Pristine beaches, miles of biking paths, plenty of outdoor sporting activities, and friendly southern atmosphere attract families to vacation on Hilton Head Island year-round. The island also has a great dining scene, with a focus on fresh sustainable seafood and Lowcountry cuisine. You can find casual footwear-optional beachfront cafes, restaurants with live music, and lots of open-air patio dining with natural spaces that let the little ones spread out. If you are looking to have a night out with the family, or to grab a quick bite after a day at the beach, there is something to please the pickiest and most adventurous diners.
Here are some of the best family-friendly restaurants on Hilton Head Island serving everything from delectable French pastries to Lowcountry boils.
Skull Creek Boathouse
Skull Creek Boathouse and Dockside are sister restaurants located right on Skull Creek. Known for its fresh seafood dishes such as shrimp and grits and she-crab soup, the restaurant also serves sushi and Lowcountry boils. Favorites from The Little Shuckers menu include fried shrimp, a crispy ice cream sundae with a cherry on top, and Funky Monkey banana and pineapple drink. Kids can enjoy playing at the pirate ship playground and sprawl out on the green lawn. After dinner, families can gather around the fire pits and play life-size Jenga, cornhole, giant Connect Four, and more.
Hilton Head Social Bakery
Located at Shelter Cove Marina, across from Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, this cozy counter-serve outpost by chef Philippe Feret (formerly at Windows on the World in New York City) offers classic American baked goods with a French twist. Grab pain au chocolate or cinnamon pecan buns for breakfast to enjoy at the picnic benches overlooking the water. For an afternoon treat, Hilton Head Social Bakery serves sandwiches, quiches, cookies and pastries made from scratch daily. You can also bring your four-legged family members along for free biscuits, water, and outdoor leash hooks.
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
Hudson’s is a casual, family-owned-and-operated restaurant located on the water serving lunch and dinner, so you can watch fishing boats bring in fresh catch. While families may enjoy seeing the fishermen and a picture-perfect sunset, they will also relish the delicious, sustainably caught seafood and famous hushpuppies. Kids menus offer fried fish, shrimp, hamburgers, and corndogs. Make sure to ask your server about the Dinner on the Docks children’s book, a story of shrimp season on Hilton Head Island.
The Salty Dog Café
Located at the South Beach Marina Village in Sea Pines, The Salty Dog Café is a favorite among locals and visitors. There are kids’ events and activities such as Santa & S’mores, Christmas Village, happy hour cruises on a picnic boat, juggling, hula-hooping, and tie-dye. You can also win Salty Dog bandanas for your dogs, horses, or any other pets. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Salty Dog Café serves crab legs, pasta, and omelets, as well as a Little Treasure Hunters kids menu.
A Lowcountry Backyard
Laying claim to the best shrimp and grits in the Palmetto State, Lowcountry Backyard celebrates soul food and Gullah cooking. There are kid-friendly lunch and dinner menus, as well as family-style meal platters, so you can share traditional southern dishes such as fried green tomatoes, smoked sausage, and potato chip meatloaf. The whimsical backyard-like atmosphere is complete with swings, plants, fire pits, and plenty of outdoor seating for families to have a good time.
Fishcamp on Broad Creek
The southern-style cabin-like restaurant on beautiful Broad Creek is a great place to kick back and enjoy a taste of the Lowcountry. Grab a seat on the pet-friendly patio and watch the sunset on the waterfront. There are games and outdoor activities to keep the kids entertained, and live music for adults to enjoy. On the kids menu, you’ll find petite filet mignon, snow crab legs, and butter pasta, while the adults can indulge in a shellfish tower or peel-and-eat shrimp boil.
One Hot Mama’s
Part of South Carolina’s BBQ trail, One Hot Mama’s is a family-friendly restaurant serving chocolate BBQ baby back ribs, award-winning wings, and hickory smoked chicken, among other finger-licking choices. Kids can order small portions of Mama’s sliders, boneless wings, strawberry shortcake, and banana pudding. Hot Mama and Food Network star chef Orchid Paulmeier claims her meals on Hilton Head Island have become lasting holiday family traditions.