I love winter in South Carolina. The beaches are all your own. The weight of the August heat is long lifted . . .
My husband (born and raised in South Carolina) feels differently. On the first crisp Charleston fall day, he expressed his dread of the coming cooler weather and said, “The only good thing about winter in Charleston is oyster roast season.”
This girl, who grew up surviving the soul-crushing, eternal Minnesota winters, had a few thoughts on this subject. But I couldn’t deny that colder temps in the Lowcountry (really any month with an “r”) mean people gather joyfully in backyards, church parking lots, and open parks for the smell of salt and sea. We stand elbow-to-elbow with family, friends, and strangers to enjoy a traditional rite of passage: popping open the shells and slurping up the meat of oysters, often with hot sauce or horseradish.
There’s a special feeling that comes with the shared experience that is an oyster roast with your friends, old and new, and loved ones. Most love the salty taste of this delicacy. Not everyone can get past the look and feel of oysters to bring them to their lips, though, which is why many roasts offer other Lowcountry favorites (like BBQ).
Either way, the oyster roast is the quintessential winter gathering in Charleston. There are countless opportunities to gather with friends. Here are a few:
*Please note – While we make every effort to crosscheck current links and event details on our guides, we always encourage you to do the same before making final plans. If details are missing or incorrect, please let us know so that we can correct them.
Monthly Oyster Roasts
This once-a-month winter series is held at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina. It offers locally steamed oysters, live music, and a bloody mary bar.
Firefly Distillery offers all-you-can-eat oysters on select Sundays from November to March on their field adjacent to Noisette Creek. In addition to oysters, the day includes music and the option to purchase beer and selections from their bloody mary bar.
November 17th: This upscale roast offers oysters, whole hog barbeque, chili, hot dogs, and an open bar. Enjoy dining under the holiday light display and the live oaks of Cistern Yard, while listening to bluegrass music. This is a 21+ event.
- Sweetgrass Garden Oyster Roast – Johns Island
November 18th: Sweetgrass Gardens on Johns Island is a farm that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to food distribution charities for the Sea Islands. They will offer oysters, music, homemade soups, Lowtide beer, and a bonfire at sunset to raise money for their mission of addressing food insecurities for Sea Island communities.
November 24th: Tired of Thanksgiving leftovers? Enjoy live music and all-you-can-eat oysters at Holy City Brewing.
- Thanksgiving Oyster Roast and Barbeque at Mingo Point – Kiawah Island
Enjoy feasting on fresh oysters roasted over an open fire, BBQ specialties, and Lowcountry Boil, plus family fun and live music on the banks of the Kiawah River.
December 3rd: This event is one of the most popular Charleston area roasts. It features all-you-can-eat oysters, a chili bar, drinks, music, and an opportunity to explore the beautiful grounds of Drayton Hall.
December 3rd: Proceeds from this event benefit habitat restoration at McAlhany Nature Preserve. The event includes fresh, local oysters served waterside on beautiful Bowen’s Island, chili and hotdogs, and a silent auction.
- Tides New Year’s Day Oyster Roast – Folly Beach
January 1st: Tides Folly Beach Hotel offers an oyster roast on New Year’s Day, following a Bill Murray look-alike polar bear plunge. Take a chilly dip in the Atlantic and warm up with oysters and some other scrumptious Lowcountry offerings.
- Lowcountry Oyster Festival – Boone Hall
February 4th: The largest oyster roast in the world, this party has been hailed as a “top 20 event in the southeast” by the Southeastern Tourism Society. Held at Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens, guests can participate in oyster eating and shucking contests, enjoy live music, and purchase culinary delights from local Charleston restaurants.
- Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast and Lowcountry Cookout – Charleston Visitor Center
February 16th: Indulge in oysters and a classic Lowcountry cookout, featuring an open bar, music, raffles, and live and silent auctions. Admission also includes a 2024 membership to Ducks Unlimited.
Restaurants Offering Oyster Roasts
For a truly local experience, visit this ramshackle establishment on the banks of the Folly River. Bowens Island offers fresh-from-the-dock seafood Tuesday through Saturday. They are known for their fried seafood and they serve oysters every night in the “basement” of this Folly Beach icon.
When the weather cools on the Carolina coast, this Folly Beach biergarten and restaurant offers oyster roasts on select dates. The outdoor area is perfect for kiddos tired of shucking.
This eclectic restaurant offers delicious, fresh seafood and has a wonderful raw bar featuring both local and specialty oysters. They offer roasts on select dates in the fall and winter.