neglect those cooler, windier days where the shelling is good and you have most of Topsail Beach all to yourself, or after a winter storm where the depths of the oceans have been stirred up and brought to the shoreline waiting to be discovered.


RELATED READING: Your Topsail Island Shelling Guide

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3. Drive on the Beach for Awesome Topsail Fishing

Fishing on Topsail Island during the winter is amazing in itself, but couple it with the opportunity to drive on the beach during the off-season and you have a recipe for the best fishing experience ever. Every Topsail Town has its own rules and regulations for driving on the beach, so it's always best to read up on them before you head out for the day, but here's quick summary of what you need to know.


Driving on the Beach in North Topsail Beach:

  • Beach access is available year round.
  • Access passes are required year round and must be displayed the entire time the vehicle is in the permissible driving area.
  • There is no charge for vehicle permits for disabled persons.
  • Property owners with a valid hurricane re-entry pass (orange or green) can gain entry with this pass.
  • There are two types of access passes available to non-property owners: $20 daily pass; $60 weekly pass. Both passes are available for purchase at the pay station at the North Topsail Beach Permissible Driving Area which accepts both cash and credit cards.
  • Annual permits are available for $100 and must be purchased online. You can purchase North Topsail Beach annual beach driving permits here.
  • North Topsail Beach permissible driving hours are: April 1st – September 30th: 6a.m. – 7p.m. and October 1st – March 30th: 7a.m. – 5p.m.
  • The best access point is 3962 River Drive, North Topsail Island.
  • For more information, contact the Town of North Topsail Beach at 910-328-1349 ext. 20.


Driving on the Beach in Surf City:

  • Permits are issued for driving on the beach for fishing purposes only October 1st through March 15th.
  • Pleasure riding on the beach is not allowed and carries a fine.
  • Night driving is allowed for fishing purposes October 1st to March 15th.
  • There is a beach access for 4-wheel-drive vehicles only located at Kinston Ave. just south of the Surf City Pier.
  • No vehicle are allowed on the beach except in the beach area between the 1300 block of South Shore on the south and Dolphin Street on the north.
  • Permits are issued by the Surf City Police Department located at 305 N. New River Drive between the hours of 8a.m. to 5p.m., 7 days a week.
  • There is no cost for handicap individuals. They may drive on the beach for fishing, only during permitted time frames.
  • For more information, visit the Town of Surf City website.


Driving on the Beach in Topsail Beach:

  • Driving on the beach for the purpose of fishing only is allowed by permit from October 1st - March 31st.
  • Pleasure riding on the beach is not allowed and carries a fine.
  • Season Pass: $50 for non-residents of the Town of Topsail Beach; $25 for residents of the Town of Topsail Beach
  • Weekly Pass: $25
  • Documentation that is required to purchase a permit: Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration, State-Issued Fishing License
  • The Topsail Beach permit decal must be placed on the vehicle’s windshield at the time of purchase.
  • Driving permits are available for purchase at the Topsail Beach Police Department Monday through Friday from 8a.m. to 4p.m. During the weekend and holidays, permits are available from 8a.m. to 10a.m. at the Topsail Beach Police Department.
  • The Topsail Beach Police Department can be reached at (910) 328-4851.
  • For more information, visit the Town of Topsail Beach website.


RELATED READING: What You Need to Know About Topsail Island Fishing



These are our 3 favorite things about winter at the on Topsail Island, NC. What are yours?