One of my friends was visiting from another part of the country and wanted to go to a seafood restaurant one night.  Oh, I said, let me take you to my favorite fish camp in the area.  She had no idea what I meant by “fish camp”.  Here are 5 of the best fish camps in North Carolina according to Yelp.

Let’s get back to that question, “What is a fish camp”? It is different than seafood restaurants people in other parts of the country are used to.  Southern Living magazine describes fish camps this way:”The original fish camps date back to before World War II. They were little more than rudimentary waterside kitchens, either outdoors or in smaller spots along riverbanks or coastal sounds, where fishermen could cook what they caught. Some of the fishermen saw entrepreneurial opportunities and hired cooks to help out. Over time, these camps evolved into no-frills seafood restaurants, a few of which remain in business today. Some are in the same locations as the old camps, while others moved a little closer to town.”

And the origins of fish camps are closer than even I knew until I did some research.  This is what google has to say about the history of fish camps.” The earliest were established along the Catawba River in South and North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s and began as sheds where anglers could fry their fresh catches. And while most restaurants purchase their fish from seafood wholesalers and farms, fish camps continue to be found along waterways.”


Well, lets get to it, here are the top five fish camps, according to Yelp ( some are listed in Charlotte magazine).  Ironically the ones we are featuring are located right where it all began.




  • The Captain's Cap Belmont, North Carolina

    We like the one in Belmont but there are other locations for The Captain’s Cap.  I had a friend that would say “Let’s go eat food the same color”, and the fish is fried a golden brown.  Don’t forget the hushpuppies.  Here is what Charlotte Magazine had to say about the Captain’s Cap.The family packs are worth checking out, including the 20-piece Baby Flounder pack, the 16-piece Perch Filet pack, or two pounds of Calabash Shrimp.

  • Amber Jack Seafood and Steaks Gastonia, NC

    This is an iconic location in Gastonia.  Once Lineberger’s, people have been gathering in this spot for the ultimate fish camp experience.  And that candy counter is still there!  I will take one seafood platter please.

  • Catfish Cove Belmont, North Carolina

    Here is what Charlotte Magazine has to say about another one of Belmont’s iconic fish camps.

    Hours: Tues-Thurs, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fri, 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat, 3 p.m.-9:30 p.m., and Sun, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Closed Mon)
    What to try: The platter here gives you the full experience: shrimp, oysters, deviled crab, flounder fillet, perch, and catfish.


  • Long Creek Fish Fry Dallas, North Carolina

    This place has been here since the very beginning of fish camps.  And they are still there serving up delicious fish for dine in or carry out.  Here is what Charlotte Magazine had to say about this place, 1031 Lower Dallas Hwy., Dallas
    Opened in 1948
    Hours: Wed-Thurs, 1:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Fri, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat, 1:30 p.m.-9 p.m., and Sun, 12:30 p.m.-8 p.m. (Closed Mon-Tues)
    What to try: Be sure to try the croaker and the fantail shrimp from this one, the oldest on the list.

  • Twin Tops Fish Camp Gastonia, North Carolina

    I have got to get back here!  Here is what Charlotte Magazine says about one of several Gaston County original fish camps. 4574 S New Hope Rd., Gastonia
    Opened in 1968
    Hours: Tues-Thurs, 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Fri, 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; and Sat, 3 p.m.-9 p.m. (Closed Sun-Mon)
    What to try: The salt & pepper catfish is among the area’s best—and you better get that slaw on the side.

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