Beach Eats! Dine Your Way Through NC’s Brunswick Islands

by Janean Flowe
Plate of Calabash Seafood

By Vanessa Infanzon

Heading to your favorite restaurant after a day of swimming and sunbathing at the beach is a hallmark of vacation. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offer a selection of restaurants, cafes and tasting rooms to complement your beach vacation.


NC Brunswick Islands Map


Dine and Drink

Start your day with an avocado smash or the market bowl breakfast with a fried egg, avocado, sweet potato, mixed greens, citrus, quinoa and baby tomato at Drift Coffee & Kitchen at Ocean Isle Beach. Order a strawberry and banana smoothie to bring with you to the beach.

Outdoor dining with a water view is a must for every beach vacation. Add Ocean Isle Fish Company, Sharkey’s Waterfront Restaurant & Marina or Jinks Creek Waterfront Grille at Ocean Isle to your list. Waterfront Seafood Shack serves up authentic Calabash cuisine — seafood lightly breaded with corn meal and fried served with a side of hushpuppies. The Oyster Rock in Calabash features a raw bar and a rotating menu with fresh seafood, beef, chicken and pork dishes. Maria’s Pizzeria at Ocean Isle is a local favorite for Italian cuisine. The menu includes calzone, stromboli, pasta dishes and specialty items like shrimp fra diavolo: shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce tossed with fettuccine.


Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach


Play chef and pick up fresh seafood – crab legs, scallops, shrimp and more – from Bill’s Seafood at Sunset Beach or Capt’n Pete’s Seafood Market at Holden Beach.

Set aside a long afternoon for a wine tasting at Silver Coast Winery at Ocean Isle Beach. Winemaker Dana Keeler sources grapes from Yadkin Valley’s Shadow Springs Vineyards and RayLen Vineyards & Winery (and other areas) to make wines like the American oak chardonnay, bella rosa dry rose and viognier. Sit on the front porch or back patio, peruse the art gallery and shop filled with local and regional artists’ work, crafts and books.


Ocean Isle Beach pier

Ocean Isle Beach


Beer enthusiasts may enjoy Ocean Isle Beach’s Makai Brewing Company and 34° North Experiment Station in Shallotte. Silver Coast Winery Tasting and Taproom in Southport offers wine tasting and beer flights. They specialize in offering craft beer in a relaxed atmosphere where food and dogs are welcomed.


Silver Coast Winery

Silver Coast Winery


Work up an appetite

Seek out the Kindred Spirit mailbox on Bird Island. This black mailbox in the dunes holds several journals and pens. It was the inspiration for Nicholas Sparks’ book Every Breath. Read the stories people have written and pencil in your own. Frank Nesmith and a former girlfriend placed the mailbox there more than 35 years ago. They hoped to provide a place for people to write about love, loss and everything in between.


Southport Yacht Basin

Southport Yacht Basin


Paddle your way through Brunswick Island’s marshes, creeks and rivers. The Adventure Kayak Company and Summertide Adventure Tours offer two- to four-hour family-friendly tours throughout the Brunswick Islands.

Bike through the 911-acre Brunswick Nature Park in Winnabow. This inland destination boasts five miles of nature trails along side Town Creek. Pack a salad or sandwich from the Causeway Gourmet at Ocean Isle or Archibald’s Deli at Holden to eat at one of the picnic tables.


Caswell Beach

Caswell Beach


Restaurants within the Brunswick Islands adhere to North Carolina’s distancing and cleaning requirements for COVID19. Call or check the website before heading out to verify hours and table availability.

BOOK IT! Call your AAA Travel Agent today at 800-374-2865 to plan your Brunswick Islands vacation.

(Go Magazine Sept-Oct 2020)

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