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. Most have some form of family-friendly entertainment, as well. Want to make vacation mealtimes memorable for the food and ambiance, rather than monumental meltdowns? Then here are some helpful tips for dining with kids.
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. If so, you can always enjoy a mouthwatering midday meal at a great price.
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 tired and cranky – you’ll find Early Bird specials. Happy Hour deals and, often, live music or other family fun are earlier, too. Don’t worry, you can always move on to your next stop after having a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage.
Escape the frigid air-conditioning and white table cloths inside. Settle down at an outside table for a relaxed evening of people watching, catching up with friends and family. Often, restaurants offer live entertainment outside. Many Island eateries offer the opportunity to dine al fresco, overlooking waterfront vistas and unique Lowcountry landscapes. If you’re really lucky, a playground will be onsite. An added bonus of eating outdoors: You won’t have to worry about spills. Birds are attracted to the fallen crumbs, so you’ll also have a free animal show.
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. Look for lizards, alligators, birds, dolphins and other Lowcountry critters, or 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.
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. Or dine in your hotel room or on the deck at your rental home or villa. Relax, you’re on vacation!