Why You Should Always Eat At The Tourist Stops

it's okay to follow the beaten path. Sometimes,there are reasons why you should always eat at the tourist stops. Find out why at www.drugstoredivas.net.We were planning our trip to Hilton Head Island in June, and I told Pete I was so excited to try The Salty Dog. Twenty or so years ago, my aunt had gone on vacation and brought me back a shirt from The Salty Dog cafe. Two decades later and I still wear it all the time. “I know it,” Pete said. “The one with the dog in the yellow hat.” Yup! That’s the one.

So we get to Hilton Head in the middle of a rainstorm. We check in to our room, shower off the thunderstorm, and decide to go to The Salty Dog for dinner. But first, we stop at the concierge because our Internet is working and I blog for a living.

While we’re waiting, I hear the concierge tell a father and son, “Don’t go there to eat. Just go and purchase some souvenirs and eat somewhere else.” 

When it’s our turn, I ask if he told them not to eat at The Salty Dog. He says yes, then suggests somewhere else for us to dine as well. He then hands me a piece of paper with a list of restaurants where we can save 10% if we show our resort key. The only catch: The Salty Dog isn’t on the list. We thank him and, when we’re out of earshot, I ask Pete if we should change our plans. He said no.

Why You Should Always Eat At The Tourist Stops

Pete and I like local restaurants. We often support the little, local guy when it comes to eating. When we go to Myrtle Beach, we eat at our absolute favorite hole in the wall Mexican joint. If we go out to eat in town, we generally don’t pick the chain restaurant or the place we’ve been to before.

But when you’re on vacation, that’s a different story.

We actually were visiting friends and found an incredible Thai restaurant in their town — that they had never heard of — because of a food app. But when you’re on vacation in tourist towns, you often are surrounded by tourist stops: seafood buffets with extra large crab sculptures in front, stores with sharks and surfboards that create perfect social media photos, restaurants with subpar food but tons of television time.

You want to avoid them. You want to shop local and support the little guy. But just like cliches are cliches for a reason, so, too, are these tourist stops.

But they’re also great conversation topics. Most people who have been to Hilton Head Island, I would guess, have been to The Salty Dog, just like most people who have been to Wilmington, NC (where we live) have been to the fountain where One Tree Hill and Dawson Creek filmed. And people who find out we’re from Wilmington ask if we’ve been there. Yes, we say. We go every Friday because there’s a free concert on the water there. Also, we took our wedding photos at that very fountain. And people get excited and amazed, much more than if I tell them about my favorite cup of French Onion Soup from the local restaurant around the corner.

Here’s the thing, though. Sometimes, you’re allowed to be a tourist. You don’t have to be holier than thou all the time. You don’t always have to travel the road less traveled. Sometimes, you can stop at the cafe you saw in a movie or the restaurant you’ve had a shirt from for twenty years. That’s okay. That’s exactly what tourists should do.

When we got to The Salty Dog, it was pouring. We ran to The Wreck at Salty Dog, the closest restaurant to the car, and requested to sit outside on the deck despite the weather. It was dumb and romantic all at once. But when I sat down and picked up a coaster that said The Salty Dog, I smiled. After twenty years, I was here. It didn’t matter how good or bad the food was, or the rain dripping from the umbrellas down our backs, or that this was a tourist stop. What mattered is I finally found the place my shirt was from. What mattered is that my heart was happy and a restaurant was crossed off my bucket list. Sometimes, supporting your heart and your wishes is more important than supporting the little, local guy. Sometimes, you’re the only guy that matters.

Do you agree? What are your reasons why you should always eat at the tourist stops?