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Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

Virginia
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11 posts
13 reviews
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Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

We are tring to decide between Topsail Beach or Emrald Isle for a rental house on the beach to share wiht another family. We have always gone to the Outerbanks mostly staying in Nags Head and we would like to explore further down the coast this year. Can anyone reccomend either area? We have older kids 12 years old and high school age too. We mostly enjoy the beach but would like some shopping and nearby grocery and maybe some good restaurants and some outdoor activities too.

Thanks!

Topsail Island, NC
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977 posts
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1. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

I like both Emerald Isle and Topsail Beach. Deciding on which place to vacation depends on what your priorities are.

I would say Topsail Beach is less crowded and the price of a vacation rental is probably going to be less. There a few shops in town, a few restaurants and a small grocery store but to get to more shops and such you'd have to drive to Surf City or even to Wilmington or Jacksonville if you really want a lot of shopping opportunities.

Emerald Isle is a bit more crowded and will likely be more expensive but there are a lot more places to shop for all sorts of things.

Both places have plenty of outdoor activities and nearby beach & water equipment rentals.

I probably haven't helped you a whole lot but I hope I at least helped a little.

Virginia
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11 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

Thanks for the input! It does look a lot less crowded than the Outer Banks. I was mostly wondering if we would have to drive far to get groceries, etc. The adults all like to sit on the beach, but the kids like other things to do, so I was wondering what was around in those two areas. We are leaning towards the rental on Topsail.

Topsail Island, NC
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977 posts
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3. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

In addition to the small grocery store in Topsail, there is a small/medium sized IGA in Surf City, it's probably about 6 miles from the center of Topsail Beach. The large Food Lion is on the mainland in Surf City and that's probably 8 miles and the large Harris Teeter is up the road a little further so I'd say that's about 12 miles away. (The mileage is just my estimate.)

In Emerald Isle the Food Lion is right there in town.

Topsail has the fishing pier, Patio Playground with mini golf, an arcade and more, a skating rink, a museum, ecological adventures, and a few other things.

Emerald Isle has a lot more, including a movie theater.

Topsail is small and compact with a 25 mph speed limit in the downtown area so the kids could walk or bike everywhere and you wouldn't have to worry.

Emerald Isle is larger and more spread out so they would have to drive a short way to get to places.

Both places are really nice so no matter which one you pick you will probably be very happy.

Virginia
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11 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

Thanks! Conniecat! I'll let the other family know about your comments and we can't wait to explore the area this summer! Thanks for the input!

Washington DC...
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2,605 posts
53 reviews
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5. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

If your kids don't need to be entertained with the likes of waterslides and go-karts, Topsail is great. Conniecat is right-Topsail Beach is nice with 25 mph speed limit, so the kids can be left to their own devices somewhat and you don't need to worry. I find it to be good on the wallet as the kids aren't tempted to be bugging you to take them to X, pay for Y. All can add up a LOT!

We enjoy going to the sound-side at the very end of the island where the kids swim and muck around in the tidal pools.

Topsail is also close enough to Wilmington if you have a rain-out of a day and you want to go to a mall, or to a movie, or spend the day in the N.C. Aquarium or other touristy things down that way, it is an easy drive.

Columbia, Maryland
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6. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

Emerald Isle and Crystal Coast are sometimes used synonymously. What is often referred to as Emerald Isle is actully 5 towns. From west to east - Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Salter Path, Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach. Atlantic Beach is the most commercial. The island is about 21 miles long. Just across the sound is Moorehead City and Beaufort - a historic town with houses from the 1700s. Various boat tours can be taken out of Beaufort. The is the NC Acquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. There are numerous mini golf and go cart tracks along with many restaurants. You will find the beaches not crowded at all in the residental areas. There are areas with condominiums, mostly in Atlantic Beach, Salter Path, and Atlantic Beach. There is a Food Lion near the bridge in Emerald Isle and on the west end of Atlantic Beach. It takes about 30 mintes to go from one end of the Island to the other. There is a small amount of shopping other than beach stores. There are shops in historic Beaufort. If you want to do real shopping, you will have to go to Morehead City. Plenty of places to eat all along the island.

7. Re: Topsail Beach or Emerald Isle

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