Our family vacations in North Topsail Beach every year. We are able to rent a house that accommodates all of us and the beach is lovely and quiet, with a swimable surf and tidal shallows for the littler kids to splash around in. There are also a few interesting attractions within a half-hour drive for those occasional rainy days, which is handy. We're a large extended family and some part of our group will usually charter a fishing trip or two, or rent fishing/water gear, and my understanding is that these resources are generally reasonably priced and accessible. It's been a great place for our far-flung family to convene.
Both this year and last year, on our way to the grocery store my husband and I have witnessed groups of young men in gas masks, jackboots, and flags and t-shirts featuring nazi symbolism, parading alongside one of the two main highways off the island. I actually thought maybe it was an aberration the last time we saw it and it was very surprising and disappointing to us that, unfortunately, we saw the same thing again this year. I don't know if this is an annual march or something that happens every weekend. And because we generally stick to the beach house, grocery store, and sporting supply shop, I can't really determine if this is representative of the community as a whole. But it definitely gives me and my family hesitation about returning, and it'd be something I'd mention to anyone asking if I recommend the place.