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Surf City, North Carolina | What We Love About Living in Surf City

Friday, October 8, 2021   /   by Anne Rose

Surf City, North Carolina | What We Love About Living in Surf City

Surf City, North Carolina

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Courtesy of Google maps, retrieved Oct 8 2021

Surf City, located on Topsail Island, is actually in two counties, Pender and Onslow. The Pender County piece of Surf City is in the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the Onslow County portion is in the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Surf City population in the 2010 census was 1,853.

Surf City encompasses 5.3 square miles, of which 4.2 are land and 1.1 is water. The city has recently annexed land west of Highway 17, which extends the town limits.

Find Your Next Home in Surf City, North Carolina

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In mid-October 2021, a search for homes for sale in Surf City NC resulted in 194 listings. For $2.25 million, you could enjoy a 4800+ square foot home that sleeps 27 and boasts 360 degree views from three levels. If you have money to spend, there are plenty of other million dollar homes on the island for your consideration. Lots in Surf City are listed from $40,000 to more than $400,000, with the average around $250,000, so if you are looking for the island life and want to build your dream home, you will have many options. A three bedroom home is listed at about $400,000.


Surf City North Carolina Weather

Ocean breezes are the theme in Surf City, North Carolina! The "tourism score" puts the most pleasant times of year on the island between mid-April to June and then from mid-September until the beginning of November.

Summers in Surf City are hot, which makes the beach and boating life especially attractive. Average summer temperatures are 87 to 93 degrees. During the winter, the temperature rarely goes below 40 degrees, with an all-time low of 27 degrees. Winters can be particularly windy.

Surf City Close-up: Recreation & Attractions

Local Expert.pngEveryone knows about visiting the turtle hospital...which is awesome...but the most gratifying, educational and 'feel good' experience is attending a turtle release! 
To find out times and locations, follow the CORRECT (there are a few) facebook page at 'The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.'

Enjoy the sunrise and sunset: The first tip is to always get there at least 15 minutes prior to either, the colors change so dramatically from 15-20 minutes prior until 15-20 minutes after. Sunrise is typically amazing from any location on the beach, but I tend to gravitate to the pier because the surfers and the pier make great foreground subjects. There are not as many publicly accessed vantage points for sunset... but the fishing docks and the walking bridge at Soundside Park AND the lesser-known boardwalk/dock at the Kenneth D. Batts Family Park all offer SPECTACULAR views of sunset and also just nature, in general. 

Don't just drive across the new high rise bridge... WALK THE BRIDGE! The views from the top are amazing! Not only is it great exercise, but you can stop at the top and take in just about all of the island portion of Surf City. Also another perfect spot to take in the sunrise :-)

My one food suggestion... and I'm hesitant to even make it because it's such a hidden gem.. is to get a burger from the pier house. Seriously, the best burger and fries in the area. Go in the pier house, order up a custom burger and fries at the grill, shop the little store area while you wait, and then pay the $1 to walk out on the pier. They have a cute and clean eating area just outside the pier house or you can walk down the pier and find a bench with the best view on the island. They also serve Hershey's ice cream if you'd rather just grab a cone and walk the pier.

My one shopping suggestion is 'Carolina Decor and More'... it is on the mainland, just before you get to the island. There are a ton of other places with generic, mass-produced nautical items, but this one has a rotating stock of items by local artists, furniture consignment, antiques and some truly unique nautical decor.

There are probably a ton of other things, but I already feel like I'm short-changing the locals if I give away too much, LOL!!!
Salina Wilkins, Surf City resident & local expert, and KBT photographer

For a small town, Surf City offers plenty of activities from dining to enjoying the shore. Residents of Surf City enjoy the benefit of having two neighboring towns on Topsail Island - North Topsail Beach and Topsail Beach. Tourism is fairly heavy during the summer months, but during the winter, locals enjoy "no lines, no waiting" and a quieter pace than many of the more southern beach towns along the southeastern coast.

Unwinded which is a great little outdoor bar with live music. Divers, which is on theLocal Expert.png start of the bridge on themainland side, is a great new breakfast place with a small outdoor deck with a great view of the ICWW for early birds who want to grab some amazing waffles with strawberry blueberry compote before the line gets too long. I second Carolina Decor, but Topsail Island Trader is my go-to for any visitors I have in town. Getthe fudge and buy a shirt that has the old bridge on it.

As a Surf City resident, it's tough to think just "Surf City" and not want to think the whole of Topsail Island. I'll stand in Local Solidarity and not give away too many local tips! I'm always happy to talk with anyone thinking about moving to the area, though!
Liz - Headshot.jpgLiz Trojan, Surf City resident & local expert, Client Care Specialist - Broker/Realtor®
Email: liz@kbtrealty.com


Surf City has plenty of great little restaurants that really serve good food, not just tourist-y fried bar food. In addition to those in our Local Expert Tips, taco lovers will appreciate Shaka Taco, and Daddy Mac's may seem touristy, but serves up good seafood along with ocean views.


  tips for buyers, community spotlight

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