I’ve visited Hilton Head for my entire life at least once a year.
It’s the same, simple, undistracted vacation each time: unwinding, bike riding, beaching, eating, swimming, laughing, hanging, shopping, antiquing. It’s just a beautiful, non-flashy destination to truly relax and connect with family.
In my baby days, sand was my dining option of choice. As I’ve gotten older and explored all of the restaurants around Hilton Head, I’ve developed a few that we return to again and again.
We always stay in our Hilton Head villa, which is perfect for families – and available for rent!
Our Favorite Hilton Head restaurants
Where to get donuts in Hilton Head
For the best donuts, ever
Duck Donuts is like the Cold Stone Creamery of the donut genre. This is a fun dessert-for-breakfast spot to visit while on vacation. Each crispy hot cake-style donut order is made-to-order with glazes. Glazes include chocolate, maple, or just a drizzle of a vanilla. Toppings options are nuts, coconut, sprinkles, BACON. Then, you can add a coating – sugar, cinnamon, powdered sugar. The combinations are endless. We ordered a few custom donuts and then dealer’s choices for the rest of our box. All were insanely delicious. Order My favorite was the cinnamon and sugar coated donut with or without the vanilla glaze. Eat immediately, while it’s warm.
Head to It’s Greek to Me for Lunch
For the best Greek you’ll ever try
When I visit HHI, I head directly to It’s Greek to Me my first open lunch spot. Order I never stray from my first order: the appetizer spread which includes your choice of dips. I always order the feisty feta spread, hummus, and tzaziki, sometimes the eggplant as an add-on. The appetizer platter includes fresh cucumbers, hefty slices of feta cheese, bright red tomatoes, and kalamata olives.
Chow Down at Chow Daddy’s
for Farm-to-Table Fare in Hilton Head Island
Chow Daddy’s sounds like a meat-and-three diner-type establishment, so we were surprised to find a hipster atmosphere and farm-to-table menu. Two thumbs up for an eclectic menu accompanied by a normal chicken finger + french fries menu so our child had something familiar to eat. Order the ice cream sandwiches, which we had cut in quarters to share. Don’t be like us. Splitting is not a smart decision.
One of the best hilton head island restaurants for wine
The best wine list + a wine shop!
Red Fish is our go-to wine shop and fine dining restaurant on the Island for a glass of wine or a bottle to go. For wine lovers, the retail wine shop in the bar area is on point in both selection and price point, and we always find a great bottle (or three) to buy. The coolest part? If you’re dining, you can grab a bottle and pay a $10 corkage fee – which is a fantastic deal. Order anything, it’s all delicious.
Hudson’s on the Water is one of the best seafood restaurants in Hilton Head
For fresh-off-the-boat seafood fried, grilled, or broiled, head to Hudson’s on the Water. When we drove up to Hudson’s for lunch, the “Overflow Parking” sign was both a sign we had made the best choice and a tiny cause for concern that we would have a long wait. It would have been worth a long wait, but thankfully with two kids in tow, we were seated right away and served quickly. Exceptional food, unbeatable setting on the water. You can sit inside, saddle up next to the bar, or hang out on the deck by the water. We plan to go back without kids to sit on the deck for beers. Order try the hush puppies, even if you’re on a diet.
Hudson’s on the Water Photo Gallery
Old Oyster Factory
LOVE this spot for fresh seafood, hush puppies, a great wine list, and family-friendly atmosphere! The water views are spectacular.
Check out Old Oyster Factory
For the best ice cream in the Lowcountry
I’ve gone to Hilton Head Ice Cream for decades. Literally. Four decades. Order ice cream, obviously. Cinnamon ice cream is my go-to because you cannot get it anyplace else, but all of the homemade ice creams are worth the bike ride.
For live music & beer on the water
Visit Salty Dog Cafè for more than the t-shirt: an outdoor grill with great food (not extensive, or gourmet, but quick and quality) and a fantastic beer list + live music with the water as a backdrop. Plus you can be legit when you wear the Salty Dog t-shirt because you’ve been there.
Make Reservations at Poseidon in Shelter Cove
Hands down, Poseidon in Shelter Cove is one of the coolest restaurants in Hilton Head. You’ll need reservations. You can’t make reservations for the rooftop – which has the prettiest view – but you can request it when you arrive. Excellent seafood, great wine list, fantastic service, and pretty views. This is an excellent pick for a night out in Hilton Head!
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More recommendations for fun things to do in Hilton Head:
- Where we stay: a Happy Hilton Head Villa
- We loved the Dolphin Seafari Cruise with our kids
- A week of fun things to do in Hilton Head
- Go kayaking! Kayak Hilton Head has plenty of fun options
- Go to the Salty Dog Cafe in Sea Pines for a fun night with your family
- Spend a day strolling and shopping in downtown Bluffton, about 20 minutes away