By now, the word’s out that the stunning backdrop for the Netflix series Outer Banks is indeed, well…not actually filmed in the real Outer Banks of North Carolina. The hit show is filmed in and around Charleston, South Carolina. OK. Whatevs.
One of the most identifiable locations is one of my personal “happy places” in Mount Pleasant – shimmering Shem Creek. Visitors flock to this quaint little enclave of restaurants, boats, water activities, and general cuteness. Shem Creek’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down while sipping on a cool drink. (Stunning views are free.) Do a little fishin’ or just sit and watch the dolphin or the occasional manatee swim past. And, watch the many shrimp boats coming and going.
But, the history of Shem Creek is much more than a picturesque fishing village. Years ago, the Eastern Sioux Sewee Indians originally lived along the creek, and the name has been said to come from the Native American word shemee. When settlers began establishing this area in the 1670s, over the following two decades, a man named Captain Florence O’Sullivan owned this land due to a land grant, and he changed the name of the creek to Sullivan’s Creek. Shipbuilding was the first major industry on Shem Creek. In the 1690s it was known as Dearsley’s Creek for Captain George Dearsley who established the first shipbuilding there. Then it was Rowser’s Creek, then Parris’s Creek. Later, it was referred to as Lempriere’s Creek after another Captain, a Captain Clement Lempriere. As more time passed, a distillery was built on the banks in the early 1800s, sometimes being known as Distillery Creek. But, the simple version usually won the locals over and has mainly been called Shem Creek ever since.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that shrimping became the main industry and has remained so ever since. It was Captain William C. Magwood who owned the very first motorized shrimp boat named the Skipper. And, even though during those times you could see at least 30 trawlers docked, today the count has dwindled to less than a dozen.
Fans of the show will surely recognize the Playboy, a magnificent shrimp boat used for filming. (Who can forget when the crew hauls up the nets with those two dead guys?) You can find her tethered to the dock in front of The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene restaurant, an iconic seafood restaurant, also used as Kiara’s parents’ restaurant The Wreck from the show.
For those hoping to get a taste of local, fresh, authentic Lowcountry cuisine, I highly recommend an evening at this gem of a joint. If you like fried green tomatoes and the freshest scallops this side of paradise, then come on by. They are open every day except Monday, at 5:00 p.m.
And, for the Captains out there who’d like to cruise around the creek and gorgeous shoreline in his/her own boat, contact Shem Creek Boat Rentals, LLC.
So, you don’t feel like driving, book a chartered sail on the Palmetto Breeze for a fabulous tour around Charleston Harbor.
Guests of my Outer Banks Film Locations tour will get to visit Shem Creek Park up close and capture as many photos as humanly possible. It’s hard to tear yourself away from the beauty, so we’ll hang there as long as you’d like. I don’t mind at all.