October is National Seafood Month, and it’s best celebrated on Hilton Head Island. Why is that, you ask? Because the island treats every month like National Seafood Month, we have lots of practice—and really, really good seafood! If you happen to miss one of the many seafood festivals in the area during your time on Hilton Head, we’ve made an easy and to-the-point dining guide broken down by category. And you’ll notice, that there’s no category for “Best Food,” because all of the recommended restaurants serve up delicious fare. Click here for a full list of recommended restaurants!
To-Go & Quick Meals
Enjoying a Lowcountry Boil with your friends and family is not only a way to indulge in delicious, fresh seafood, but to experience a local custom that dates back hundreds of years. With Lowco on the Go, you can bring the iconic dish home–or in this case, to your resort. You won’t have to run all over town to collect the ingredients, either, just go about your day full of fun on Hilton Head, and start your boil whenever you want after it’s delivered to your door. Just remember to order 48 hours in advance!
Located on the south end of the island, you’ll find the Sea Shack tucked away off Pope Avenue, and away from the hustle and bustle of the Coligny area. Sit inside, outside, or take your order to go–but don’t go far, you’ll want to eat your meal hot and fresh! If you like your seafood fried, this is the place to go, but most items are able to be grilled or blackened if you prefer. You’ll find soft-shell crab, shrimp, clams, conch fritters, and more, along with soups, sandwiches, and even hamburgers for the picky eaters in the bunch. Sea Shack does offer a menu for the guppies (kids), and do yourself a favor and order a slice of key lime pie to go with your meal!
Found throughout the United States, fans of seafood will love Hook & Reel’s menu inspired by Cajun home cooking. If you’re big on seafood boils, you’ll be able to fully customize yours. The hardest part? Choosing between the long list of different catch and sauce options! For smaller groups, classic-style mini boils are available, along with other po’ boys, baskets, appetizers, and more. The soup and salad menu shouldn’t be ignored, with favorites like clam chowder and lobster bisque to warm you up, and crabmeat or shrimp salad to enjoy in warm weather. Hook & Reel has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere that’ll make it a fast favorite for your group!
Located in Broad Creek Marina, an area that tourists often miss since you don’t really find yourself there unless you have a reason to be. And in this case, the reason is for great food, a relaxing atmosphere, and amazing appetizers. Up the Creek is a smaller joint that comes with a large helping of local charm. With a deck that allows you to enjoy the island air and watch boats go by, you can even bring your pup as long as they are on a leash. Now let’s get down to business: the menu. Up the Creek features a large menu packed with delicious eats, but we love how many appetizers there are to choose from. Order a basket of conch fritters, crab cakes, fried oysters, or even a pair of fish tacos (and we’re talking various fish, here). The great thing about appetizers is that if you can’t decide on one, you can always order a few!
This gastronomic gem is located in Palmetto Bay Marina on the south end of the island and has a great view of Broad Creek and the Coligny Beach Bridge. Dine in the newly renovated interior, under the covered patio, or out in the open courtyard shared with the Hurricane Bar and Carolina Crab Co. (which is known for its great atmosphere and live music, but you’ll read about that soon!) The Black Marlin serves up a killer brunch, with benedicts including a variety of seafood and other protein options, as well as other favorites like shrimp and grits. To be in this category, this restaurant boasts a seriously impressive appetizer menu, and we can’t get enough of the Sushi Nachos, Mussels Mesina, Voodoo Shrimp…honestly, we’re obsessed with the entire list.
Built on the spot of the Broad Creek Oyster Factory, this restaurant has managed to keep an important part of the region’s history alive all while highlighting the Lowcountry landscape. Sitting atop the concrete walls of the original canary, the restaurant’s interior seems as though it’s been designed so that every table can glance out on the beautiful Broad Creek between bites. The deck below the main restaurant will allow you to dine in the fresh air while taking in the scenery. And if you’re wondering if you’ll be able to catch the sunset, this is one of the best places to see it!
149 Lighthouse Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Dine while looking out over the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, with the opportunity to walk around and explore the sites to see and the great shopping of Harbour Town. Purchasing a gate pass is required to enter Sea Pines property.
104 William Hilton Parkway
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Just before the first bridge off the island, The Crazy Crab Jarvis Creek offers unobstructed views of the surrounding waterways. This location has the island’s largest saltwater aquarium, a playground for the kiddos, and fun crab races during the summer!
11 Simmons Road
Hilton Head Island, SC, 29926
Known for having as delicious of a brunch as its lunch and dinner (basically, everything on the menu is delicious), this island institution offers gorgeous views of Broad Creek. This restaurant also has a great lineup of local live music.
1699 11th Street
Port Royal, SC, 29935
Calling all vacationers who love exploring the area surrounding Hilton Head, and, well, if you have a car. This scenic restaurant is located in Port Royal, about a 40-minute drive from the island. Sit on the patio and enjoy the food and scenery, you won’t be sorry!
Great Music & Atmosphere
1 N Forest Beach Drive
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Tucked inside the Coligny Plaza shopping center, and a short walk from the beautiful Coligny Beach, FISH Casual Coastal Seafood is great for groups big or small, as well as those with children. The open interior is fun and bright, while the large outdoor patio is perfect for enjoying the weather and top-notch live music.
The pickiest of eaters are sure to have a hard time deciding on what to order since Poseidon’s menu is large and covers a wide array of options. The restaurant is open and cheery inside, and the covered patio lets diners eat outdoors with a pretty view of the Shelter Cove Community Park and Broad Creek. You’ll find some of the best nightlife on the island above the restaurant at the Rooftop Bar.
The restaurant sharing the outdoor courtyard with The Black Marlin, the Carolina Crab Company is a great place to bring your group for fresh, delicious seafood and a great atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re among friends. With a friendly staff and many different areas to sit and enjoy your meal, you can catch a sports game, listen to live music, or just soak up the beautiful weather with your leashed pup right beside you.
Perfect for Celebrations
5 Lagoon Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
This seafood restaurant and bar is a great place to celebrate a special occasion. With great indoor and outdoor seating, a full menu that’s ideal for both seafood lovers and those who enjoy a good steak, and a mouthwatering list of decadent desserts to choose from, Rock Fish is always a good choice. You’ll also find a quality wine list, craft beer, and a collection of fun and tasty cocktails.
This locally owned and operated gem in Orleans Plaza on the south end of the island will be a great pick for celebrating a birthday, anniversary, and more. This upscale menu offers fresh seafood plates and many other appetizing choices that are set to exceed your expectations. The appetizer list alone is worth making a reservation for, but their collection of Local Favorite menu items may take the cake!