Seafood festivals are a big part of the lowcountry’s annual events calendar, with several popular events hosted in Savannah and the nearby sea islands of the Georgia and lower South Carolina coasts through the year.
These food festivals, centered around shrimp, oysters, crab or seafood generally, can attract thousands – even tens of thousands – of visitors and are often one of the highlights of the community’s festival schedule. Most of them are held in the fall through winter months, when the local seafood is at its best.
The biggest seafood festival in Savannah itself is the Pin Point Seafood Festival, hosted each September in the Pin Point community, historically associated with the city’s seafood industry.
For more major annual seafood festivals, you will have to travel outside of the city, but there is plenty on offer within an hour or so of Savannah. The most popular festivals include Jekyll Island’s Shrimp and Grits festival, usually in September, and the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival and Richmond Hill’s Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, both usually in October.
Several smaller events are also put on each year, including seafood and oyster festivals at Hilton Head Island, Savannah’s Seafood Fest, and shrimp and crab festivals in Beaufort and Port Royal.
!If you plan to attend any of these festivals, please always check the latest dates, venue and other details before planning your travel. Festivals may be moved to different dates, or may in the case of severe inclement weather be cancelled altogether.
November 14 2020
Admission TBD, food tickets purchased separately
9992 Pin Point Avenue, Savannah, GA
This annual community festival is popular with locals and tourists alike, attracting several thousand attendees each year. Located in the historic community of Pin Point, the event features live music, seafood and soul food, with much of the food prepared according to recipes handed down through generations of Pin Point residents.
If you are interested to learn more about Pin Point’s historical association with the local seafood industry, you can also visit the nearby Pin Point Heritage Museum, which explores the history of the community and its former oyster canning factory (which now houses the museum).
February 24 - March 1 2020
Prices for individual events vary. Advance general admission from $10.
Various Hilton Head Island venues.
This winter seafood festival is attended by several thousand people each year, attracting both locals and tourists to Hilton Head for its week-long duration.
The annual festival is a fundraiser for several local museums and other charities, with events including seafood prepared by local chefs and restaurants, an arts and crafts fair, children’s activities and live music.
April 18 2020
Free admission, food purchased separately
Paris Avenue, Port Royal, SC
This annual one-day festival is centered around the brief soft-shell crab season, attended by several thousand people each year. The event offers crab-centric dishes and other food, live music, children’s activities, arts and crafts, crab race and other family-friendly activities.
October 2-3 2020
Free admission, food tickets purchased separately
Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park, Beaufort, SC
This two-day shrimp festival, hosted in downtown Beaufort’s Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park, attracts thousands of attendees each year. It is a fun, family-oriented festival featuring shrimp cooked by local restaurants, live entertainment, competitions and children’s activities and an arts and crafts fair.
If you feel like it, you can also take part in the weekend’s Run Forrest Run 5K Run/Walk (or the Popcorn Shrimp Run for kids) over a course passing several filming locations for the movie Forrest Gump. A prize is offered for the best Forrest Gump costume. Registration is required to run.
October 17-25 2020
Payment is required for some events and activities, prices vary
Downtown Bluffton, SC and other Bluffton locations
This festival is Bluffton’s biggest annual event, combining art, history, seafood and outdoors activities and attracting tens of thousands of people to the historic South Carolina city.
The Arts & Seafood Festival runs for more than a week, but the most popular time to attend is for the Streetfest over its second weekend, which offers a juried art show, local seafood and live music, plus a children’s fishing tournament, fireworks display and other family-friendly activities.
Other events during the week are intended to showcase the best of Bluffton and the local area, and include kayak and paddleboard tours of the May River, boat tours, historic home tours, an oyster roast, 10K and 5K runs, street art contest, and a blessing of the fleet. You’ll need to buy a ticket to participate in many of these extra activities.
November 6-8 2020
Single day tickets $5-$25
JF Gregory Park, 521 Cedar Street, Richmond Hill, GA
The Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, hosted annually in the small city of Richmond Hill, just south of Savannah, is one of the largest seafood festivals in the southeast, attracting tens of thousands of attendees from far and wide over its three-day run.
The focus of the festival is officially the seafood, but its carnival rides, live music, arts and crafts and other activities are also a draw. There is also a wide range of snacks, carnival foods, desserts and other dishes available for people who don’t eat seafood.
November 6-8 2020
Admission to the festival is free (island-wide parking charge applies), food purchased separately
National Landmark Historic District, Jekyll Island, GA
The three-day Shrimp & Grits Festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Jekyll Island from across Georgia and beyond. The festival offers a series of events over the long weekend, spread out over the island’s 32-acre Historic District.
The highlight of the festival is the seafood, with shrimp and grits prepared by local restaurants competing to produce the best dish, plus other seafood dishes and southern-style food.
Other events at the festival include an (adults-only) craft brew fest, arts and crafts fair and show, children’s activities, and wildlife and home and lifestyle demonstrations. Live music plays throughout the festival on three separate stages.
November 13-14 2020
Admission $7, children 10 and under free, food tickets purchased separately; all-you-can-eat party $35 per person
Shelter Cove Community Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC
Several thousand people attend Hilton Head’s annual oyster festival, which features steamed, stewed and fried oysters alongside other seafood and non-seafood dishes.
The festival opens with an all-you-can eat oyster party, with live music and entertainment. The next day features more oysters and food stalls, live entertainment, arts and crafts, a football lounge and other family-friendly fun.