This Under-the-Radar U.S. Town Is Known as the ‘Seafood Capital of the World’

Written by Stephanie Harper
Updated: November 14, 2023
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Do you consider seafood your favorite cuisine? There are plenty of restaurants around the globe where you can chow down on delicious seafood, but there’s only one seafood capital of the world. Some of the most popular seafood dishes include sea urchins, catfish, crab, and tilapia. Some people absolutely adore lobster, squid, salmon, shrimp, and caviar. Others are obsessed with sardines, mussels, cod, octopus, and clams.

Scallops, oysters, seaweed, tuna, and anchovies are also beloved by seafood mavens whenever there’s a menu with a wide selection available. The seafood capital of the world is its own special place that deserves attention and clout. We’re referring to none other than Calabash, North Carolina. Once you enjoy seafood in Calabash, you’ll become so spoiled on the flavor that restaurants in other cities won’t be able to compare. Calabash is a town under-the-radar, despite its awesome reputation for seafood. Here’s what you should know about it.

Why is Calabash, North Carolina the Seafood Capital of the World?

Fishing boats in the dock

Fishing boats located in Calabash, North Carolina, the “Seafood Capital of the World.”

©Konstantin L/Shutterstock.com

The reason Calabash was able to snag its wonderful reputation and nickname is easy enough to understand. The seafood sold in this town is undeniably delectable. The fishing village in Calabash is exquisite and picturesque in a way that makes folks with wanderlust want to book a flight right away. When seafood is sold in Calabash, it’s lightly breaded in a delicious fried coating that helps maintain the integrity of both the freshness and flavor. Some families in Calabash take part in a DIY experience to enjoy seafood dinners that are more special than most can imagine.

These families spend time on fishing boats and docks to catch sea creatures straight out of the water. This way, they can cook seafood for themselves at home. Plenty of locals will tell you that a trip to Calabash isn’t complete until you’ve spent an adequate amount of time at the beach. Why not get some fishing in while you’re at it? Calabash might not have many other exciting things to offer, but its seafood options are abundant and readily available. Anyone craving perfectly seasoned salmon or trout will find what they’re looking for here.

If you’re intent on keeping your focus on seafood or sea life, dolphin cruises and fishing voyages are readily available as a way of staying busy.

Details About Calabash, North Carolina Beyond its “Seafood Capital of the World” Nickname

Calabash coast at sunset with marina and docks on the marsh and boats against a blue sky with light clouds

The coastline in the “Seafood Capital of the World,” aka Calabash, North Carolina.

©The Beehive Design Co/Shutterstock.com

Calabash is a lovely place to visit for more than just their seafood. Niche notes that the town has a population of 2,117 residents, as it stands today. It offers a suburban vibe with loads of folks who lean conservative when it comes to politics. Most people living in Calabash own the homes they’re living in compared to other towns full of temporary renters. The public schools have great ratings for families with youngsters. Plenty of retirees choose Calabash as the ideal place to settle down in their older age. The median home value in this town is $141,400, which is proof that it’s far more affordable to live in a place like Calabash compared to pricier options like New York or California.

Along with its reputation for tasty seafood, Calabash is recognized for offering peaceful relaxation, beautiful aesthetics, and coastal charm. There are plenty of places where visitors and locals can go shopping and congregate with each other socially. If you’re intent on keeping your focus on seafood or sea life, dolphin cruises and fishing voyages are readily available as a way of staying busy. These water-centered activities allow you to stay connected to the ocean. With more seafood restaurants here than any other place in the United States, having thoughts stuck on pending dinner time arrangements isn’t exactly far-fetched.

Why Some Might Argue That Biloxi, Mississippi is the Seafood Capital of the World

Biloxi, Mississippi, casinos and buildings along Gulf Coast shore at sunset

A beach view of Biloxi, Mississippi.

©Rob Hainer/Shutterstock.com

Calabash easily deserves the title of seafood capital of the world. So, why does another city in the US have a similar claim? Biloxi, Mississippi is located along the Gulf, which makes it a prime location for seafood lovers. In the 1920s, over 40 seafood districts opened up in a short timeframe in the area. The southern city offered loads of employment in the fishing industry for hard-working individuals looking to make ends meet. With so many oysters and fish to be pulled from the water throughout all months of the year, this career path made a lot of sense for a long time.

Still, seafood is something Calabash has fully mastered and continues to master to this day. While seafood was certainly a big deal in Biloxi back in history, its importance has now become overshadowed in this modern era. Lately, more people than ever are focused on the casino and resort industry in Biloxi. Shrimp will always be a popular seafood menu item to order there, but tourists looking for slot machines have grown a little more common than anything else. Calabash has never wavered when it comes to prioritizing seafood as the town’s main focus.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Artur Begel/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Stephanie Harper is a professional writer who graduated from Cal State Northridge with her English degree. She loves writing about animals, travel, and other lifestyle topics.

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