Paddling at Topsail

Topsail Hill Preserve Paddler

Get out and explore Topsail Hill Preserve State Park with a day on the water

The preserve offers many opportunities to grab a paddle and hit the water. Canoe, kayak or paddleboard on Campbell Lake, a near 100-acre pristine coastal dune lake surrounded by ancient coastal dunes and maritime forest. 

Paddling a coastal dune lake is a special treat because these freshwater lakes are a very rare ecosystem, occurring only in a few locations around the world. The untouched natural beauty of the lake offers opportunities to see an abundance of native flora and fauna. 

Bald cypress and fragrant water lilies can be found along the lake, along with a host of other native plants endemic to the area.  

Water lilies cover calm water. Bald cypress line the waters edge.

For a different experience, try paddleboarding or kayaking the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the park's 3.2 miles of beaches. Clean white sand and clear blue water go as far as the eye can see.

Look for dolphins playing in the surf or shorebirds dancing along the water's edge. The preserve's whitetail deer have also been seen enjoying the beach and browsing for food in the coastal dunes.

Bring fishing tackle and try your luck with kayak fishing. Saltwater fish such as redfish, Spanish mackerel and pompano are commonly caught from the preserve.

Personal watercraft (canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and accessories - PFD's, paddle etc.) cannot be used in the park because of the possibility of introducing exotic plants into the dune lake. Kayak, canoe and SUP rentals are available at the park store every day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Paddles and life vests are included with rental. For pricing and reservations, contact the Campground Store at 850-267-8333. 

Woman standing on paddle board rides a wave in the emerald green surf.