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Calabash, North Carolina facts for kids

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Calabash, North Carolina
"Seafood Capital of the World"
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Brunswick
 • Total 4.74 sq mi (12.28 km2)
 • Land 4.40 sq mi (11.40 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)
49 ft (15 m)
 • Total 1,786
 • Estimate 
 • Density 515.79/sq mi (199.16/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-09540
GNIS feature ID 1019469

Calabash is a small fishing town in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,786 at the 2010 census, up from 711 at the 2000 census. It prides itself as the "Seafood Capital of the World" because of the town's "Calabash-Style" seafood restaurants.

Calabash is part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area.


Calabash is located in southwest Brunswick County at 33°53′33″N 78°34′0″W / 33.89250°N 78.56667°W / 33.89250; -78.56667 (33.892619, -78.566547). Its southwest border is the South Carolina state line. It is bordered to the northwest by the town of Carolina Shores, and the town of Sunset Beach is to the east. The tidal Calabash River flows through the southern part of the town, leading southwest to the Little River in South Carolina, 3 miles (5 km) upstream from that river's mouth at Little River Inlet on the Atlantic Ocean.

The main road through the town is North Carolina Highway 179 (Beach Drive), leading west to U.S. Route 17 in South Carolina and east by a winding route 15 miles (24 km) to Shallotte.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town of Calabash has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km2), of which 3.3 square miles (8.6 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 9.27%, is water.


Calabash was named after the gourds that grew in the region, which were used for drinking well water. Since the 1930s, Calabash has been known for its distinctive style of fried seafood, which has come to be known as "Calabash Style" Calabash style buffets are common in many eastern Carolina coastal towns. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is home to a large number of these restaurants as the city is just 25 miles (40 km) from Calabash.

In 1998 a large portion of the town of Calabash split to form the town of Carolina Shores. The split came as the result of years of bickering over "sewer, garbage collection and sign restrictions". The town limits of Carolina Shores currently interlock with those of Calabash.

The present Town Hall is located at 882 Persimmon Road SW. The town's emergency services serve the communities of Calabash, Sunset Beach, and Carolina Shores.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1980 128
1990 1,210 845.3%
2000 711 −41.2%
2010 1,786 151.2%
2019 (est.) 2,270 27.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 711 people, 377 households, and 232 families residing in the town. The population density was 501.5 people per square mile (193.3/km2). There were 508 housing units at an average density of 358.3 per square mile (138.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.25% White, 3.66% African American, 0.14% Asian, 2.25% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.66% of the population.

There were 377 households, out of which 11.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-traditional families (needs definition). 34.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.89 and the average family size was 2.32.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 9.7% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 19.4% from 25 to 44, 29.7% from 45 to 64, and 36.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 58 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,946, and the median income for a family was $38,403. Males had a median income of $27,202 versus $25,368 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,975. About 5.4% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 1.3% of those age 65 or over.

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