Living on Topsail Island is not your typical beach town. However, you can tell from your first visit that it’s no ordinary spot along the shoreline – Topsail has a certain charm. The locals have a deep appreciation for the island’s natural beauty, and Fall is one of the best seasons for living at the beach. It’s nice to enjoy North Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Topsail Beach in a more relaxed way, without getting caught up in the busy summer months.

I’ve loved living on “Topsul” for the past seven years because of its small, close-knit community. When my husband and I first moved here a few years ago, I hesitated to move somewhere with a larger population. But, after living here for a while now and getting to know different people from the island, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else!

While it is nice to live here all year round, I especially love living at the beach during the fall. It’s hard to beat an afternoon stroll on the beach while watching the sunset over the ocean and hearing waves crash onshore. You might even see dolphins playing in the water or hear some seagulls chirping overhead! The best part of living at Topsail Island, though? Getting to experience “island time.”

Island time is pretty much what it sounds like: living by…well…on island time compared to mainlanders (people who don’t live on an island). As soon as you move here and start living at the beach, it’s like you’re on vacation all the time. First, you begin to slow down and relax more. Then, you start living by the golden rule: “Take it easy.” Island time isn’t a bad thing at all. We ARE able to get things done, but we do it with less stress than our mainland counterparts.

One of my most enjoyable moments is walking on the beach in the early morning. When the sun comes up in the morning, it’s always so breathtaking. There are so many colors to catch- pink, orange, yellow. I enjoy listening to all of the sounds. I can hear seagulls and serenity all around me. Every time I set out on a beach walk, I tell my husband, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He always smiles and says, “See ya in a couple of hours.” Of course, he’s usually correct. I can spend hours meandering and walking the shoreline. I try to collect shells and other items that catch my eye, such as pieces of sea glass and, more importantly, shark teeth!

Although Autumn brings cooler weather, fewer people, and a more passive day-to-day lifestyle, hurricane life’s peak season also begins. Living on an island during hurricane season is an emotional rollercoaster. Between worrying about your friends and family or preparing for the storm, you’re never bored! Sometimes, there are times where I am petrified of what could happen during hurricane season. But living through Hurricane Florence helped me feel more confident in my ability to handle all the different emotions that come with hurricane season.

Hurricane Florence (2018) was just one of many during my time on Topsail Island and left our island in complete disarray for many months. When the mandatory evacuation began, the storm was supposed to hit our island dead on at a Cat 5. Thankfully, the storm decreased in power and saved our little piece of paradise. The cleanup was laborious, the tears were many, but the friendships grew more robust because the clean-up effort was abundant. The event turned out to be much less scary than it could have been! But for this Texas Native, it was indeed an event of a lifetime. And one, I’ll never forget. Now my husband and I have learned to watch the African Coast with much more intensity and readiness. One thing to remember if you’re new to “Topsul”- never keep a full freezer from August-November as hurricanes or tropical storms are an annual occurrence here, and sometimes we lose electricity for days!

Of course, one of the best things to do during the Fall is fishing! My husband and I love to go fishing in the inlet and Surf City Pier. Both are a fun and relaxing way to spend your day or evening. Even though we live on the island and could surf fishing, my husband doesn’t like sand in his crack, so he’d rather be somewhere that doesn’t supply that option. The pier in Surf City has a large seating area and a walkway- perfect for fishing! It’s also an excellent place for people who don’t know how to fish because there’s always someone available to show them the ropes. In addition, the walkway is well-lit at night, which makes it even more enjoyable! On another positive note, the SC Pier Grill has a full menu that has incredible food- mosquito burger, ice cream, and fish sandwiches, to list a few. But, of course, the best part of fishing here is going to bed with salty air filling my lungs and fish scales on my clothes.

I enjoy living on Topsail Island because it is a beautiful place to live all year long. The Fall season, however, tops any other time of the year for me! With cooler weather and the holiday season just around the corner, living at the beach in North Carolina can be perfect for anyone who loves being outdoors or appreciates coastal fishing. Although it could be too cold for some people, I love bundling up in sweaters or a hoodie to go outside and enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the island. And with plenty of festivals taking place throughout this season, there is no shortage of things to do or something to look forward to accomplishing. For me, Fall is the best time to live at the beach in North Carolina because it’s what makes me fall in love with Topsail Island all over again each year…