Topsail Island (pronounced Tops'll) is the centerpiece of the region, a 26-mile long barrier island which spans the Atlantic coast at the border of North Carolina's Pender and Onslow Counties. It is accessible by bridges at Surf City (Pender County) and just south of Sneads Ferry in Onslow County.
The Island has three towns - North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach. Behind the island on the mainland side of the intracoastal waterway, there are the small river-towns of Sneads Ferry and Swansboro. Though still fishing villages at heart, they are now becoming a favorite for those seeking a small-town retirement lifestyle or a home on or near the waterfront but not on the vacation resort island itself. Jacksonville is the commercial center of Onslow County and the Topsail Region and home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.