Topsail Beach is a town in Pender County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 383 at the 2012 census. It is part of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Local folklore claims the name, Topsail (pronounced Tops’l), originated during the 1700s when pirate ships, including Blackbeard, roamed the coastal waters. Historians explain that marauding pirates hid their ships in the channel behind the island and waited for passing merchant ships loaded with goods. The pirates would pursue and attack the merchants, claiming the cargoes as their own. Eventually, the merchants became aware of this infamous hiding place and began to watch for the tops of the pirates' sails showing over the rolling dunes - hence the name Topsail Island.
Prior to World War II, the only access to Topsail Island was by boat. Area residents frequently made this short trip to picnic and search for the pirate Blackbeard's rumored buried treasure.
During World War II, the U.S. Navy