The community of Surf City is a favorite for beach-goers, as it is easily accessed from the nearby areas of Wilmington, Hampstead and Jacksonville. This is partially due to the convenience of the fixed-span high rise bridge that was completed in 2018, which includes bike lanes and a multi-use path. Replacing the 1950s-era drawbridge eased some of the traffic congestion that affects the area in the summer months, when the population swells with people interested in going surfing, fishing, sunbathing or just relaxing in one of the many vacation rental homes, inns or hotels the area has to offer.
Situated on Topsail Island, just across the Intracoastal Waterway from the towns of Hampstead and Holly Ridge, Surf City is home to numerous seafood restaurants, a fishing pier, several marinas, many locally-owned boutiques, coffee shops, bars and ice cream stores. There are many opportunities for watching birds and wildlife, fishing in the Intracoastal Waterway, or just relaxing while catching a sunset at Soundside Park, which has a boardwalk over the water, a boat launch, a playground and picnic areas.
Several other parks, including the Nelva R. Albury recreation area, which has a playground and beach access, and Kenneth D. Batts Family Park, which has basketball courts and a walkway over the marsh, make Surf City a great place to visit for families. Though Surf City is usually quiet in the off-season, there are approximately 2,400 year-round residents. School-aged children have the opportunity to attend the Topsail School district, which includes Topsail High School, Topsail Middle School, Surf City Elementary, Topsail Elementary, North Topsail Elementary, and South Topsail Elementary.
Some of the other top things to do in Surf City include going kayaking, camping, biking or stand up paddle boarding.