8 Amazing Beach Restaurants
Seafood shacks. Boardwalk food carts. Waterfront eateries. A beach trip wouldn't be complete without fried, salty snacks (and boozy drinks, of course). Here, are our favorite oceanfront places to dig in.
Photo by Lindsay Vitale
The Beachcomber, Wellfleet, MA
Call us biased, but there’s no better place to eat by the beach than in Cape Cod. In-the-know locals flock to The Beachcomber, a gray shingled shack that sits on a sandy cliff overlooking the bay, for its ales and cocktails, live bands and one epic raw bar. Fresh oysters and littleneck clams are shucked and steamed right in front of you, and there's also shrimp, clambakes, mussels and lobsters on the menu. The seafood joint has such a cult following that diehard fans come every summer with season passes in hand.
Japadog, Santa Monica, CA
Coney Island may have Nathan’s famous hot dogs, but California has Japadog, where Japanese street food meets the classic American dog. Don't let the stand's small size fool you — it slings some serious meat, with crowdpleasers like the Kurobuta Terimayo (Kurobuta sausage, Terimayo sauce and seaweed) and the Yakisoba (Japanese noodles and arabiki sausage).
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Thrasher’s French Fries, Ocean City, MD
Something about the ocean’s saltwater breeze makes us crave all things, well, salty. Since 1929, people have lined up to taste the grease-dripping fries at Thrasher’s, which hit the spot every time. We recommend you top them with apple cider vinegar and an extra dose of salt for a finger-licking snack.
Citysticks, Rockaway, NY
In summer, city slickers-turned-surfer-dudes head to Rockaway’s seashore, just an hour from Manhattan, to relax by the beach. But that’s not the only reason: Along the busy boardwalk, there are a handful of buzzy cafes and food carts that are worth the trip alone. One of our favorites is Citysticks, which serves alcoholic ice pops in flavors like mango mimosa, strawberry daiquiri and pina colada (need we say more?).
Venice Whaler, Venice, CA
This Venice Beach spot had us at two words: Fish. Tacos. Crispy cod or grilled shrimp is piled on a corn tortilla and loaded up with pico de gallo, cabbage and chipotle crema. Grab a sundowner and a spot on the outdoor deck, and you've got yourself a winning SoCal combo.
Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown, ME
When in Maine, you can’t miss lunch at a New England lobster shack. On a quaint fishing harbor an hour north of Portland, Five Islands Lobster Co. gets its fresh catch every morning when the boats pull into the wharf. Grab a waterfront picnic table and dig into a whole crustacean with a side of corn on the cob and coleslaw.
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Sandy’s, Huntington Beach, CA
The beachfront Sandy’s trades beef burgers for something a little more surf than turf. A thick cut of tuna and fresh shrimp are poached, breaded and fried to form one mouthwatering patty, which is then finished with a greasy slab of bacon, lettuce, avocado and remoulade.
Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy, Atlantic City, NJ
There’s a reason salt water taffy is synonymous with the Jersey Shore. The salty-sweet stuff was first made here in the 1880s, and has been a boardwalk staple ever since. We love the family-owned, 130-year-old Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy, which has a never-ending list of homemade flavors like Blueberry, Sour Cherry, Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Watermelon, Bay Breeze, and more.