Our first day trip in North Carolina was to Topsail Beach. Which I proudly was calling “Top Sail Beach,” but I have been gently informed is pronounced more like “Topsil Beach” – all one word and with an accent if you wish for us non-southerners.
We choose this beach because we wanted to take our dog Herman on his first trip to the beach in North Carolina. He’s only been to the beach once before, the day we got him from the shelter and we made our way out to Padre Island, TX. He didn’t get to romp in the waves then, he had just gotten fixed and his glued stitches didn’t do well with water.
We left Raleigh around 10:30 and got out to the coast in time to have our first seafood lunch at Crabby Mike’s. Brian had a shrimp poboy sandwich and I had the steamed shrimp special with hush-puppies, along side plenty of sweet tea for us both. It was a great way to kick-off a day a the beach.
We then drove to a public access parking lot. It was fairly easy to find a spot driving south on 50 toward the restaurants and shopping in Topsail Beach proper. The off street parking is amble and easy to maneuver.
We grabbed our beach bag, an umbrella for Mr. Herman and mounted the wooden stairs to see the ocean for the first time since our move. Once we crested the sand dunes the ocean spread out like a welcoming friend. My stars, am I glad I moved to North Carolina.
After finding the perfect spot on the sparsely populated beach, we strolled to the water’s edge, encouraging Herman the entire way. Herman isn’t exactly what you’d call a water dog. He usually starts paddling before you even put him in the bath tub for a wash. He endures water as a necessity and promptly jumps out when the opportunity presents itself.
The water is warm at Topsail in late June. It’s like bath water. It’s also a perfect shade of sea glass green, transparent and gentle. The waves are smooth and the sandy shelf underneath is solid, but not rocky or full of shells.
The sand on the beach is like sugar, white and fine grained. It does have a black undercoat, but it’s easy to brush off.
Once back at our home base for the day, Herman rubbed himself down on the towels and found his spot under the umbrella. He was just as relaxed as we were.
He is a beach dog and for that I am thankful. We can actually leave him on the towel while we romp deeper in the waves and play in the ocean. He just sits there and people watches. Doesn’t bark, doesn’t intrude on others perfect day at the beach.
After a few hours of reading, zoning our watch the ocean reclaim the earth and napping we packed up our things in search of dinner. We settled on Daddy Mac’s Beach Grill which was right on the water and had outdoor seating. They had really good cocktails and I had a shrimp pasta dish that fit the carb bill after a day on the beach. Brian treated himself to shrimp and grits. Decent food and quick service.
Our first visit to the North Carolina coast was a perfect day. We finally relaxed after the cross-country trek to move from Colorado. We finally felt calm and knew we made the right choice.
Distance from Raleigh: 137 miles or about 2.5 hours – Get the route
Wander Well Tips:
- Keep and eye out for the public beach access lots, it can be hard to find when you are driving by
- There is plenty of beach so if an access lot is full just keep going down the beach, there are more opportunities
- There are not a ton of hotels in the area, so if you want to stay overnight you might have to find a rental
- Topsail Beach has a lenient dog on the beach policy. You can bring fido on the beach with a leash, just help keep our beaches clean by cleaning up.