From Georgetown to North Myrtle Beach, the best places to eat along South Carolina's beautiful Grand Strand aren't always beachfront. In between sunbathing and swimming, make time to venture off the beaten path and discover some of the Palmetto State's culinary hidden gems.
Eat where the locals eat in the seaside town of Georgetown. At Big Tuna Restaurant & Raw Bar, enjoy fresh local clams, oysters and shrimp, the famous whole fried flounder, handpicked blue crab or a wide variety of seasonal beer selections. Sit on the waterfront and watch as the boats dock in the Sampit River, sip a cold one and enjoy some of the area's freshest seafood.
Just a couple blocks down sits Sweeties Homemade Ice Cream and Sweets, a local institution and home of the area's most famous pralines, toffees and chocolates. No matter what you're craving, the smiling faces of Sweeties are sure to have something to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Also in Georgetown, you'll find Between the Antlers. Situated on the former site of a federal wharf where George Washington once drank rum, this restaurant prides itself on a menu steeped in local flavor and culinary roots. Dishes like Wild Santee Perlau Fritters, Pee Dee Potato Salad, Waccamaw Wedge Salad, and Goat Island Flounder Rockefeller are not only delicious, but reflective of South Carolina's food culture.
If you're looking for fine dining in Pawleys Island with a casual atmosphere, Bistro 217 offers a menu that's both eclectic and full of upscale Southern dishes, including She-crab soup, fried green tomatoes with bleu cheese, local flounder with pepper jack cheese grits and a tasting of oyster varieties accompanied by cucumber wasabi mignonette.
Farther north in Murrell's Inlet, the Seafood Capital of South Carolina and home to a host of waterfront restaurants, you'll find Nance's Creek Front Restaurant featuring a waterfront dining experience right on the inlet and fresh local seafood. Patrons turn out in droves during oyster season for Nance's roasted local oysters - a true coastal treat.
A little ways inland, you'll find Rivertown Bistro, appropriately named as it is located in the historic rivertown of Conway. This restaurant serves up upscale American cuisine, specialty cocktails, fresh seafood, steaks, pastas and, of course, homemade desserts like Two Chocolate Whiskey Pie and sour cream pound cake.
Myrtle Beach's first authentic gastropub, Fire & Smoke features unique, sophisticated cuisine that emphasizes fresh, local ingredients, as well as "comfort food revisited": lobster cobbler, smoked chicken mac and cheese and buffalo meatloaf.
North Myrtle Beach is home to one of South Carolina's most award-winning restaurants, SeaBlue Restaurant and Wine Bar. In addition to receiving Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence from 2012 to 2018, this sophisticated tapas-style restaurant was named the No. 1 restaurant in America by Open Table Reviewers in 2014. Whether you fancy the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, Cocoa Chili Dusted Duck Breast or the chef's eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings, SeaBlue is sure to be a dining experience you won't soon forget.