North Topsail Beach

The New River Inlet meets the sea at the northernmost tip of Topsail Island, making it a prime fishing hole, and the fishing pier is one popular spot. Also in North Topsail Beach, there is another bridge to the mainland, a so-called high-rise (maybe they say that because it’s higher than Surf City’s swing bridge, and therefore doesn’t have to open for boat traffic) that lands on the mainland somewhere in the general vicinity of the New River Marine Base, Camp Lejeune and Sneads Ferry.

Stump Sound oysters are served here and, at one time, Stump Inlet separated the northern portion from the rest of the island. As with many seaside features, this inlet receded and at last vanished, leaving behind only a trail of yellow, diamond-shaped, permanently-affixed “High Water” traffic signs.

On North Topsail Beach, the Permuda Island Coastal Reserve encompasses more than 50 acres of salt marshes, broomsedge, dog fennel, asters, goldenrod and Mexican tea. A couple of luxury resorts live at this end of the island, Villa Capriani and Saint Regis. Fun North Topsail Fact: New River is the only river in the nation that begins and ends in one county.

Sneads Ferry

When you cross the bridge in North Topsail Beach, you will end up on the mainland near Sneads Ferry. The ferry operated for more than 200 years, originally known as Ennett’s Lower Ferry, before a wooden bridge was built in 1939. The new bridge is a sign of the changing times that haven’t really changed a whole lot about Snead’s Ferry, a fishing village that each year takes in more fish than any other Onslow County port, more than 385 tons of shrimp, 25 tons of flounder, and nearly 500 tons of clams, scallops, oysters, mullet, spot, grouper, sea bass and crabs.

Here, you will find some holiday gift ideas that will really surprise the loved ones on your list: Sneads Ferry t-shirts and hats, Sneads Ferry flags and bumper stickers, Sneads Ferry wine, Christmas tree ornaments and license plates. With these fine items, you can be absolutely certain you are not giving them something they already have.

The Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival and the King Mackarel Tournament are both held each year in August. The Shrimp Festival is held at the Sneads Ferry Community Building at 126 Park Lane, home of the Sneads Ferry Community Theater. To catch a play, call the box office at 910-327-2798.

Until recently, you could cut through Sneads Ferry, get a temporary pass at the back gate to cross through Camp Lejeune, and wind up near Jacksonville, one of the area’s largest cities. Today, though, if you are not affiliated with the military and have no better excuse than that it is a great shortcut, you will not be allowed on base. Look on a map and pick another route to Jacksonville.