The Ultimate Shrimp Road Trip
From Murrells Inlet to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, these seafood dives serve the best shrimp.
“What would you recommend?” I ask Gloria, who’s tapping a pencil on the once-white laminate counter at Dave’s Carry-out in Charleston, South Carolina. She looks at me like I fell off the moon. “Shrimp,” she says. “Fried.” And jots my order on a scrap of paper though I never say a word.
Shrimp it is, at Dave’s and at most establishments along South Carolina’s State Highway 17 as it skims along this porous coast of land, marsh, tidal river, and ocean. Shrimp is to Lowcountry menus what Spanish moss is to live oaks—elemental, inextricable. No matter if they were hauled in by a trawler, by a cast-netter knee-deep in a creek, or by a late-night baiter whose johnboat lantern is just one twinkle in a constellation of fellow shrimpers out on the inky harbor. No matter, either, if those shrimp get fried, boiled, grilled, or browned in a whisper of bacon fat and then cradled in a heap of creamy grits. It’s all shrimp, all Lowcountry, all local.
Hilton Head Island
Watch the catch come in from a dockside table at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks while sampling the absolute freshest shrimp served every which way, including New Orleans–style barbecued beauties.
The recently renovated Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island offers beachfront access and family-friendly amenities, from pools and tennis to bike rentals. Rates start at $199.
Best Time to Go
By the end of summer, spring’s juvenile shrimp have matured to plump delights, and the tourists have thinned out. Bonus: Lowcountry sunsets are glorious in the fall.