Seafood is more than just a meal in South Carolina—it’s a way of life. From nets of shrimp hauled straight from the ocean to gem-like oysters hand harvested from the salt marshes, each ingredient nods to a longstanding heritage of gathering from the waters. The resulting recipes and culinary traditions tout a uniquely South Carolina sense of place.
Dreaming of your very own big fish story? Hop aboard a seaworthy vessel with a private charter by Voyager Deep Sea Fishing & Dolphin Cruises. Your experienced captain will take you to the coast’s best fishing spots, from nearby saltwater estuaries to the deep sea, where mahi mahi, blue marlin, black seabass, cobia, barracuda and king mackerel swim beneath the waves.
Take in the picturesque coastal scenery and bring home a bucket of blue crabs pulled from the tidal creeks around Hilton Head Island, Daufuskie Island and Bluffton when you go on a crabbing tour with May River Excursions. On this 1.5-hour family-friendly excursion, keep an eye out for dolphins swimming alongside the boat and seabirds soaring overhead.
Join the shrimping crew of the Tammy Jane as you trawl the waters off Hilton Head Island with a two-hour Sunset Shrimp Trawl by Vagabond Cruise. You’ll learn about the Lowcountry’s salt marshes and interwoven ecosystems, sort through the day’s catch and then take in views of the sunset.
Bright, briny and perfectly plump, fresh oysters are a delicacy best enjoyed on the coast. Barrier Island Oyster Co. in Charleston is known for its exceptional Sea Cloud oysters, grown entirely in floating cages—a restorative growing method that reduces demand on wild oyster reefs and slows marshland erosion. Savor a half-dozen of these freshly shucked beauties at Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop in Charleston.
Like a Local
Q&A with Alison Pierce, Dockhand
- What do you love about working for Barrier Island Oyster Co.? It is impossible to choose one thing, but you cannot beat the office view. Working outside on the water in the Lowcountry is medicine for the soul.
- How would you describe the flavor of Sea Clouds? Delicate with a briny forward and a metallic finish. A delicious, pillowy cloud in your mouth.
- Do you have any fun facts about oysters? An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. I would also love to share that oysters are nutritional powerhouses, so eat your oysters and support local farmers and purveyors!
Celebrate the bounty of the ocean with these annual feastivals along the coast.
Lowcountry Shrimp Festival
May 7, 2022
Feast on all things shrimp (everything from creamy chowder to boiled shrimp with sausage and corn) at this foodie fest in the rural fishing town of McClellanville.
World Famous Blue Crab Festival
May 14–15, 2022
This annual fest on the Historic Little River Waterfront boasts a bounty of freshly caught blue crab, as well as live music on the beach and handicrafts by local artisans on display.
Columbia Shrimp & Grits Fest
June 25, 2022
Columbia’s top restaurants test their mettle to see who will be awarded with the title of “best” shrimp and grits in town. Tickets include unlimited samples, plus music and prizes.
Hilton Head Oyster Festival
November 11–12, 2022
Freshly shucked oysters may be the draw at this Hilton Head Island event, but the food lineup also includes seafood chowder, chili, pulled pork and more.