We travel to enjoy beautiful vistas and landscapes. We travel to eat at the best restaurants across the South. But these Southern restaurants offer the best of both—fantastic menus and unbeatable nature.
Whether you’re visiting the Ozark mountains, leaf-peeping in Virginia, or road-tripping through the Gulf states, it’s easy to find a water view and great dining. We compiled some of the best, most famous, or favorites below.
But to find more lakeside restaurants, start with a search on your state’s parks site. This sampling of waterside restaurants gets you started toward waterfront dining and viewing.
Always call ahead to check on operating hours–the weather, nature, seasons and staffing may mean waterfront restaurants are closed or operating on different hours.
295 Kowaliga Marina Rd.
Alexander City, AL 35010
"Family dining with a view" is Kowaliga Restaurant’s tagline, and they don’t disappoint. This Alabama gem features catfish tacos, Conecuh sausage , catfish po’boy, an Alabama shrimp platter, and fried mac and cheese all served up alongside a root beer float and a view of the river.
Lakeshore Inn Restaurant and Marina
364 E Lakeshore Dr.
Double Springs, AL 35553
Smith Lake is known as one of the country’s cleanest lakes, making lakeside dining a special treat. Combined with the Lakeshore Inn Restaurant menu, dining lakeside is extra special, from steak to catfish and pasta.
Top O' The River
7004 Val Monte Dr.
Guntersville, AL 35976
Guntersville is home to Top O’The River, which boasts Lake Guntersville views. The restaurant may be small but is large on views and food like the “Catfish Exceptionale”, creole boiled shrimp, crawfish tails, the Riverboat Special, or a ribeye steak. Top off dinner and a view with macadamia nut cheesecake.
Coastal Kitchen and Raw Bar
102 Marina Dr,
Saint Simons Island, GA 31522
Golden views of the Golden Isle are matched only by chef and owner Archie Prince’s menu, which includes fresh caught fish, soy glazed calamari, dirty oysters, and lobster omelets. Yummy desserts and sunsets close out the meal.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant
8055 Aska Road
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Lake views in the Southern states are as American as apple pie and the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant’s menu. From fresh fish to steaks, salads and sides, this perennial favorite has it all. Plus, your furry friends can dine on the Pooch Patio and River Rest areas.
Boat Dock Grill and Bar, Lake Blue Ridge Marina
335 Marina Drive
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
"Dog friendly as long as your dog is friendly.” This spot offers up stunning views of Lake Blue Ridge, appetizers, bar food, entrees, and cold brews all served up lakeside.
Riverfront Pizza & Sports Bar
617 W 3rd Street #2
Pizza and a view? Check out Riverfront Pizza for a great view, pizza pie, and brew. This "family restaurant where everything is made-to-order" is family-owned and-operated. Nature takes care of the view!
Waterfront Grille and Gathering
220 Athens Boonesboro Road
When the leaves drop, Waterfront Grille and Gathering showcases waterfront views alongside pizzas, steaks, quesadillas, fries, seafood, and signature cocktails. Check out their waterfront “salt block” grilling and game-themed menus.
Cunningham’s Creekside Grill
6301 River Road
The Creekside Grill does exactly that with fish fingers, oysters, and seafood sandwiches. Boatside dining? Pull up to the dock or eat on the covered patio creekside. Want to order in your boat? Cunningham’s can make that happen, too.
5700 Captains Quarters Road
Check out Captain’s Quarters on the Ohio River with this long-time favorite riverside restaurant where you can enjoy menu items like steak, a fish sandwich, or pizza complemented by a riverside sunset. Choose indoor dining, dockside service, or enjoy the breathtaking patio views.
Guthrie's River House
6075 South Hwy 27
The dock offers a breathtaking view of Lake Cumberland sunsets and sea bass entrees. Seafood orders are always delicious, from the shrimp griller to the varieties of fish. The crusted potato cakes are an excellent side to pair up with almost any fish dish, as they have a light, flaky crust and not an overpowering flavor.
Selena’s at Willow Lake Tavern
10609 La Grange Rd
Louisville, KY 40223, USA
Selena’s at Willow Lake Tavern in Louisville features indoor and outdoor seating and water views. Billed as serving “a delicious fusion of Creole and Sicilian cuisine and New Orleans style fun,” the restaurant features something for everyone like chicken and waffles, a Creole Bloody Mary’s, praline brie, crawfish, and shrimp etouffée.
The Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar
7900 Lakeshore Dr.,
New Orleans, LA 70124
Overlooking Lake Pontchartrain, this locally-owned and-operated restaurant is one of the best places to go when you’re in the mood for seafood. Try oysters by lakeside sunset and, take in some live music with the waterfront views.
Regatta Seafood and Steakhouse
508 Hawkeye Ave.
Lake Arthur, LA 70549
From seafood to steaks to kabuki shrimp, diners enjoy a broad menu at this family-friendly restaurant overlooking lovely Lake Arthur. This eatery in the heart of Cajun Country is a great dining option after a day on the water.
Rips on the Lake
1917 Lakeshore Dr.,
Mandeville, LA 70448
Nestled in Old Mandeville on the Mandeville Lakefront, Rips has been delighting locals for almost 80 years. Enjoy a fantastic meal outside underneath the ceiling fans while admiring the beauty of Lake Pontchartrain.
Ruffino’s on the River
921 Camellia Blvd.,
Lafayette, LA 70508
Ruffino’s asks diners to “come celebrate life with us.” Established in 2013, Ruffino’s has a constantly evolving menu to do just that—celebrate their food and views of the Vermillion River. Menu options include wood-fired pizza, signature pastas, crabmeat cheesecake, and cedar plank-baked redfish.
100 Lafayette St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Overlooking the Mississippi River, this Baton Rouge treasure features incomparable river views and sushi. Stop for the sushi and stay for the views.
Warehouse No. 1
1 Olive St.
Monroe, LA 71201
Since 1980, Warehouse No. 1 in historic downtown Monroe has served a comprehensive menu overlooking the Ouachita River. Located in historic downtown Monroe, Warehouse No. 1 overlooks the picturesque Ouachita River and memorable views. From sandwiches to pastas, there’s a dining option for everyone.
652 Bellevue Dr.,
The Mermaid Cafe sits at the juncture of the Mary Walker Bayou and Pascagoula River. Accessible by car or boat, the unique cafe features burgers, steaks, and seafood and is nestled on the shores of Lake Caroline.
Pelican Cove Grill
3999 Harborwalk Dr.
Located on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, the Pelican Cove Grill features waterfront views and a fun atmosphere. Come to dine on tasty food options, and stay to listen to live music and look at Pelican Cove views.
The Oceanic at the Crystal Pier
703 S. Lumina Avenue
Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
Southern waterfront spots vary but are always memorable. Tables at The Oceanic are no different; face the ocean inside or dine on the outdoor pier. The menu features options like fresh stuffed flounder, shrimp and grits, little neck clams, Sunday brunch, and mojitos.
Miller's Waterfront Restaurant
MP 16, Hwy 158
Nag’s Head, NC
Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant has been a perennial favorite since 1982. The name says it all: Miller’s is waterfront AND restaurant. And they offer water views and sunsets, fried green tomatoes, seafood, fish tacos, crab, and more, Miller’s offers Southern comfort dining for everyone.
Inlet View Bar and Grille
1800 Village Pointe Rd SW
Sunsets in Shallotte are extra special at the Inlet View Bar and Grille with views of Shallotte River. It offers panoramic views accompanied by local seafood and live music.
The Lake House
5321 Dingle Pond Road
Summerton, SC 29148
With memorable views of Lake Marion, The Lake House is a hidden gem where you can sit back, sip a cold beverage, enjoy the view, and eat a meal in a restaurant with the feel of a lake cabin. With indoor and outdoor seating, The Lake House offers fresh and saltwater seafood, American favorites, and Cajun specialities.
1629 Marina Road
Anderson, SC, 29625
Seafood, steak, pasta, and views of Lake Hartwell are a perfect combination at the Galley in Anderson. Take in a sunset and enjoyable dining experience at this favorite for locals and tourists with an appetite for lakeside dining.
601 South Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
Say bonjour to dining at Passerelle Bistro on the Reedy River's bank. Passerelle translates to "footbridge," and this charming eatery is a bridge to delightful dining and waterfall watching. Enjoy a glass of wine or brunch, chef-prepared classics like French onion soup, mussels, creme brûlée, or macarons. Dining and conversation flow inside or on the patio overlooking the falls.
Amis Mills Eatery
127 Bear Hollow Road
At the Amis Mills Eatery, stunning views are the backdrop for Southern favorites like pulled pork, okra, macaroni and cheese, and crawfish étouffée. Located at the historic Thomas Amis Estate, the restaurant overlooks a stone dam and waterfall.
Rudder at Anchor High Marina
126 River Road
Plan a trip to the Rudder at Anchor High Marina in Hendersonville. Billed as “Hendersonville’s #1 Live Music Event Venue”, this American eatery serves up a tiki bar, live music, creative drinks, and waterside views, all in a relaxed atmosphere.
Steve's Landing Waterfront Grill
1143 Poling Circle
Soddy Daisy, TN
Steve’s Landing has been beloved by locals since it opened in 1996, and has made a name for itself with a casual, family-friendly space and the best catfish in the city. You can park your car—or your boat—and enjoy an evening with friends and family and the grill's land and water menu options.
Peaks of Otter’s Lake View Restaurant
85554 Blue Ridge Pkwy
Bedford, VA 24523
Take a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to find Peaks of Otter’s Lake View Restaurant with its stunning views of Abbott Lake, all atop Sharp Top Mountain. The menu ingredients are as fresh as the water views—in-season and handcrafted.
415 S. Church Street
Smithfield Station is renowned for an extensive menu of fresh seafood, Smithfield ham, and their ever popular Sunday Breakfast Buffet.
Lakeview Restaurant at Douthat State Park
14239 Douthat State Park Road
Some lake views are fleeting; the award-winning and historic Lakeview Restaurant at Douthat State Park is only open seasonally, mainly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It’s definitely worth a visit to its glass-enclosed porch and deck for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Ocean View Fishing Pier Restaurant
400 Ocean View Avenue
Go fishing and then fish for local cuisine and water views at the Ocean View Fishing Pier Restaurant. Dine on the longest fishing pier in North America on menu items like always-fresh seafood (fried, steamed, grilled) hand-cut fries and crab artichoke dip all while taking in panoramic views and a cold beverage.
Damascus Old Mill Restaurant & Inn
215 West Imboden Street
Damascus, VA, 24236
Scenic views and supper—the Damascus Old Mill Restaurant has both! While the waterfall is actually a weir (a low-level dam), diners still enjoy watching the water and the craft beers flowing. This century-old lodge includes southern specialties focused around seasonal favorites from pizza to fried green tomatoes to craft beers.
Mallards at the Wharf
2 Market Street
Onancock, VA 23417
You can boat or drive to the historic Mallards at the Wharf, which is located at Onancock Creek’s head. From waterfront dining to two full bars, the service and food match the views at this landmark restaurant.
Smokehouse Restaurant at Blackwater Falls State Park
1584 Blackwater Lodge Road
Davis, WV, 26260
Just steps from Blackwater Falls in the Allegheny Mountains, the Smokehouse Restaurant has spectacular views of the 62-foot waterfall and food options like smoked ribs, brisket, spaghetti and meatballs, grilled pork chops, chicken pot pie, and pot roast.
40 Donley Street
If you count to 10 on your search for West Virginia waterfront restaurants, Table 9 needs to be on your list. Located on the banks of the Monongahela River, the relaxed spot features burgers and craft beer and river views.
Lakehouse Restaurant on Cheat Lake
165 Sunset Beach Road
Cheat Lake, WV
The Lakehouse Restaurant on Cheat Lake wants you to take time to relax and eat and enjoy the marina lake views. Offering a fun menu including pasta, pizza, desserts, mussels, margaritas, and marina lake views.