Nothing says beach vacation like a restaurant patio overlooking the ocean shore or the tranquil waters of the Intracoastal Waterway; and in NC's Brunswick Islands, fresh seafood with fantastic waterfront views is in no short supply. Visitors to the Brunswick Islands will find waterfront dining set along the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and more, making for memorable meals to top off your beach getaway. Read on to discover the multitude of waterfront dining options in the area that are bursting with flavor and brimming with beautiful coastal views.
Calabash Waterfront Dining
Top off your foodie bucket list with a visit to “The Seafood Capital of the World” in Calabash, and you’re in for a treat! The Calabash seafood phenomenon began in the town of the same name and is now home to several restaurants along the Calabash River. The folks at the Waterfront Seafood Shack own their fishing and shrimp boats, and the fresh catches go straight to the seafood shack, ready to be prepared and eaten all in the same day. Visitors to this dining locale love the vacation vibes and enjoy a true coastal dining experience with tiki-style décor and outdoor picnic tables by the water. Diners looking for scenic river views and an authentic Calabash seafood dining experience will find the perfect setting at Captain John’s Seafood House, Captain Nance’s Seafood, or Dockside Seafood House Restaurant. For the visitors who love oysters, Calabash’s newest waterfront dining option, The Oyster Rock, features a custom outdoor oyster pit and a beautiful outdoor seating section perfect for watching the fishing boats come in.
Sunset Beach Waterfront Dining
Moving up the coast to Sunset Beach, The Boat Landing Restaurant boasts breathtaking views of the Intracoastal Waterway while serving up a variety of delicious seafood options. Take in beautiful views of the sunset while you dine on the fresh catch of the day. Across the way on Mary's Creek overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, Crabby Oddwaters serves fresh seafood, homemade soups, pies, and more. Enjoy fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere as you indulge in the signature Grouper Oscar or Whiskey Road Salmon.
Ocean Isle Beach Waterfront Dining
On nearby Ocean Isle Beach, The Isles Restaurant & Tiki Bar sits along the ocean serving fresh seafood in a family-friendly atmosphere with an oceanfront tiki bar perfect for enjoying a summer evening. Sharky’s Restaurant, on the Intracoastal Waterway, is Ocean Isle’s oldest eatery with 200 feet of boat docking for easy water access and a menu filled with a variety of seafood and casual dining favorites. Just next door, Ocean Isle Fish Company features a tiki bar on its upper deck where diners can enjoy expansive views (including boats bringing fresh seafood right to the dock) while feasting on coastal favorites. For the early risers, 59 Causeway Grill overlooks the waterway and serves a variety of breakfast items, delicious pastries, and seasonal treats.
On the other side of the causeway, Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille overlooks the water with spectacular sunset views each evening. Menu items highlight fresh, local seafood, and guests can get on island time at the restaurant’s raw oyster and tiki bars. On the mainland, at Brick Landing Plantation, the Seabreeze Bar + Restaurant offers Intracoastal Waterway views from multiple patios and a spacious dining room. The restaurant’s seasonal menu is full of fresh seafood options and traditional dishes.
Shallotte Waterfront Dining
In Shallotte, at the mouth of the Shallotte River and the Intracoastal Waterway, the Inlet View Bar & Grill has been family-owned and operated for nearly 40 years. Accessible by land and boat, diners can savor fresh seafood with the shrimp on the menu coming straight from the family’s boat. Be sure to check out the spectacular view from the upper deck, or dine with your dog out on the patio.
Holden Beach Waterfront Dining
In Holden Beach, several restaurants sit along the Intracoastal Waterway. Dock House Seafood & More offers an eclectic menu with unique items including a seafood pot pie and a mac-n-cheeseburger with an elevated view of the Waterway, including outdoor seating. Famous for their incredible shrimp burgers, Provision Company is a laid-back, open-air dining destination providing views of the boats passing along the waterway. Serving up delicious burgers, crab legs, and local seafood options, LouLou's Waterfront offers an unobstructed view of the Holden Beach Bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Oak Island Waterfront Dining
Back on the ocean, Island Way in Oak Island is a fine dining establishment with 18 large windows for guests to enjoy the coastal views. Perfecting steaks and seafood, the restaurant is ideal for celebrating a special occasion. Another beachfront option neighboring the Oak Island Pier, KoKo Cabana offers lovely views of the ocean and a variety of local seafood options, burgers, tacos, and vegan items. Just over the bridge to the mainland, Rusty Hooks Dockside Grill is located at the South Harbour Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. Bring the whole family to relax and enjoy the spectacular views, and the restaurant’s fresh local seafood. Also on the Marina, Joseph’s Italian Bistro serves award-winning cuisine with fantastic views of the Waterway. Try the fresh seafood options with the restaurant’s authentic Italian flavors.
Southport Waterfront Dining
Southport features views of the Cape Fear River and Intracoastal Waterway where they meet the Atlantic Ocean with many picturesque waterside eateries in the Historic Yacht Basin. The well-known Fishy Fishy Café screams vacation vibes with colorful décor, fun cocktails, delicious seafood small plates and entrees, and an outdoor deck that is perfect for catching the sunset. Southport's newest waterfront dining option, Edgewater 122, serves locally sourced, handcrafted food and drinks accompanied by a beautiful waterfront patio. Next door, The Provision Company of Southport is a no-frills seafood shack offering quality seafood with unobstructed water views. Sit on the covered patio for a delicious meal, and feel the waterside breeze. The Frying Pan offers yet another option for admiring a breathtaking waterfront view with a spectacular meal, including variations of classic seafood dishes with southern twists. Oliver’s on the Cape Fear, originally a ships chandler dating back to the 1700s, is now a fine dining restaurant with large windows facing the water, ideal for watching boats make their way up or down the river from the Atlantic. Sip on a seasonal cocktail at the restaurant’s outdoor patio just steps from the water.
Half the fun of vacation is finding new dining spots to experience the local flavors of the area; and with so many unique places to dine in NC's Brunswick Islands, deciding where to eat next will be an exciting culinary adventure. Looking to explore even more dining options in the Brunswick Islands? Find more restaurants in the area here.