HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >


NC Beaches: Best Seafood Market?

Hoping to rent a beach house in Sept. or Oct. We aren't fishermen...so would like to be a reasonable distance to a great seafood market that specializes in fresh & local. What beach town would you recommend? Good restaurants would be nice, but not as important to us as the market (and sand, surf, bliss)...

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Would help to know which beach you are staying at.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jellybear

      We have not decided. As I was looking at rentals I realized the seafood market was a critical point, so I'm trying to locate a great one. Then will find the lodging.
      I've been from OBX to Wilmington area beaches - each has their own nice aspects and we'll be happy at any of them as long as we can gorge on seafood!

      1. re: meatn3

        My only experience is staying near Emerald Isle/Swansboro. Clyde Phillips Seafood Market "between the bridges" that connect Swansboro and Cape Carteret specializes in local and wild seafood. What he gets off of his boat is what you get. He also sells wholesale to many of the area's smaller restaurants. A true locally-owned gem.

        I've also had success purchasing seafood from Captain Willis Seafood Market just down from Big Oak Drive In at Salter Path on the sound side.

        1. re: mikeh

          We just returned from Emerald Isle today and purchased seafood from Captain Willis' several times and were very pleased.

          Their tartar sauce is something special. We brought back six containers.

    2. I haven't been a customer, but other posters have said Risky Business Seafood in Hatteras is excellent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: carolinadawg

        Risky Business is flawless. Great, great place. Hatteras has been badly overdeveloped recently, but the beaches are great, and Risky Business is just one of the best things in the world. Impeccable, right off the boat fresh.

      2. Risky Business also is in Avon. http://riskybseafood.com/AboutUs.html
        If you are north of Oregon Inlet, try Austin's. www.austinfishcompany.com

        1. I frequent the Risky Business in Avon. And there's also one in Buxton/Frisco.

          1. My vote is for Sunset Beach, Bill's Seafood, they also have a restaurant connected to it. A woman came into my work this week and we started talkng about Sunset Beach, she was raving about his prepared she-crab soup.

            Most beaches you will not have any problem finding fresh seafood. You can even ask local people are there any road side people that sell fresh seafood. I bet even grocery stores would have fresh local caught fish.

            Sunset Beach is not built up, but you can drive to neighborhing towns for restaurants, Ocean Isle Beach, Calabash, Shallotte and SC borders it, so you can be in Myrtle Beach in 40 mins.

            1 Reply
            1. re: waitress

              Agree with Bill's seafood,Careful, most side of the road people are just middlemen, Most of the coast still has fishing boats, that's where the fresh stuff is.

            2. Well, the more I look at rental options, the more OBX is seeming to be the best bet for us.
              I did pop into Risky Business last year for a look (no kitchen that trip) and the selection looked great.

              Two years ago we stayed on Emerald Isle and were very happy with Capt. Willis. Brentk, agree about the tarter sauce!

              Waitress, Sunset Beach and surroundings are the one area of NC beaches I am not familiar with. So far my rental search is not really coming up with much there...I'll have to re-phrase and look harder!

              Comparing calendars it is looking as though early Oct. might work. Hopefully these markets are year round? I expect shorter hours being off season and can work around that!

              I appreciate all of the suggestions - it is nice posting to a group that gets why the fish market can be more important to some of us than the finer points of the beach!

              1. I would suggest Oak Island. Although the restaurant scene is lacking a bit, unless you like fried seafood, wonderful fresh fish can be found. The beach at Caswell Beach is very sparsely populated, esp the time of year you are considering. Long Beach is also very nice, but suffers a bit from the view of a long strand with lots of houses on pilings. At the end of Long beach is Kings Lynn which in addition to Caswell, offers a wonderful view of both the ocean, and the marsh/intercoastal.
                Southport is a wonderful old village that is a few minute drive from the island. Many movies have been filmed there and the marina has Potters Seafood where you can get fish straight off the boat. Tatums Seafood also unloads there, but I think now they have a retail store in a different location, on rte 87 which is off the main rd. (rte 211)
                Along the road to the island are two seafood stores; Clems and across the street Pelicans. Pelicans also offers seafood cooked to go to order. Clems usually has a good selection of local shrimp, clams, grouper, snapper, flounder and also sells seafood from larger food distributors.
                On Oak Island there is also Haag and Sons.
                There is also a road side area that offers wonderful shrimp (when it is available) that you can get with the head on. It is located on rte 211 which is the main rd between 17 and southport.
                Be aware however that weather is a large deciding factor on local seafood, as it seems a lot of boats will not go out unless the fishing is ideal due to fuel costs.
                There are also a few threads on Oak Island/Southport as far as restaurants.
                Oak Island is located south of Wilmington, about 50 min north of Myrtle Beach.
                Also consider Bald Head Island, but you need to ferry over, no cars allowed. Golf Carts only, but most rentals will include the golf cart. You will also be limited by the fresh seafood selection there I think. Bald Head is next to Oak Island.

                1 Reply
                1. Austin's has a store in Rodanthe and Risky is in Avon and Buxton, which covers OBX from Rodanthe to Buxton. Either is good, so it depends on where you go. I hear the Fishmarket is open in Ocracoke but haven't heard good or bad about it. It used to be fantastic.

                  1. We finally found a great rental on the sound in Avon - so Risky Business and probably a trip to Austins for good measure! I seem to remember hearing of a fishing coop in Ocracoke, but those discussing it were unsure if it was still operating...Does this ring a bell?

                    Thanks to all of you for the suggestions! Your recommendations led to quite a number of late night visits to holiday rental companies up & down the coast!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3

                      We have been to both Risky Business locations so far. With this being the off season they aren't filling all the cases - but what there has been has been fantastic. The fellow at the location in Hatteras indicated that they would probably close for the season at the end of the week...right now his hours were 3 -6 if I recall correctly, so call first if you come out this way!

                      1. re: meatn3

                        The Avon Risky Business has a sign up posting that they will close for the season at the end of October. Their hours are more extensive than Hatteras at this time.