Explore Topsail Island/Pender County this summer with these free things to see and do

By Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director

This may show my age, but I remember my father grumbling when gasoline went above $1 per gallon. Dad didn’t grumble much, but our family station wagon was a guzzler.

It’s my turn to complain. With gasoline inching closer to $5 per gallon in our region, I think twice about extra trips in the car.

For summer fun and entertainment, you do not have to travel far. There are things to see and do right here in our own backyard.

Pender County departments, such as Pender County Parks and Recreation and the Pender County Library offer free and fun events throughout the summer.

Scattered from Topsail Beach to Burgaw, the county sponsors free summer concerts. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and pack the family a picnic for a relaxing evening featuring a variety of live music.

Let the kids blow off some energy at Hampstead Kiwanis Park, Rotary Park in Burgaw, and Topsail Beach Town Center. After 5 p.m., park for free in Surf City and enjoy Soundside Park and the many events they offer, such as movies in the park and Stroll,
Sip, and Shop.
The kids will love the playground equipment and the movies.

The Pender County Library offers summer programs and events.

Pender County’s 4H features special camps for children.

Outside our county departments, there are activities for the entire family. Organizations such as the Pender Arts Council offers classes and special events for children and the entire family.

Coming soon is the NC Blueberry Festival. Blueberry Week starts June 13, and each night features a different activity, from a cornhole tournament to Blueberry Bingo, to an art reception called Shades of Blue. Burgaw is painting the town blue.
Burgaw is a historic, charming town that is fun to visit anytime. Take a walk on the Osgood Canal Trail. Or take our walking tour of film locations. It’s on the app, Pocketsights.com. Just Google Hometown Hollywood. You’ll see that Burgaw is the Town Hollywood Loves. Enjoy ice cream at Scoops or from Olde Carolina Eatery.

Visit Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie. Take a kayak or a fishing pole, pack a family picnic, and explore the sight of the first Patriots’ victory in the Revolutionary War. Walk the trail that honors heroes and history. Inside the visitors’ center, watch the 15-minute film that explores the historical impact of Moores Creek National Battlefield and its abundance of natural resources and beauty.

Missiles and More Museum in Topsail Beach doesn’t charge admission and it’s an interesting place for all ages from children to grandparents. Learn about the birthplace of rocket technology and discover the reason the white towers line Topsail Island. On Wednesdays, the historical society offers an aquarium program for school-age children.

Poplar Grove offers a farmers’ market. Admission is free, but you will be tempted to purchase fresh produce or a uniquely crafted item from a vendor. The kids will enjoy a peek at the rescue animals.

Take a hike on the Mountains to Sea Trail and explore the beauty of a trail that spans from the Black River to the Atlantic Ocean in Pender County.

For more ideas and suggestions, visit our website, www.visitpender.com. For specific itineraries and events check out the Beach Week tab on the website.

There’s so much to see and do in Pender County.

Next, we’ll explore adventures that will cost a little money but are a value in family entertainment.