Explore the best Shem Creek restaurants, bars, shopping, and attractions with our evolving guide.
<Updated frequently, check back often! >
At the top of must-see places around Charleston is a quaint area known as Shem Creek. Don’t be fooled by the word creek — Shem Creek is actually a broad, inviting estuary where active shrimpers, fun-loving boaters, and seafood seeking locals congregate. This charming section of Mount Pleasant draws outdoor enthusiasts to its flanking boardwalks for a mecca of dining and outdoor activity. A favorite place with the locals to wind down, Shem Creek’s westward facing view promises Instagram worthy sunsets too.
Dive into a platter of fresh fried flounder, sample local brew, rent a kayak or paddleboard, cast a line off the fishing dock, try your hand at crabbing, meander the nature boardwalks, or hop aboard a charter cruise for sweeping Charleston harbor views. Kids love watching shrimp boats haul off fresh catch, especially with the pelicans and occasional dolphins lingering for scraps.
Ready to learn about Shem Creek’s dining and activities, plus a few great places to stay? Many are located along the creek (indicated with an asterisk) and others within easy walking distance or a quick drive along Coleman Boulevard. Here’s our complete guide:
Arts Bar & Grill
Art’s Bar & Grill close to the Creek, is THE place for oyster roast lovers in Charleston. When oysters are in season, head over on a weekend for a special Carolina treat, their infamous Oyster Roast. Served hot off the roaster and brought to your table in metal buckets, you’ll be hard pressed to find more authentic flavor. There are plenty of other seafood favorites on the menu of this laid-back spot; we recommend the delicately fried shrimp basket while others rave about the lump crab cake platter and fried flounder sandwich.
Coastal Crust offers an elevated family-friendly atmosphere reinforced by their community-driven values. Sourcing local ingredients for their renowned wood-fired pizza (using daily hand rolled dough, Neapolitan never tasted so good), to Charleston area brews, the family owned eatery also operates the adjacent Coastal Crust Creamery for ice cream delights — served from a fun airstream trailer — and the Vintage Coffee Cafe (see listing below.)
NICO Oysters + Seafood
For a taste of France a skip away from the creek, NICO is the place to go. This fun, exciting French oyster bar features wood-fired seafood and some of Charleston’s best craft cocktails. Try local or New England oysters as an appetizer, and then opt for French dishes like Bouillabaisse de Marseille or Duck Cassoulet. An extensive wine list makes for excellent pairings too.
Page’s Okra Grill
This lively Southern-style restaurant just off the Creek, Page’s Okra Grill boasts one of the more famous dishes in Charleston — Ashleigh’s Signature Shrimp and Grits — and a colorful menu of local favorites like made with love meatloaf, fried chicken, or chicken and waffles. Brunch is a big hit where the bloody mary with pickled okra, lemon, and bacon is a top beverage choice.
Grab a seat at this exquisite bar and restaurant in Mt. Pleasant’s Old Village for some of the best cocktails in town. Try the classic 007 Vesper martini or a French 75 with cognac and lemon. For dinner, the Post House never disappoints; go for the crispy Brussels sprouts, Anson Mills hushpuppies, and East Coast oysters.
Red’s Ice House
* Stop by Red’s Ice House for a cold beer, great food, and a supreme vantage point to take in the Charleston sunsets. This rollicking waterfront bar and restaurant includes seafood favorites like Red’s rockin’ crab dip and “killer” shrimp, along with special weekday happy hour specials.
* Located a stone’s throw from the water, Saltwater Cowboys is a good-time joint offering seafood, barbecue, drinks, and an hour or two of happiness. Sounds good to us! The house-smoked barbecue (including pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket) is the restaurant’s specialty. Pair the barbecue with one of their signature creek cocktails. For one of the area’s best sunset perches, head early to the upper level deck, grab a seat and enjoy the magical views.
Shem Creek Crabhouse
* The Shem Creek location of this well known Charleston-area seafood chain is a local favorite. Situated on the quieter side of the creek, Shem Creek Crabhouse offers indoor and outdoor waterside dining. Crabs rule of course — crab cakes, crab dip, carb stuffed mushrooms — but their seafood based menu entices other choices. Try a steam pot like the Lowcountry Shrimp Boil or Crab House Crab Pot with smoked sausage, potatoes, and corn covered in garlic butter. (IN OUR OYSTERS ARTICLE)
Tavern & Table
* The elegant Tavern & Table celebrates Charleston’s food and beauty while delivering a reliable fine dining experience. Carefully tended with casual hospitality the restaurant features both indoor and waterfront bars for gathering with family and friends. Try the pan-seared scallops or roasted golden tilefish with one of the many local beers on draft.
The Pickled Plate
One of Charleston’s more charming and must find spots off the Creek, this wonderful out-of-the-way cafe is an adorable place to dine and relax. Start with the she-crab soup, then help yourself to one of the Pickled Palate’s signature panini sandwiches; try the pastrami, pimento cheese, or egg salad.
One of the coolest restaurants in the Shem Creek area, The Shelter is a cozy and colorful place with fantastic Karaoke and frequent live music. Indulge in Lowcountry traditions like boiled peanuts or spicey hush puppies. Go for the gusto with their Bowl of Bog southern classic featuring seasoned rice bowl with pulled chicken and smoked sausage. Check out weekend (and Monday) brunch featuring sunrise tacos with sausage and bacon or the Brunch Bog with eggs and potatoes.
* Eat like a star, where the creek meets the river. Famous from Outer Banks, The Wreck restaurant (officially The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene) is an authentic Lowcountry gem of a joint with one of the best fried seafood platters around; diners also rave over their scallops, fried green tomatoes, and fried Jalepeño grits. Top it off with their sensational Key Lime Pie or Banana Pudding for dessert.
Vintage Coffee Cafe
The little white cottage adjacent to Coastal Crust and the Coastal Crust Creamery (see listing above) piques interest for it’s quaint charm, but the real treats await inside. Seven days a week Vintage Coffee Cafe offers locally sourced breakfast & lunch dishes alongside a variety of teas and coffees. Freshly made salads and sandwiches complement house made marmalade, cider donuts, açai bowls, and more.
Vickery’s Bar & Grill
* Featuring nature’s nightly sky blazing show, Vickery’s Bar & Grill is one of the best Shem Creek locations to view the setting sun. Ideal for a date night or quiet dinner with friends, the rustic and charming restaurant boasts seafood favorites like peel and eat shrimp, shrimp and grits, and blackened grouper. Muddy’s Bar at Vickery’s is always a lively good time for after dinner entertainment.
* One of the top waterfront restaurants along the banks of Shem Creek, Water’s Edge is an upscale seafood place with a top-notch wine menu. Dine on such southern classics as She-Crab soup topped with Sherry; crispy fried flounder served with cheddar grits and collars; or a Lowcountry crab cake BLT with horseradish aioli. Happy hour draws a local and lively after-work crowd to the lower level creekside bar.
Seafood Retailers: When ya wanna cook your own.
Whether you’re looking for locally caught flounder, a couple pounds of shrimp to boil, peel n eat, or hoping to score seasonal soft shell crabs, these purveyors offer some of the freshest catch you can get.
* Husband and wife team Mark and Kerry have fishing and the ocean in their blood. The son of a commercial fisherman, Mark started his own fishing business right out of high school. A native of Maine, Kerry is a fishery biologist. The couple are committed to industry sustainability and living the mantra, the fish in the ocean are a shared resource. Fresh catch is available at their berth along The Geechie Dock, and in their Park Circle store, Abundant Seafood.
* Another famous Outer Banks location, this charming Geechie Seafood is a must-go for any shrimp lover. Founding owner Bubba Rector has no relation to Bubba Gump shrimp, but he’s as passionate and committed as Forest and Lt. Dan. Since his early determined days straight out of high school, through the loss of several boats, Bubba simply says, “I have to shrimp.” And so he does. A variety of other seafood comes and goes, but shrimp is the mainstay.
Mt. Pleasant Seafood
* In business for over 75 years, Mt. Pleasant Seafood is one of the oldest fresh seafood traditions in Charleston. Their extensive selection ranges from grouper to oysters and everything in between. Can’t decide? You won’t go wrong with their fun ready-to-go shrimp boil kit!
* Taylor and Cindy Tarvin opened Tarvin Seafood in 2011 in support of their son Vasa’s love of the industry. His passion developed at a young age while crewing aboard shrimp boats and continued every summer until he had his own helm. Today Vasa is a formidable shaping force in the sustainable seafood movement. Tarvin also affectionately known as Miss Paula Shrimp, named after their cherished boat, the Miss Paula. Call ahead orders are welcome.
Tours & Rentals
Aqua Safaris / Palmetto Breeze
* One of the best choices for an aquatic adventure is on Aqua Safaris’ Palmetto Breeze catamaran. Whether private or group charter, there’s no better way to take in Charleston harbor. Don’t miss the amazing sunsets — if you’re lucky, you’ll catch glimpses of the creek’s resident frolicking dolphins. For more active charters, try your luck casting away to fish the Atlantic.
Cruisin Tikis Charleston
* Small groups looking for fun and adventure will have a hard time resisting the slogan, “Why go bar hopping when you can hop a bar?” Charter a private 1-4 hour tiki cruise for up to 6 guests; bring your own bottle and snacks. Popular Cruisin Tikis Charleston charters include Charleston Harbor, Sunset and our favorite, Toes in the Sand — cruise to an uninhabited island where you’re free to swim, walk the shores or simply sit and watch the world go by.
* If you’re looking for a top rated, locally owned and operated kayak and SUP rental and guided tour source, you found it with Nature Adventures. First timer? Trained guides provide lessons at your pace. Stay close on the creek for an afternoon, or choose overnight expeditions to many of the Lowcountry’s waterways including the Heritage Preserve, Capers Island, and where Nature Conservancy says is “One of the last great places on Earth, Penny Creek — a blackwater swamp in the ACE Basin. Multi-day rentals with delivery available.
Shem Creek Bar Tour
* Take a rollicking trek dockside with the Shem Creek Bar Tour. This fun jaunt through Shem Creek visits handpicked bars/restaurants and includes complimentary appetizers along with helpful insights and knowledge from licensed guide — and 7th generation Charlestonian — Captain Bryan. Not just for cocktailing and noshing, there’s plenty of creek history and local lore too.
Shem Creek Park
* Take some time out in nature to enjoy some amazing views of the creek and the marsh in Shem Creek Park before indulging in the creek’s restaurants and bars. Long boardwalks and short trails are the trademark that make for easy strolling. Spy scampering fiddler crabs at low tide, listen to the reeds rustle in the breeze, bird watch the skies and marsh, see local fishermen cast and catch, or perch on a bench while the kids count the boats going by. Convenient public restroom and parking at the trail head.
Pitt Street Bridge
One of the standout attractions in Mt. Pleasant is the Old Village Historic District and its encompassing Pitt Street Bridge. A former planked foot path for soldiers (secretly dive testing the HL Hunley submarine), and later a trolley and vehicular bridge to Sullivan’s Island, all that remains of the once connected bridge are support pilings, seen from the end of a long greenway and pier. The low marsh area — formerly known as Pickett Bridge Recreation Area, in memory of the Old Village’s doctor of 40 years, Dr. Pickett — offers expansive Charleston harbor and surrounding inland views. Walk, (or run, if you’d like to get some miles in), fish, or sit on one of the benches to enjoy the spectacular vistas. Don’t be surprised to see an engagement proposal happening, it’s a favorite romantic spot with the locals. Limited parking; dog friendly.
Shem Creek Inn
For accommodations, the Shem Creek Inn is the only true waterside option. Combining it’s array of room choices, amenities and laid-back vibe, makes it an ideal base for exploring the Lowcountry. Each room is fully equipped with perks: in-room microwaves and refrigerators, a complimentary continental breakfast, and free parking. The outdoor pool is a welcome respite after a day of touring. For an unforgettable experience, inquire about overnighting on the inn’s 55’ private yacht.
This cozy, welcoming spot in the Old Village exudes infectious small town flavor. Featuring seven recently renovated rooms, Post House Inn guests are treated to true southern hospitality and one of the most relaxing neighborhood inns around. The adjoining Post House restaurant doesn’t disappoint with its fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and contemporary American cuisine.
A variety of retail stores make for vacation shopping fun, before or after your creekside adventures. Located close to Shem Creek and the quaint, must-visit Old Village of Mt Pleasant, eclectic boutiques offer everything from home decor and apparel to wine and sporting goods.
shopping details coming soon
Charleston’s “Outer Banks”
Staking its claim to television fame, Shem Creek makes visitors feel like they’re part of a growing cult phenomenon for all things “Outer Banks.” If you haven’t seen it on Netflix, you’ve likely heard the buzz. Though the cast is portrayed as living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, much of the filming is done right along Shem Creek and nearby beach islands.
You’ll recognize “The Wreck” restaurant when you pop into “The Wreck of the Richard and Charlene.” That’s its official name, so called in homage to “The Richard and Charlene,” a derelict trawler twisted and terrorized by 1989’s hurricane Hugo. Today’s eatery sits on the same site where the trawler was eventually removed by salvagers.
Stop into “The Wreck” for some Lowcountry-style seafood and iced tea — served in plastic cups for a bit of laid back charm — and check out the beautiful Playboy shrimp boat (also famous from the show) often found docked along the creek. If you’re looking for some more Outer Banks sightseeing, the supposed “Kildare County Sheriff’s Station” is a condo building at 281 Venning Street in Mount Pleasant.