Life can get so crazy in the summers. With the kids out of school and Southern Baked running at full steam, it can all feel a bit overwhelming sometimes, which is why getting away for a week or two is such an important part of my family’s calendar each summer. This year we planned a trip with friends to Topsail Island, a beautiful barrier reef island off the coast of North Carolina, and we had an absolute blast.
Going to Topsail is like going back in time. The island wasn’t even developed until the 1960s and even today the population is small, so it’s almost like walking along the shores of Destin in the 1980s, when it still felt tucked away from the rest of the world. We stayed on the southernmost end, surrounded by the ocean on two sides and the gently lapping waters of the sound on the other. At night as we watched the spectacular sunsets from the deck, it felt like we were the only people on the island at all.
Because Topsail has such a beautiful sound, (the beach facing the shore of North Carolina, not out towards the ocean) we loved paddle boarding and kayaking on the lazy waters. We also enjoyed getting out on the boat with our friends, the Lundford’s (sp?), to navigate the clear waterways every day. Once we found a sandbar, we’d put out our chairs and relax for hours while the kids played and fished in the shallow, crystal blue waters. We even started to call them “our Bahamas sandbars” because of how much they reminded us of the tropical island waters. Some families even brought their grills out to the sandbars and cooked meals right there in the middle of the sound!
What we ate
Because Topsail has a fairly low-key restaurant scene, we cooked our own dinners every night. We’d either use the fish we’d caught during the day (like the day when my boys went with a fishing guide up the intercostal waterway and caught some incredible redfish), or we’d pick something up from the local seafood market. Alex and I loved doing this because we didn’t have to deal with the pressure of beating the crowds out to a restaurant. We could also eat with our friends while we looked out on our amazing view, completely uninterrupted.
Our week at Topsail was such a perfect opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect. I can’t believe how lucky we were to discover this gem of an island and get to spend so much time exploring it with the friends and family we love so dearly. I’m already looking forward to my next trip!