As marketing and facility rental coordinator at Surf City Welcome Center, Audrey Goyer loves showing others all the great things about her new coastal hometown.
A native of Loveland, Ohio, a small suburb just north of Cincinnati, Audrey Goyer moved south looking for adventure. “And what better place for adventure than Surf City, North Carolina?” she says.
Before she found her way to Topsail Island, Goyer attended Eastern Kentucky University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in recreation and park administration with an emphasis in tourism management. After graduation, she gained experience in programming while working at the Countryside YMCA Day Camp in Ohio, YMCA Camp Potawotami in Indiana and YMCA Southwoods, a month-long overnight camp in upstate New York. At Southwoods, Goyer guided older campers through High Adventure activities, including ziplining, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. She also taught outdoor education, leading school groups through hands-on learning and team-building activities.
While Goyer’s early career brought her all over the United States, she had one final destination in mind. “I have always loved North Carolina and knew that I would eventually move here,” she says. “Within just a matter of hours, you can be anywhere from the Blue Ridge Mountains to our oceanside paradise — and the sun always shines!”
When she saw the online job posting for a position with the Surf City Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department, she knew it was the perfect opportunity.
From the start, Surf City felt oddly familiar. “I had actually vacationed here before moving, but I didn’t realize it until I drove down for my interview,” she remembers. “We used to come down for vacations for the whole family.”
Now, Surf City is home. Goyer began working with the Surf City Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department in January 2018. As the recreation program coordinator, she built up the Surf City Summer Camp program and helped with special events.
Previously, the day camp ran from 9 am to 1 pm with a maximum of 15 campers per week. With Goyer’s help, the program expanded to become a more traditional and accessible full day camp, while still maintaining its initial affordability of $150 per camper. “With these changes, we are now able to serve 50 campers per week for eight weeks (a total of 400 kiddos!) from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, while adding two field trips per week.”
With camp counselors as their guide, campers get to discover the area and learn about local wildlife, with field trips to the educational center Ecological Marine Adventures, the Surf City Surf School and the Karen Beasley Turtle Rehabilitation Center. There’s room for sheer fun, too, with trips to the Topsail Island Escape Room, Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park and the aerial adventure park Cape Fearless Extreme.
This past summer Goyer transitioned into her current position of marketing and facility rental coordinator at the Surf City Welcome Center. “I have loved being able to learn more about different marketing techniques and hosting events out of our facility,” she says. “Every day is completely different than the day before, which keeps my everyday schedule interesting and exciting.”
When Goyer isn’t planning or hosting community events, she enjoys walking the beach to hunt for shark’s teeth. “It’s like hunting for treasure!” she says. “I always challenge my friends to see who can find the most — but of course I always win.”
Beyond beachcombing, Goyer enjoys hanging out around town, and, naturally, her list of recommendations is long. A few of her favorite hangouts include the Beach Shop & Grill (try their brunch), Beauchaines (for brown butter cake and gorgeous Intracoastal views), Island Delights (for ice cream and old-school diner vibes), Sears Landing (for seafood and more Intracoastal views), Shaka Taco (for fish tacos) and Surf Dog (four words: sweet tea chicken tenders).
While summer is always fun with the hustle and bustle around town, Goyer prefers the fall season, when everything begins to slow down just a little bit. Then, she says, “you really get to experience the small-town charm of Topsail Island.”
Still, the off-season doesn’t have the same meaning it used to. “In the past, we have been more of a tourist town with a quiet off-season, but as the town continues to grow, we are beginning to be busy all year long.” Lucky for Surf City residents and visitors, Goyer and her team are here to entertain every month of the year.
Up next on Goyer’s radar is Surf City’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. On November 23 at Soundside Park, they’ll light up the town.