June 4, 2023

    The Top Dock & Dine Restaurants in The Wilmington Area


    The Top Dock & Dine Restaurants in The Wilmington Area

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    Looking to grab a meal while you’re out on the water? If you are arriving by boat there are a number of amazing restaurants and bars to hop to across the Wilmington area that offer dock and dine experiences.

    Many of the waterfront restaurants in Wilmington have docks or slips where boaters can park their vessels while they enjoy a meal. Dock & dining is one of the things that that makes a weekend boating out on the water special in this area.

    Whether you are downtown on the river front, in Southport or in Wrightsville Beach, its easy to find restaurants and bars in coastal North Carolina that are accessible for boaters. These dock & dine restaurants offer live music and entertainment and some of the best local seafood and cocktails.

    1. Dockside

    The Dockside Restaurant has been a Wrightsville Beach institution for more than 30 years. The Dockside Restaurant serves great local seafood and fare in a casual, ocean front, casual, relaxed, setting. Boaters can dock and dine at Dockside and there are a number of public boat slips available.

    The best days dock & dine at Dockside Restaurant are week days, if you plan to tie up for a frothy beverage or a meal on the weekends, be prepared you could be waiting for a while to tie up your vessel.

    2. Bluewater Grill

    The Bluewater Waterfront Grill is a local seafood restaurant located just over the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge, situated along the Intracoastal. The Bluewater Grill has a spectacular waterfront patio facing the area’s largest sport fishing boats, so restaurant patrons can relax and enjoy fresh seafood and casual American brunch while watching boats cruise by.

    The Bluewater Grill provides boaters the ability to dock & dine with a number of boat slips available as a first come, first serve basis.

    3. Bridge Tender Restaurant

    The Bridge Tender is a local steak and seafood restaurant in Wrightsville Beach that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway right near the drawbridge. The Bridge Tender features a number of fresh fish dishes and coastal steak and meat favorites, along with deserts. The restaurant also offers a community dock for boaters that want to dock and dine.

    4. South Beach Grill

    At the South Beach Grill you’ll find local fare as well as your traditional burger. The venue has both indoor and outdoor patio seating. To get a table at the restaurant make a reservation. If you are arriving by boat, use the Wynn Plaza public boat docks in Wrightsville Beach.

    5. Provision Company

    The Provision Company of Southport is a local institution. The restaurant overlooks the Old Yacht Basin in downtown Southport and offers unobstructed views of the Intracoastal Waterway. The restaurant serves local seafood, including ice-cold beer, peel-and-eat shrimp, hamburgers and hot dogs.

    Provision Company offers both indoor and outdoor seating. For dinners arriving by boat, the restaurant has its own public dock.

    6. Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant

    Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant is a favorite of boaters in the summer and offers a full dock and dine experience, with local live music, delicious seafood including southern homestyle dining. Some favorites from the menu include shrimp burgers, local sea bass, tomato pie, hush puppies and more. The restaurant sits on an old lumber bill and turpentine distiller from the 19th century.

    The restaurant has outdoor and indoor seating, reservations are recommended but not required. Dock space can be limited in the summer months, so boaters are recommended to plan ahead.

    7. Saltwater Grill

    The Saltwater Grill in Swansboro is a waterfront restaurant with its own dock for boaters looking to dock and dine. The Saltwater Grill serves all your local seafood favorites including fried shrimp and oysters. Diners will find both indoor and outdoor seating, including cool air conditioning for those summer months. 

    Boaters dining at The Saltwater Grill will find public dock space available right in front of the restaurant making it an easy experience to tie off have a meal and a drink and then we be on your way.

    8. Moonrakers

    Moonrakers is river front dinning defined. Located on the Beaufort waterfront, Moonrakers offers boaters and shore lovers a culinary and entertainment hangout, complete with a dock and dine experience. The restaurant boasts inside, outside seating, including a rooftop bar with views of the islands that make up the Rachel Carson Reserve across the creek.

    Moonrakers is known for a variety from frozen drinks including tequila cocktails and of course your favorite beer. When it comes to the menu, the restaurant serves a wide selection of seafood dishes, including shrimp, oysters, sandwiches, burgers, salads and more.

    9. Sears Landing

    Built on the site of an old pirate trading post, Sears Landing is a water front restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant accommodates boaters arriving from the Intracoastal Waterway, with lots of slips for boater to tie up.

    Eat lunch or dinner with a cold beverage on their the indoor or outdoor deck with views of the waterway. Sears Landing is known for peel-and-eat shrimp, dipped in Sears Landing’s house-made, horseradish-heavy cocktail sauce. Diners will also enjoy fresh caught local fish, crab cakes, southern breakfast, a fully stocked bar and more.

    10. Dock House Seafood & More

    Dock House Seafood & More is the perfect destination for boaters and seafood lovers alike. With a location right on the Intracoastal Waterway near Holden Beach, the restaurant offers a complete dock and dine experience that’s accessible to just about any boater. Dock House Seafood & More provides slips to boaters dining at the establishment.

    The restaurant is known for Calabash-style seafood and southern favorites like their famous Mac-n-Cheeseburger and chicken and waffles. You will also find fried local shrimp, oysters and fish.

    11. The Sailfish

    The Sailfish at Marsh Creek Marine is a restaurant and bar located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway near Porter’s Neck, offering a dock and dine experience for boaters looking to crab a bite and take a break from being out on the water. The Sailfish delivers two different dinning experiences, a lower bar for boaters and an upstairs restaurant for more serious dining.

    The restaurant offers local seafood, steak, burgers cocktails and more, served either on the outdoor lower or upper patio or inside at the upstairs restaurant. Boaters can tie up their boats at the slips provided by the marina and the restaurant.

    12. The George on the Riverwalk

    The George on the Riverwalk is riverfront classic restaurant offering traditional southern cuisine, including fresh local seafood, steaks, pasta, chicken & salads and a full bar in a relaxing dining experience. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and provides a complete dock & dine experience for boaters arriving on the river and complimentary off-street parking for those arriving by land.

    13. Smoke on the Water

    Smoke on the Water is a restaurant, bar and entertainment venue serving American fare along the Cape Fear River. Smoke on the Water is located in the Marina Village development in River Lights. Come by boat for a dock & dine experience complete with craft beers, cocktails, fried seafood, burgers, salads, steaks and more.

    Smoke on the Water is fantastic venue for lunch, dinner or an afternoon drink gazing out at the river listening to live music from local bands. For diners coming by car, the restaurant provides ample parking on the street.