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The Atlantic Blue Crab–Crabbing Tours, Recommended Restaurants & More

This guide gives you the inside scoop on everything about Blue Crab on Hilton Head Island. Find out more about this colorful crustacean and where you can find them--either for crabbing or on a plate!

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During your time on Hilton Head Island, you’re sure to encounter a wide variety of wildlife. From birds soaring above the towering sea pines and oaks, to alligators resting in ponds of all sizes, one of the reasons why Hilton Head is such a special place to visit is its natural beauty and commitment to protecting its native ecosystems. It might go without saying, but marine life is an especially important piece of not only the region’s physical environment but from cultural and economic standpoints as well. What would the Lowcountry be without its shrimp, oysters, and crabs? 

Hilton Head is home to many species of crab, all with important roles to play. Walk along a boardwalk above marshes filled with pluff mud and spartina grass, and you’ll find dozens of Fiddler Crabs scuttling about, busy at work. As they burrow into the mud, these tiny crustaceans construct tunnels that help get oxygen to the grasses within the marsh, keeping them healthy. And what about the mysterious Ghost Crabs that explore the island’s beaches at night? A healthy population of these critters indicates the health of the entire beach.

One type of crab found in Hilton Head whose importance goes beyond ensuring the ecosystem goes round and directly affects the local economy, is the Blue Crab. The Atlantic Blue Crab (also called the Chesapeake Blue Crab) can be found in the tidal waters surrounding the island, but also are native to the waters in the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. 

With a scientific name (Callinectes sapidus) that directly translates to, “savory beautiful swimmer,” it’s not hard to guess what part they play when it comes to the restaurant and fishing industries!

A tasty seafood staple that tourists always seek out, blue crab meat is sweet and delicious on its own–cooked of course–but you’ll find that each restaurant has their take on iconic dishes like she-crab soup, crab cakes, and even crab boils. Blue crab is also on the menu year-round, which is a plus!

Here are a few eateries on Hilton Head Island that offer mouthwatering menu items featuring crab:

Poseidon

38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 121,

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

  • Hot Blue Crab Dip
  • Crab Cake
  • She Crab Soup
  • Crab Stuffed Shrimp

See Menu

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill

86 Helmsman Way, #103

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

  • Crab Benedict
  • Crab Florentine Omelet
  • Crab Cake Sandwich
  • Bayside Seafood Roll

See Menu

Old Oyster Factory

101 Marshland Rd,

Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

  • Seafood Omelette
  • Oysters Savannah
  • Lowcountry Blue Crab Cakes
  • Crab and Artichoke Dip

See Menu

Frankie Bones

1301 Main St.

Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

  • Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Pecan Crusted Crab Cake
  • Cod Savannah
  • Crab Stuffed Shrimp Scampi

See Menu

Carolina Crab Company

86 Helmsman Way,

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

  • Baked Crab Dip
  • Crab Cake
  • She Crab Soup
  • Crab and Lobster-Stuffed Flounder

See Menu

Nick’s Steak & Seafood

9 Park Lane,

Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

  • Shrimp and Crab Dip
  • Deviled Crab-Stuffed Flounder
  • Seafood Pasta Medley
  • “Savannah Style” Seafood Dishes

See Menu

Crabbing Expeditions & Tours

Harbour Town Crabbing Expedition

Vagabond Cruise

March-May; 2-Hours Long

The crew of the Tammy Jane invites you to cruise along and learn more about the crabbing, fishing, and shrimping industries on HHI. Guests of all ages can learn how to bait a crab pot and release any crabs you find!

Blue Crab Discovery Tour

Coastal Discovery Museum

April & May; 2-Hours Long

Learn all about the Blue Crab with this hands-on learning experience that will allow your family to experience the harvesting and cooking of the Blue Crab. Each tour includes a delicious taste of Blue Crab meat!


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