If you find yourself in charming little Port Royal , try the waterfront seafood haven 11th Street Dockside (1699 11th St., 843/524-7433, daily 4:30–10 p.m., $17–27). The Dockside Dinner is a great sampler plate with lobster tail, scallops, crab legs, and shrimp. The views of the waterfront and the adjoining shrimp-boat docks are relaxing and beautiful.
For more upscale dining in Port Royal, try Bateaux (610 Paris Ave., 843/379-0777, www.bateauxrestaurant.net , Mon.–Sat. 5–9 p.m., $20–30). On Lady’s Island for many years, Bateaux has moved a few miles away to a new Port Royal location in the historic Customs House downtown. It’s highly regarded for its adventurous small-plate items such as foie gras and scallops, and its daring Lowcountry seafood creations such as the Bateaux seafood stew. Reservations are recommended.
A Lady’s Island hot spot is the very casual Steamer Oyster and Steak House (168 Sea Island Pkwy., 843/522-0210, daily 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., $15–20). The big hit here is the Frogmore stew, a.k.a. Lowcountry Boil .
For vegan/vegetarian soups, salads, and sandwiches on Lady’s Island, jump across the Beaufort River Bridge a short ways and try It’s Only Natural (45 Factory Creek Ct., 843/986-9595, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., $5). It’s visible right off the main road, the Sea Island Parkway (U.S. 21). They also offer a range of health food items and produce.
Right before you take a right to get to the Penn Center  on St. Helena Island is Gullah Grub (877 Sea Island Pkwy., 843/838-3841, Mon.–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m., under $20), an unpretentious, one-room lunch spot focusing on down-home Southern specialties with a Lowcountry touch, such as hushpuppies, collard greens, and shrimp-’n’-shark.