Going Local: Boathouse II

Probably one of the most often asked question we get is, “What’s a great ‘local’ restaurant?” That’s really a tough one to answer because we are blessed with so many great “local” hangouts. Actually, it isn’t tough – the tough part is keeping the list fairly short. One of our favorites (we’re all “locals”) is Boathouse II. It’s open for lunch and dinner (Sunday brunch, too) and it’s on the water, Skull Creek. There is a whole bucketful (of oysters?) reasons to dine there, but it can be a little tough to find. Of course, that makes it all the more interesting.

First directions. It’s on the north end of the island, off Squire Pope Road. Click here for a location map. You’ll see the big, long boathouse just as you approach the entrance. The parking is a little strange. It lines the boathouse and can be a bit crowded.

During the day it’s spectacular. You’re sitting outside (if you choose) and are watching all the action at Skull Creek Marina (your neighbor) and Shilling’s Boathouse. Commercial fisherman dock there and supply Boathouse II with very fresh catch. Basically, what the fishermen bring in is on the menu that night.

You MUST try the shrimp and grits. This is definitely Southern and may sound a little strange if the only grits you’ve every tasted (mushy) are from the little brown envelopes brought to you be the Quaker Oats folks. This, however, is the real thing. Stone ground grits to the chef’s precise specifications.

There are a zillion reasons to eat there. Boathouse II has probably the biggest seafood menu on the island. They are waterfront. They have nightly entertainment (LOCAL) that rocks. There’s Marker 13, the outside bar that serves fantastic drinks, and, of course, there’s the view. If there is a full moon, you will not want to leave. Ever. Caution: these “local” hangouts don’t stay secret for long. Depending on the night, expect a line. But not for long.

If you’ve experienced outdoor dining on Hilton Head Island in the summer, you know one big problem: insects. Not to fear at Boathouse II. The Lowrey Group, an island chain of high-end restaurants, which owns Boathouse II, installed a herbal mist system to keep the pests at bay. It doesn’t kill them. It just suggests to the insects they would probably want to be someplace else.Reasonable prices. Waterfront. Super entertainment. Great seafood.

Our suggestion: go for it.

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