We just wrapped up a most memorable week in beautiful Surf City, North Carolina, with the Balderrama Beach Bums (BBB 2018).
We had been on the search for a perfect spot to spend a week at the beach that started with Hawaii, but after looking at costs and travel times, we decided to stay within the mainland. The search started with Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, then kept moving up towards the north and finding the best value – and I think we found it on Topsail Island and Surf City.
We stayed at a beautiful house that was right on the beach, which was the main reason for choosing Surf City. With traveling with 4 kids 6 & under, I was worried about packing everything up for a day at the beach, then having one of the kids get sick of it after 30 minutes and want to go back. For a reasonable price, we couldn’t beat this level of access and the flexibility to work around nap times and taking breaks from being in the sun.
The beach itself was beautiful, with soft, fine sand and ocean water that felt like a warm bath. I was a bit fearful about the level of humidity we’d get in North Carolina in July, but it was definitely at a bearable level for us Colorado wimps. One of the best aspects of this beach was the fact that that it was not crowded. Most of the people there were occupants in the house, and while there were public access points, it still seemed very low-key, giving the illusion of seclusion.
Surf City itself is a very charming town that was very welcoming to guests, embracing the interest and growth. Every business and local we encountered seemed genuinely glad to have the people there, unlike some other destination towns that seem resentful of the tourists. What also made Surf City ideal was that there were not many temptations away from the beach. We had little outings that we went to each afternoon to get out of the sun, but the beach remained the main focus and felt timeless as if we were living in a Corona commercial.
While there seemed to be a lot of dining options, we found our favorites pretty quickly and went back a few times. Some places that we loved:
Surf Dog Bits and Brews – they were so friendly and accommodating. The food and beer were a great casual options, and they were really awesome with our kids.
Salty Turtle Beer Company – a new craft brewery that opened up and was a relaxing way to beat the heat. I was a big fan of La Surfeza (a cool play on words with Cerveza – Spanish for “beer”).
Topsail Steamer – a cool concept that’s basically a “take & bake” for steaming seafood. They give you everything – including the bucket – to steam everything and have a cajun boil at home.
However a ProTip: don’t drink the broth. It made Wednesday night a really bad one for me and also took me out of commission on Thursday.
Overall this turned out to be a really relaxing trip, with absolutely no regrets. If you are looking for a beach vacation, we couldn’t recommend Surf City enough.