Beach Activities and Rules

To report violations, call 910-328-0042 
For emergencies dial 911


Beach access #3

Onslow County Beach Access #3 is located at the north end of North Topsail Beach off of River Rd. The access requires four wheel drive capabilities, and parking must be within the confines of the access.

Parking is not allowed in the entrance, nor is it allowed on the shoulders of River Rd. The speed limit for Beach Access #3 is 5mph, and the access is not for joy riding. ATV's, motorcycles, and go-cart type vehicles are not allowed. The launching and recovering of water craft in this area is also prohibited.

Vehicles are not allowed to drive onto the beach strand as is indicated with a posted sign near where the Atlantic Ocean meets the New River Inlet.

Please do not swim in the inlet as the currents are extreme and the tide changes rapidly. This is an extremely hazardous area regardless of your abilities and no one should swim, wade or enter these waters.

Unattended Beach Equipment 

All beach equipment must be removed from the beach by its owner or permitted user on a daily basis. All personal items and beach equipment unattended and remaining on the beach strand between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. will be classified as abandoned property and will be removed and disposed of by the town. This section is in effect year-round. All beach equipment shall be set at least twenty (20) feet from any sea turtle nest. No beach equipment shall be placed seaward of a sea turtle nest for a distance of ten (10) feet north and south of a direct line between the sea turtle nest and the Atlantic Ocean. No beach equipment may be placed within a twenty-five (25) foot perimeter of an emergency access or any beach strand access point. Any person who shall violate this ordinance shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense. Each day that a person is in violation of this article shall constitute a new and separate offense.


Glass bottles or glass containers of any type are prohibited on the beach.


Camping overnight on the beach or otherwise using the beach as a domicile is prohibited.


Click here for the Topsail Island Surf Report & Forecast.

Holes on the Beach

Please be mindful that unattended holes left on the beach strand can cause injury to others, especially as night falls. Please be sure you fill in any holes before you leave them unattended and please follow the Town's ordinance as follows:

To help prevent personal injury and damage to property, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation within the corporate limits of the Town of North Topsail Beach to dig into the sand on any part of the beach strand greater than twelve (12) inches deep, without having a responsible person attending the area to prevent any person or persons from walking into any existing hole and risking personal injury, and to allow public safety vehicles the ability to respond to emergencies without risk of damage to equipment or personal property.  Prior to leaving the area and thirty (30) minutes prior to sunset, any hole greater than twelve (12) inches deep shall be filled to level with the surrounding area, leaving the area in the same general condition which it was found.

Dogs on the Beach

Dogs must be on a leash and under the control of the owner at all times. While being walked or exercised off the premises or property of the owner or custodian, the dog must be restrained by a leash connected to a collar or harness, sufficient to restrain the dog from breaking loose. The leash is not to be longer than twenty-five (25) feet in length (retractable).

It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that all excrement is immediately removed and placed in the proper receptacle. Please do not leave animals locked in unattended vehicles with no provisions or climate control, as it is detrimental to their health. Cruel and inhumane treatment of animals will result in the responsible party being charged with applicable violations.

Please make the beach enjoyable for all - both people and your pets!



Concerned about sharks? Read this Brochure sponsored by NOAA and Sea Grant.


Some types of alcohol such as malt beverages (like beer) and unfortified wines (wine coolers) may be consumed on the public beach by those of legal age (no glass bottles). Hard or spirituous liquors and fortified wines are prohibited for display and consumption in public, without at State permit. The consumption of any type of alcohol is prohibited at the Town Park and County Beach Accesses.


No open fires are allowed on the beach.  All fires must be contained in a small gas grill.  Charcoal grills are not allowed.


Fireworks that detonate or explode, make a loud report, propel themselves through the air, or are not otherwise authorized by G.S. 14-414 of the North Carolina criminal code are illegal and are not allowed on North Topsail Beach regardless of where they are purchased. There are several professional fireworks displays located in the surrounding communities a short drive away from North Topsail Beach during the Independence Day holiday.


It shall be unlawful for any person to walk, run, swim, surf, boat, or place items on any sandbag revetments, including any geotextile tubes, located within or adjacent to the town. All violators shall be assessed a $100 fine per occurrence. This section shall not apply to any authorized, marked crossover or designated beach access.


Please stay off all dunes.  Use existing beach access points and crosswalks to enter the beach strand.  There is a $500 fine for walking on dunes.

Why Stay Off the Dunes?

Walking on the dunes causes deterioration of beach grass and other vegetation that helps to trap and hold the sand in place.  Although beach grass is a hardy plant, and is tolerant to high salinity conditions, direct sun, heat, lack of fertile soil and a fluctuating water supply, it can not survive being trampled by vehicle or man. As part of its resistance to salinity and drying conditions the plant has developed a thick brittle stalk which snaps easily when trampled or driven upon. The passage of only one vehicle or a few people over the dune at the same point will kill a strip of grass.  Without vegetation, the dune is exposed to wind erosion resulting in blowouts or breaches in the dunes.  These breaches or low spots not only create a weak spot in the dune but, become channels for floodwaters to move inland during storm events.  As a result, inland areas become more vulnerable during coastal storms.  Protecting dunes helps prevent loss of life and property during storms and protects the sand supply that slows shoreline erosion.

Weddings on the Beach

A permit is not required to have a wedding on the public beach at North Topsail. We ask that if you do have a wedding, that you leave the beach in the condition that you found it.  Contact Town Hall at (910) 328-1349 if you would like to reserve the Town's gazebo or picnic shelter for your event and complete the Reservation Form. Marriage licenses are issued through the Onslow County Register of Deeds. Please also look over our Special Event Policy.

Bike & Pedestrian Path

The Bike/Pedestrian Path begins at the Town Hall parking lot and goes north on New River Inlet Road to the North Topsail Beach Park. This path is not to be utilized for parking, or storage of items such as trailers, boats, construction materials, etc. The path is for bicycle and pedestrian traffic only and must remain unobstructed.

The NCDOT has also completed a bike lane along Highway 210 which extends south from the  intersection of 210 and Island Drive to the Surf City line.

No littering 

Help protect our beach by using the trash & recycle receptacles located at the entrance of each public beach access. Littering punishable up to $1000 fine.


Violations are subject to fines & penalties; to report violations, contact the Police Department at 910-328-0042. For questions or concerns contact Town Hall at (910) 328-1349. 

In case of emergency, call 911


BEach Clean

Topsail Island is comprised of three towns and two counties that have come together for an island-wide project to help protect the beautiful beach that we all love to enjoy! Our island is a beautiful beach destination whether you are visiting for the day, week, or longer, and we want you to have a safe and memorable visit for years to come. We strive for public support in a manner that is positive and informative.

Click here to learn more about the BEach Clean initiative

Staff Login

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.