Dining with Kids

Posted on July 06, 2011

Adults want a delicious, relaxing meal and kids just want to have fun. With hundreds of restaurants catering to every taste and budget, nearly all of the Island’s eateries offer children’s menus, as well as some form of family-friendly entertainment. Make vacation mealtimes memorable for the food and ambiance – rather than monumental meltdowns – with some helpful tips for dining with kids.

Plan Ahead

A little planning goes a long way, if you have your heart set on dining at a specific restaurant. Decide where you want to eat long before it’s time to leave and call ahead to see if reservations are accepted. To avoid crowds and long lines, check to see if any special events are taking place in the area that evening. Remember, many restaurants offer similar lunch and dinner menus, so you can always enjoy a mouthwatering midday meal at a great price.

Arrive Early

After spending hours on the beach, in the water or biking around the Island, it’s time for dinner. If you head out early – before everyone is REALLY tired and cranky – you’ll find Early Bird specials, Happy Hour deals and, often, live music or other family fun. Don’t worry, you can always move on to your next stop after having a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage.

Sit Outside

Escape the frigid air-conditioning and white table cloths inside and settle down at an outside table for a relaxed evening of people watching, catching up with friends and family and, often, live entertainment. Many Island eateries offer the opportunity to dine al fresco overlooking spectacular waterfront vistas, unique Lowcountry landscapes and, if you’re really lucky, a playground. An added bonus of eating outdoors: You won’t have to worry about spills and birds are attracted to the fallen crumbs, so you’ll also have a free animal show.

Provide Distractions

What might seem like a reasonable wait for an adult can be an unbearable eternity for a hungry child. Pack some portable snacks, a few small toys and accept crayons, if offered. If there is a wait, spend some time outside exploring the immediate area looking for lizards, alligators, birds, dolphins and other Lowcountry critters – unless there is an aquarium or lobster tank inside. Please keep in mind, small toys make excellent projectiles and crayons will melt if left in a hot car.

Order Take-Out

When all else fails, it’s time to place an order to go. Call your favorite restaurant and enjoy a meal at a local park, the beach, a playground, in your hotel room or on the deck at your rental home or villa. Relax, you’re on vacation!