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5 Seafood Dives Along the SC Coast

Some of the best restaurants are our seafood dives along the SC Coast. A good ol’ hole in the wall may not be on your GPS but if you follow your instincts and the aromas, you’ll find one. A seafood dive is often a hidden gem, a modest establishment where what and who you will see matters as much as the food.  It’s easy to fall in love with these no frills out the of way eateries and once you’ve been there, you are smitten forever.

T.W. Graham – McClellanville

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They have great crab balls! Here you will find fresh-off-the-boat seafood served with a hefty side of Southern hospitality.  It’s a Lowcountry seafood institution.

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Shrimp remain the most popular seafood staple in America and South Carolina has an abundance.  The ACE Basin, the coastline between Charleston and Beaufort yields approximately 4.6 million pounds of shrimp every year, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Lee’s Inlet Kitchen, Murrell’s Inlet

Murrell’s Inlet is known as the seafood capital of South Carolina, and Lee’s Inlet Kitchen is an absolute local treasure brimming with seafood. With over 74 years in business, they must be doing something right and they remain a true SC icon.


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Their creek shrimp are small, succulent, and served Calabash-style, lightly battered and deep fried.  They are always accompanied by the ever-popular side dish – hushpuppies fried to a golden brown and served with local honey.

Crab Shack – Folly Beach, Charleston

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Head over to Folly Beach for steamed shrimp, crab legs, oysters, and corn on the cob served in tin buckets on a dog-friendly porch.


Bowen’s Island Seafood – Charleston

Traveling north on Hwy. 17 on the way to Folly Beach near Charleston sits Bowen’s Island Restaurant, a gritty fish camp over 75 years old on a thirteen-acre hammock that holds the promise of steaming oysters and cold beers in a space that can only be described as shanty chic.  Fish comes in fresh from the waters off the dock, wood porches overlook piles of discarded oyster shells, and brilliant sunsets light the sky against the endless swaths of golden marsh grass.

They’ve been serving Charleston since 1946!

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These are just a few of the Seafood Dives along the SC Coast and are some of my favorites – they never disappoint.

Bowens is unique among them for its own Lowcountry seafood experience.  Whether you’re a first-time guest or a long-time regular, they aim to serve you simple but excellent seafood. Perhaps it is most famous for its locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, hushpuppies, Frogmore stew, cold beer, and its undisturbed view of the river, marshes, islands, and wildlife.

To the uninitiated, the oyster joint on Bowen’s Island is a curiosity of sorts – an aging pile of cinder blocks and boards held up by layers of graffiti, with bivalves cooked inside on their sacrificial altar.  To legions of loyal customers, the place can hardly be called a restaurant.  The island has become a state of mind.

Sea Shack – Hilton Head Island

Often thought of by locals as Hilton Head’s best-hidden seafood secret since 1998 – this is the ultimate locals’ place for great tasting seafood at a reasonable price. Three outdoor picnic tables are available – “Not fancy, just good!” å vast variety of seafood includes fried, grilled, or blackened dishes and catch-of-the-day specials.

They are famous for their Sweet Potato Cornbread. Delicious with a platter of fried seafood!

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Fried seafood platter at the Sea Shack – oh my!

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During peak summer months, diners arriving before the 5 pm opening often stand in line for up to 30 minutes.  But if you ask any one of they if it’s worth the wait – the answer is always a loud YES!

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