Mention the word “Calabash” around Myrtle Beach and you're sure to see mouths start to water. That's because most vacationers know Calabash as a style of seafood, not the fishing village with the same name.
Located just north of the Carolina border, about a 20-minute drive from Myrtle Beach, the tiny town of Calabash, NC, is famous for the lightly battered and deep-fried shrimp, fish, oysters and clams that come from the local waters and docks where the Intercoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean intersect.
Nicknamed the “Seafood Capital of America,” it's only natural to associate Calabash with the goodness that is served on its supper tables. That reputation dates back to the 1930's, when makeshift fish camps were established along the banks of the Calabash River. Visitors came from far and wide to sample the melt-in-your-mouth morsels from the sea that are served straight out of fryer.
Restaurants like Beck's, The Boundary House and Ella's are among the well-established eateries that have been drawing in large, hungry crowds for generations. Other popular local dishes include Frogmore Stew, a steam kettle filled with Shrimp, crabs, red potatoes and corn on the cob, and the hot hushpuppies, fried balls of dough dipped in honey butter.
But the word is out about some of Calabash's lesser-known secrets and visitors have discovered that there's much more to this town than seafood. Nearby barrier islands and Sunset Beach feature a natural beauty and relatively small crowds that you won't find at many of the surrounding coastal communities.
For Sportsmen and adventure-seekers, there are several charter boasts and outfitters, such as the Calabash Fishing Fleet, Hurricane Fleet Eco Tours and Voyager Fishing Fleet, available to take passengers out to catch their own dinner. Day trips also include dolphin-watching cruises and historic tours of the Carolina coast where pirates once hid out in local inlets.
For those who prefer to stay on the dry side of Calabash, there are several championship golf courses in town that offer true of skill as well as scenic views of the area's wildlife, wetlands and woodlands. Carolina Shores, Oyster Bay and The Pearl are among the top golf experiences within a 10-mile radius.
Calabash is known for its shopping. Beachwear stores, souvenir shops and antique mall in the downtown district. Callahan's Gift Shop and Nautical Gifts offer a one-stop opportunity to take home a small piece of Calabash for everyone on your shopping list.