Best Restaurants on the Water in Charleston, SC

5 Best Restaurants on the Water in Charleston, SC to Get to By Boat

Written by Boatsetter Team
April 12, 2022

Last Updated on April 14, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

Charleston, South Carolina, is a fantastic destination offering visitors and residents many opportunities to explore the great outdoors, local history, nightlife, and local waterways. Charleston adventures can be anything you want them to be. You can explore the water by boat, go fishing, or dock the boat to explore a nearby plantation or park. In addition to the many things to do in the area, Charleston is home to many waterfront restaurants easily accessible by boat.

The restaurants in the area know how to treat their patrons. So dock your boat, enjoy a meal, experience southern hospitality at its finest, and take in the breathtaking views.

Here’s five of the best Charleston, SC restaurants on the water to get you started:

  1. Saltwater Cowboys
  2. Red’s Ice House
  3. Tavern & Table
  4. California Dreaming
  5. Charlestown Crab House
  6. Bowen’s Island Restaurant

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1. Saltwater Cowboys

Saltwater Cowboys Charleston

Nestled on Shem Creek is Saltwater Cowboys, a favorite restaurant among locals looking for a waterfront dining experience. When arriving by boat, enter the creek, and the restaurant is the first restaurant on the right. Patrons of this restaurant can enjoy everything from fantastic water views to locally sourced seafood and live music to a wonderful atmosphere. This restaurant is one of the area’s finest establishments, and from the moment you walk through the door, you will instantly understand why so many people love this place.

Saltwater Cowboys’ menu options include a full dining menu, drink menu, dog treat menu, and gazebo bar menu. Menus have something for everyone, including appetizers, burgers, tacos, salads, and sandwiches. Popular menu items include

  • Trash can nachos
  • Southern shrimp and grits
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Saltwater Caesar salad

2. Red’s Ice House

Red's Ice House

Dock your boat at Red’s Ice House and enjoy the fantastic views, beverages from the dockside bar, and mouthwatering menu items. Located on Shem Creek, this restaurant is one of the number one places to stop for a drink while spending the day boating in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Guests are treated like family and served the finest fresh local seafood in a laid-back environment. Sit out on the patio, where you may spot wildlife, scenic Charleston sunsets, and beautiful water views.

Red’s Ice House menu has everything from appetizers to salads and sandwiches to burgers. There is something for everyone on the menu, and you may have trouble determining what to eat first. This restaurant’s popular menu items include:

  • Hot buffalo chicken dip
  • Seafood queso
  • Lobster mac and cheese
  • Tuna poke bowl
  • Crab cake platters

3. Tavern & Table

Tavern & Table dynamite shrimp

Tavern & Table is a rustic yet refined restaurant with two bars, offering the perfect place for guests to enjoy appetizers, cocktails, and breathtaking sunset views in Charleston, SC. This restaurant is located on Shem Creek and is designed to be a local gathering place, but it is also loved by visitors and boaters passing through.

Menus available at Tavern & Table include dinner, lunch, Sunday brunch, and Sunday dinner. Popular menu items include: 

  • skillet cornbread
  • dynamite shrimp
  • mushroom flatbread
  • bison burger

Other menu favorites include steak fries, pork duo, and an ahi poke bowl.

4. California Dreaming

she-crab soup

California Dreaming is a popular restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, offering breathtaking views of the peninsula, harbor, and the Ashley River. The outdoor bar and patio make it easy to dock your boat and grab a bite to eat or enjoy happy hour. 

Menu options at California Dreaming include everything from starters to salads and fresh seafood to chicken wings. Popular menu items include: 

  • She-crab soup
  • Creamed spinach nachos
  • Marinated sirloin
  • Toasted salmon
  • Blackened chicken pasta. 

The desserts available at this restaurant include decadent chocolate brownies and the must-have apple walnut cobbler.

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5. Charleston Crab House

Charleston Crab House

Nestled on the Wappoo Cut between the harbor and the Stono River is the Charleston Crab House, a family-owned restaurant serving the community since 1991. This restaurant offers boaters opportunities to dock their boats and grab some fresh, locally sourced seafood and cocktails while enjoying views of the surrounding waterways. This restaurant is one of three Charleston area restaurants owned by the same family, with menu items including Crab-A-Tizers, soups, salads, and their World Famous! Steampots, southern fried specialties, sandwiches, and burgers.

Popular Crab-A-Tizers at the Charleston Crab House include:

  • Crab dip
  • Crispy calamari
  • BBQ shrimp and grits, and 
  • Fried green tomatoes

 Other popular menu items include ahi tuna stack, chilled raw oysters, and grilled oysters McClellanville.

6. Bowen’s Island Restaurant

Bowens Island Restaurant

Bowen’s Island Restaurant is a must-visit when boating in the Charleston area, offering an atmosphere that will make you feel at home. This restaurant serves mouthwatering, locally-sourced seafood, the freshest oysters in town, beef entrées, and decadent desserts. Many come for the fantastic food but stay for the breathtaking views of the sunsets.

Bowen’s Island Restaurant menus include appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, sandwiches, side items, and desserts. Popular menu items include:

  • The Frogmore Stew
  • Shrimp and grits 
  • Chicken tenders

If you plan on visiting the Charleston, South Carolina area and want to go out boating, Boatsetter has you covered. We offer a variety of boat rental options, helping you experience a unique on-the-water adventure. So whether you’re looking to go out on the water for a single day or plan to go island hopping for a week (or longer), we can help you plan the perfect boat trip.

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