Whether you're fishing, skiing or just tooling around in your boat on the Santee Cooper lakes, working up a serious appetite is guaranteed. Boat-up restaurants dot the shorelines of Lakes Marion and Moultrie, also known as South Carolina's Great Lakes. There's plenty of good eating to be found across this 160,000-acre recreational and sportsmen paradise spanning multiple counties. Here are 11 restaurants where you can tie up and fuel up - your belly, that is - for the next leg of your lake adventure. Call ahead to confirm hours of operation as they might change seasonally.
This eatery is a tradition for locals and visitors to the Santee Cooper lakes. Outdoor and indoor bars draw boaters seeking a cold beverage and the eats are appealing, too. Choose from burgers, steaks, chicken, seafood and the house favorite, fried catfish.
Polly's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday for campers and visitors. Dinner specials run the gamut from fried pork chops, ribs and cube steak and gravy to crab legs and steaks on the grill. On any given day, sides might include mac-n-cheese, lima beans, cole slaw, baked beans and rice with hash among others. Try the wings with Polly's special seasoning for a satisfying munchie.
You'll find a mix of locals, boaters and golfers at this lakeside gem. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Fayz presents a classic menu with all your favorites. Think crusty, hot fried chicken, gooey patty melts, grilled shrimp, pasta dishes and more.
Boat up to Bell's for US wild-caught seafood, Angus beef, homemade desserts and a heap of Southern hospitality. Seven days a week, they serve a full breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. The Sunday buffet is popular, so head out early if you want to beat the crowd.
Sundays on Lake Marion have a special perk - it's the only day you can dine at Three Moons on the Cove. Line up at the buffet beginning at 11 a.m. The eatery closes at 4 p.m., so plan accordingly and arrive at Lake Marion Resort Marina in enough time to fill a plate. There's usually a vast array of offerings that might include fried and baked chicken, carved-to-order beef, smothered pork chops and more. Seasonal fresh veggies are all the buzz. There's a brunch menu, too, and sometimes live music for your dining enjoyment.
This no-frills fish camp is beloved by locals and boasts a loyal clientele of boaters and fisherman who come back year after year. The laid-back vibe is just what you'll be ready for when you tie up on the dock. Fresh, fried catfish and homemade pies are on the most-wanted list in this humble establishment. Dive in.
If you're feeling rather ravenous, navigate your way to Mill Creek for the weekend all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. You'll find all your favorites there: scrambled eggs, hash browns, grits, pancakes, bacon, sausage and rib-sticking biscuits and gravy. For later tummy rumblings, there's juicy burgers, steaks and, of course, catfish from local waters. They do a brisk bar business, too. If you aren't captain of your vessel, order up a cold one or two.
When hunger strikes, dock at this eatery just about any time you like as it's open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chargrilled steaks and tasty seafood platters are the specialties of the house, so come good and hungry.
Angel's serves a full, made to order, hot breakfast daily and lunch until 2 p.m. If you're a morning fisherman, take a break here and fill up before your second go-round. For lunch, try Angus burgers fresh off the grill, chicken sandwiches and salads.
This hopping locale, just off the Tail Race Canal issuing from the southern point of Lake Moultrie, serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, and dinner Thursday and Friday, oftentimes with live music. The kitchen turns out the obligatory fried catfish, but don't miss the spicy catfish stew when available. A sampling of specials includes grilled steaks, crab legs, hot dogs, fried pork chops, barbecued chicken - the owners aim to please, so dock with confidence.
This old-school fish camp caters to the fishing crowd. Do a guided fishing trip here and have your prize catch cleaned, cooked and served up to you for the ultimate celebration of your remarkable angling skills. Or, just boat up and try their catfish stew or fried seafood plates - nothing fancy, but the eatin's good.