I’ll never forget the first time we took my oldest son out to a restaurant. We were new parents treading new waters…and we were nervous. We chose to have brunch at our favorite spot, and after I had thoroughly disinfected the entire table top and high chair (because that’s what first-time new mothers do), installed all the ‘gear’ (high chair cover, travel fold-out suction placemat, etc.), we opened our menus and ordered up Bloody Mary’s (pronto).
Ten minutes later, our son had emptied the salt and pepper shakers, spilled a glass of water, ate a lemon wedge and squeezed the jelly containers all over the table. We looked at each other in silent agreement…we would never go out to eat again. We would be banished to delivery and fast food if we wanted to eat ‘out’ with our kids.
Looking back, I think we were a little too up-tight about the whole dining-out-with-kids experience. We noticed every squeal and spill, but no one else seemed to mind (and we did tip our waitress handsomely). We did venture out again with our son, and we’ve made baby steps. (We’ve conquered Fiesta Fresh and Street Meet without driving out all their patrons.) All parents of little ones know this dilemma: To dine out or not to dine out. That is the question.
On Hilton Head Island, you can feel at home at a number of our family friendly restaurants. When the weather is nice (which is basically all the time), you can dine outside. No worries if your kids spill something or want to get up and wander around. In fact, several of our Island eateries provide entertainment for your kids before and after you eat.
One of the best known family friendly restaurants on the Island is The Salty Dog Cafe. Serving families since 1987, The Salty Dog is located at South Beach Marina in The Sea Pines Resort. You’ve probably seen the iconic Salty Dog T-Shirt in all parts of the country—in fact, my boss hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro a few years ago and her African guide was wearing a Salty Dog T-shirt. How’s that for world-famous?! There’s even a famous ‘tail’ to be told of the legend of The Salty Dog.
You can dine waterfront inside The Salty Dog in Captain John’s Galley, or dine outside on the deck overlooking the water. The Salty Dog serves up a delicious menu of seafood fare, from shrimp to crab legs, from fish & chips to shrimp & grits. If you have a hankering for Lowcountry cuisine, you can find it here. And, the kids menu is a homerun with all the favorites. The best part of The Salty Dog for those with kids is the outdoor entertainment during the peak season.
It’s always a party at The Salty Dog when the sun goes down. Live music from Dave Kimmerly or Bruce Chricton will have you singing along, and the children’s entertainment and activities will keep your little ones smiling from ear to ear. There are clowns, magicians, music and more! Plus, Jake the Salty Dog makes appearances for family photo ops. (Wouldn’t that make a cute Christmas card?) And a visit to The Salty Dog (or Hilton Head Island for that matter) is never complete without the purchase of your very own Salty Dog T-shirt. See you at The Salty Dog!