A Hurricane Preparedness Guide



Topsail Island is a relaxing and beautiful summer vacation destination. However, due to our location on the coast of North Carolina, we are vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms during hurricane season. Whether you’re a local, homeowner, or just visiting, here are a few quick tips you will want to know should a hurricane pass through while you’re in our area.

When is Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th every year. Although hurricanes can form as early as May or as late as December, it is very rare to see a storm form in those months. During hurricane season, storms can range from tropical depressions, tropical storms, to category 1-5 hurricanes.

Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage
Tropical Depression Up to 39 mph Rough seas, small craft warnings.
Tropical Storm 39 – 73 mph Heavy seas, capsizing of smaller vessels, flooding of low areas, heavy rain.  A tropical storm is considered a hurricane when winds reach 74 miles per hour.
Category 1 74-95 mph Very dangerous winds will produce some damage. Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
Category 2 96-110 mph Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage. Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
Category 3 111-129 mph Devastating damage will occur. Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
Category 4 130-156 mph Catastrophic damage will occur. Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Category 5 157 mph or higher Catastrophic damage will occur. A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

What Should I Do When A Hurricane is Expected?

There are two different types of storm notifications: a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in the area and are normally issued 48 hours prior to expected storm arrival. A Hurricane Warning means a hurricane is expected in the affected area and is normally issued 36 hours prior to the storm arrival.

VISITORS: Purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended when booking your reservation during the Hurricane Season months. However, travel insurance can only be purchased 30 days prior to your reservation and only when there isn’t an imminent threat of a named storm to our coast. CSA Travel Insurance will only cover your reservation from “unforeseen events” that prevent you from making it to your vacation. (Read more about The Best Way to Protect Your Beach Vacation our blog or visit our CSA Travel Insurance webpage.)

Whenever a hurricane threatens the Topsail Island area, Access Realty will be in touch with you regarding our plan of action. For all residents and guests visiting during this season, you should have a plan in place in the event there is a mandatory evacuation in our area.

When planning your hurricane evacuation, you should:

Plan your Evacuation Route

Should a mandatory evacuation take place, you have the option to either head inland and stay in a hotel or return back home. Before you leave, make sure you have all of your belongings, necessary medications, gas, etc. When the storm passes, you can call our office to see if you are able to return to the home and enjoy the remainder of your vacation.

Prepare a Hurricane Kit

Preparing a kit in advance will ensure you are able to collect the necessary supplies before the shelves are emptied. Your kit should include (at minimum) flashlight(s), batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. You can find more information on hurricane kits here.

If You are Unable to Evacuate

If the storm is looming and you absolutely could not evacuate the area, stay indoors. Stay away from all windows as flying debris could break the glass. Make sure you have your necessary supplies from your hurricane kit readily available, as well as plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food. Also, make sure your cell phone is fully charged in the event there is a power outage so that you can contact family and friends.

Your safety is one of our top priorities here at Access Realty. For more hurricane safety information, visit the following pages:

National Hurricane Center – Track storms in the Atlantic and get up-to-date information on current and future storms.

Ready.gov – Find hurricane kit checklists and helpful information to prepare you in the event of a storm.

A Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Top 4 Reasons to Spend Labor Day on Topsail Island




Labor Day weekend is the (unofficial) final “hurrah” of summertime. School has started and schedules are full again, but we are given one last chance to kick back and relax with an extra day off. So why not spend Labor Day at the beach?

Here are our Top 4 Reasons to Spend Labor Day on Topsail Island:

Last Chance for a Summer Vacation Get-Away

1. Last Chance for a Summer Vacation Get-Away

This holiday provides most of us a three day long weekend. The last “time off” we get during the warm summer months before the colder air rolls through. Why not take one last trip to your favorite beach and soak up as much vitamin C (or Vitamin Sea, as we like to call it!) while you still can? Not sure where to visit? Learn about the three different towns that make up all of Topsail Island to decide which is best for your vacation.

Head to the Beach for Amazing Weather & Temps!

2. Head to the Beach for Amazing Weather & Temps!

Late August/Early September weather is a local’s favorite time of the year. Water is warm, air is comfortably hot with a breeze, and the sand has cooled off enough to walk around barefoot… Perfection.

Save Money with More Affordable Vacation Rental Prices

3. Save Money with More Affordable Vacation Rental Prices

Labor Day weekend means you are out of Peak Rental Season! Prices drop down to Mid Season rates and you no longer have the requirement for a full week stay. That means you pay less and only have to stay for the weekend (unless of course you plan to stay longer…you’ll end up wanting to!)Browse through our available vacation rental homes here.

Enjoy the Final Summer Events and Activities

4. Enjoy the Final Summer Events and Activities

From watching Movies in the Park to listening to the Sounds of Summer Concert Series to a fun round of Nighttime Golf at Castle Bay Country Club,  join in on the last of the local Summer events our area offers! Plus, fishing and boating are great this time of year too!

No matter which reason you choose, you will be sure to have a blast on Topsail Island during your long holiday weekend.

Tell us in the comments how you plan to spend your extra time off!

Top 4 Reasons to Spend Labor Day on Topsail Island

15 Rainy Day Activities on Topsail Island




“Rain, rain go away” is the song we are all singing today at Topsail Island. This week has been (and looks like it will continue to be) pretty soggy, but don’t let the weather dampen your vacation fun! There are several activities that you and your family can do on (and around) Topsail Island when you can’t be out on the beach.

Looking for something to do on this rainy day? Check out our Top 15 Rainy Day Activities!

Top 15 Rainy Day Activities

on Topsail Island:

Sea Turtle

1. Visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

2. Take a spin at the Topsail Beach Skating Rink .

3. Get a healthy dose of “retail therapy” at Mia’s Marketplace or Bumblebee Market.

Swingbridge Cork & Brew

4. Enjoy a nice glass of wine at Swingbridge Cork & Brew or a crisp local beer at The Salty Turtle Beer Company.

5. Test your wit and logic at the Topsail Escape Room.

6. Pick up your rainy day read at Quarter Moon Books & Gifts (P.S. – enjoy a glass of wine and some retail therapy here too!).

Lotus Flower

7. Treat yourself to a spa day at Inis Spa or The Float Spa of Sneads Ferry.

8. Indulge in some locally made fudge at The Topsail Island Trading Company or grab something sweet at Sugar Island Bakery.

9. Browse through (and buy!) local artisan designs and wares at Coral Cottages Boutiques or Carolina Decor & More.

Cappuccino

10. Enjoy a hot cup of specialty coffee at The Daily Grind or 4 C’s Java.

11. Grab a few new movies from a local Redbox and some popcorn from The Topsail Island Popcorn Factory for a good ole movie marathon.

12. Take the kids for ice cream and some arcade fun at Beach Bunny Ice Cream & Arcade.

Topsail Steamer

13. Cook up some fun with a Topsail Steamer bucket for a late lunch or early dinner.

14. Paint yourself a wooden sign or ceramic figurine to take home as a souvenir at The Turtle Factory.

15. Burn some energy at the 24/7 Sneads Ferry Fitness gym or join in on a yoga class at the Surf City Community Center.

No matter which activities you choose to do, always remember:

A Rainy Day at the Beach is Better than a Sunny Day at the Office.

We’d love to see how your family enjoys a Rainy Day at Topsail. Drop us a picture in our comment section!

Top 15 Rainy Day Activities on Topsail Island

Book Direct & Save!



In today’s day and age, there are a multitude of online booking websites where you can shop thousands of properties in a wide range of areas around the world to find your perfect vacation rental in just one click

But did you know that many of these websites charge additional HIDDEN fees or inflate EXISTING prices?

We understand that your vacation is important and you only get to take a limited number of trips during the year. We simply want to make sure you are getting the most out of your vacation dollar when you visit Topsail Island and the only way to do that is by Booking Direct!

Everything You Need to Know About Booking Direct:

February 7th, 2018 marks the inaugural #BookDirect Day – a day created to educate Vacation Rental Guests on the benefits of booking directly through an owner or local Property Management Company versus using OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies), such as HomeAway, VRBO, AirBNB, or TripAdvisor (to name a few).  

These big name websites, sometimes unbeknownst to you until after you click “BOOK, make their money by charging you a service (or booking or “take rate”) fee. This fee ranges from 5% to as much as 15% of your TOTAL vacation rental cost!

(See how you can be saving a TON of money just by booking directly through our website?) 

For example, the average cost of a two bedroom Topsail Island Rental Home during Peak Rental Season is about $2,000 pre-tax. If you book through an OTA who charges a 15% booking fee, you will pay an additional $300 on top of your $2,000 rental cost!

And what special OTA service does this extra $200 provide you?
Nothing. It’s simply the cost of using their website to book your vacation rental.

The OTA’s don’t know the ins and outs of each individual property to answer specific questions you might have. They don’t send out repairmen when you run into a maintenance issue. They don’t give you suggestions on the best local restaurant for dinner or what there is to do on a rainy day…but Access Realty does! 

When you book directly with us, you speak one-on-one with a knowledgeable, LOCAL, professional who lives, works, and plays in the Topsail Island area. We know the details of each property because we have actually been inside of them! We can give personal recommendations on the best places to eat, shop, or visit because we love to frequent those businesses in our day-to-day lives! Our two conveniently located offices are within 15 minutes of each of our rental properties, so you can rest assure that we will respond to your issues quickly!

How Do I #BookDirect?

It’s simple! We encourage all of our guests to book their vacation directly through our safe and secure website, www.AccessTheBeach.com, or by calling us directly at 1-800-TOPSAIL (867-7245), (910)329-9800 for our Surf City Office, or (910) 327-2050 for our Sneads Ferry Office. We promise we will never charge you hidden fees and we will always provide you with the lowest available rate on our professionally managed accommodations.

Recap: Why Book Direct?

  • Properties are professionally managed by Access Realty, a local, reputable property management company with two office locations in the Topsail Island area.
  • Save up to 15% by avoiding online travel agency booking fees!
  • Secure and simple 24/7 online booking at AccessTheBeach.com
  • Helpful and knowledgeable local staff who know the properties and live, work, and play in the Topsail Island area!

Ready to plan your Vacation?

Make sure you #BookDirect with Access Realty!

Click here to Search our Vacation Rentals!

Welcome to Topsail Island!



Topsail Island is a 26 mile long resort island off the east coast of North Carolina– just north of Wilmington, NC. Both residents and visitors alike consider Topsail Island a “hidden treasure” for two reasons. One being that the beautiful serene beaches are uncrowded and surrounded by local mom and pop stores, which makes for a truly peaceful place to vacation or live. The second reason is for the legend that Blackbeard hid his treasure on Topsail Island. Prior to WWII, treasure hunters searched for the hidden gems and gold throughout the islands’ maritime forests.

Topsail Island (locally pronounced Tops’l) is said to have gotten it’s name from the popular belief that pirates used to hide in the channel between the island and the mainland waiting for merchant ships loaded with goods to pass. The pirates would attack the ships and claim the cargo as their own. Eventually the merchants became aware of the hiding place and began looking for the topsail, which was supposedly the only part of the pirate ship that could be seen by the passing victim.

Town of Topsail Beach
Town of Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach is located on the south end of the island. Topsail Beach is home to the Missiles and More Museum, which exhibits Operation Bumblebee when the U.S. Navy took over the island during World War II. Operation Bumblebee was the beginning of the space program for the U.S Government. With it’s rich history, Topsail Beach is a popular residential and tourist destination. Topsail Beach is known for is laid back, retro vibe.

Town of Surf City
Town of Surf City

Surf City

Surf City is located in the heart of the island and is home to the Surf City Pier where visitors can get a scoop of ice cream and walk or fish on the 937 ft pier. Surf City is a popular tourist attraction with several shops and restaurants within walking distance of each other. Surf City also features one of the island’s iconic symbols — the swing bridge. Right next to the swing bridge, is Soundside Park where concerts, outdoor movies and other special events take place year round.

Town of North Topsail Beach
Town of North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach is located on the north end of the island towards Sneads Ferry. In fact, it has an adjoining high rise bridge with Sneads Ferry. North Topsail Beach is home to 2 resorts — Villa Capriani and the St. Regis — and the Sea View Restaurant and Fishing Pier (one of the longest piers in North Carolina). North Topsail beach is known for uncrowded and serene beaches and some say it’s the best place to look for shark teeth along the sand.

Be sure to contact us at www.accessthebeach.com for the very best in Topsail Island vacation rentals. You will be so glad you did.

5 Reasons We Love Autumn at the Beach



Don’t get us wrong. We love Topsail Island at ANY time of the year. (Yes, we are biased and not afraid to admit it.) But there are some things about Fall that make the island even more special

1. Two Words: No. Traffic.

Summertime at Topsail Island can be a little…well, congested. While we love the charm and historic symbol of crossing the Swing Bridge, we do not love the traffic back up it causes on the island or mainland in the busy summer months. During the Fall, boat traffic and vehicular traffic are drastically reduced, making your trip onto the island much smoother and less rushed-to-cross-the-bridge-before-it-closes.

2. The Comfortable Outdoors

North Carolina summers get hot, hot, hot! While Summer is great for your annual dose of Vitamin D, Fall is a wonderful time for enjoying the outdoors. The water has warmed up from the oh so high temps in July but the air is cool enough to hang out on the beach ALL. DAY. No need to take a ‘break’ indoors for the air conditioning when it’s a comfy 75 degrees outside.

3. Festivals, Fishing, & Fun!

Who says you can only have fun at the beach when it’s Summertime? Once Fall hits, we have festivals galore (plus a lot of great fishing)! With the NC Spot Festival in Hampstead, the Riverfest in Wilmington, or the Autumn with Topsail festival in Topsail Beach, there are many opportunities to have fun in our area (check them all out here)!

4. Almost Empty Beaches

When school starts back up and all the Summer vacationers head home, you can pretty much expect to have a quiet beach almost all to yourself (less some locals and fishermen). Who wouldn’t enjoy a quiet day spent at the beach to catch up on a good book and relaxation? Sign. Me. Up.

5. Save Some Moolah!

As if the reasons above weren’t good enough, prices on vacation rentals drop outside of the Peak Summer season, saving you hundreds of dollars on your trip. You also can save on souvenirs at gift shops and enjoy off season specials at restaurants.

So what are you waiting for?