Do not come on memorial day weekend. We spent over 1 hour in stand still traffic just getting to beach, than 2 hrs leaving. 1 2 lane road to get to and from beach. 1 traffic light. Ridiculous.
That's not unusual for a holiday weekend at the beach.
The Swing Bridge open and closes on the hour...which will cause about a 15 to 20 minute stop in the flow of traffic...also the only traffic lights on the Island are at the "entrance" to Surf City. If we are going off/on the Island at it close to the top of the hour...we always travel the High Rise Bridge.
Sorry, but I agree with shanklemsw. It's that way for any area with limited access that is a summer getaway, especially on a holiday weekend.
The new high rise bridge to replace the swing bridge is suppose to be done in 2019 , I am sure that will make getting on and off the island much easier during peak season, but as said above there is a high rise bridge at the north end of Topsail Island. Even if you get stuck in traffic its well worth the wait, Surf City is fabulous , the beaches are great, the rentals are affordable and once your on the island why leave? there is food and plenty to do right there, from eating to shopping to fishing. Tip is if your going on a holiday weekend especially during peak season get there early, most rentals are required to be out by 10 am and most don't let the next renter in till 3-4 pm, so if you hit there between 10 and 2 its not bad. You will find that with any island that requires you go over a bridge. We have been stuck in bumper to bumper going to Emerald Isle where we sat for 4 hours on 4th of July rental. plan ahead, have a late lunch or pack a picnic lunch and sit on the beach while you wait for check in time to get close. There is plenty of ocean front public parking and the kids are always ready to hit the beach as soon as they get out of the car. Remember your on vacation, chill a little, your not on a clock.