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.
For most 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 the Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival in October, and the Jekyll Island’s Shrimp and Grits festival and Richmond Hill’s Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, both recently moved to November.
Several smaller events are also put on each year, including seafood and oyster festivals at Hilton Head Island, and shrimp and crab festivals in Beaufort and Port Royal.
– Savannah’s biggest annual festivals
– Other food festivals in Georgia
– More things to do in Savannah
– Savannah’s must-see sights
!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.
2023 event TBC
Various downtown Savannah, GA locations
This week-long festival, attended by several thousand people each year, celebrates lowcountry cuisine through several events at downtown Savannh venues. Events can include a progressive dinner, chef demonstrations, music, seafood and spirits samples, and seafood and cocktail contests.
2023 event TBC
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.
October 7-8 2022
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 14-16 2022
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.
October 15-24 2022
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 4-6 2022
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 11-12 2022
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.
More Things To Do In Coastal Georgia & South Carolina
– State parks and wildlife refuges
– Boat charters and rentals from St Simons Island
– Jekyll Island history and nature tours
– Kayaking near Tybee Island
– Sapelo Island tours
– Little Tybee Island
– Things to do in Brunswick, GA
– Things to do in St Marys, GA
– Things to do in Midway, GA
– Things to do in St Simons Island
– Hilton Head Island, SC dolphin tours