The summer season in Massachusetts might be drifting away, but the departure of the tourist hordes just means more tasty seafood to go around. Check out these superb seafood shacks along the coast that are sure to serve up some of the best ocean grub you’ve ever had. No matter if you take your seafood fare fried, battered, buttered, tartar-sauced or lightly spritzed with lemon, these places are ready to be your new favorite summer haunt.
1. The Barking Claw, Falmouth
This seafood spot focuses on fresh seafood served with a smile. The Barking Claw actually operates out of a seasonal food stand outside Grumpy’s Pub in Falmouth. You won’t find any mayo on their delicious lobster rolls, but you will find plenty of warm butter and heaps of claw meat. Classic.
2. The Clam Box, Ipswich
This place is no secret, but it's still one of the best places in the state to get fried clams. Housed in a building that evokes the tempting shape of their delicious boxes of crispy goodness, this seafood shack has been catering to locals and in-the-know travelers for generations.
3. Cape Cod Lobster Rolls, Onset
Grab a double-meat lobster roll on a thick, buttered bun for the ultimate seaside indulgence. You won't get much mayo on these rolls, which is great if you're looking for a classic taste. There isn't any indoor seating here, though there are two small tables out front. The better option might be to walk on down to the water just a few steps from the shack.
4. The Bite, Martha's Vineyard
This place may be tiny, but it's a flavor heavyweight. The Bite sources their seafood from the Menemsha fish market, so you know everything is fresh and local. Try the fried, whole-belly clams for an indulgent treat.
5. The Clam Shack, Salem
A gorgeous view and stellar seafood make this shack a heavenly place to enjoy the warm sunshine. Their clams and scallops are to die for and best enjoyed on the picnic tables overlooking the water. There isn't any indoor seating, so make sure the weather will cooperate before planning a trip here.
6. Green Harbor Lobster Pound, Marshfield
This place is known for serving so much lobster meat in their lobster rolls that you can barely see the bread. The prices here are almost as tempting as the seafood, though the Lobster Pound is cash only. Just a short walk from the beach, you can savor your food at one of their picnic tables or take your eats down to the water.
7. The Seafood Shanty, Buzzard's Bay
This shack is situated across from the Cape Cod Canal. It's the perfect place to stop for a quick bite on your way to or from the Cape over the Sagamore Bridge. The lobster rolls are generously proportioned and tasty, the fried seafood is light and crispy and the view is pretty amazing. Try the clam strips for a perfectly seasoned treat.
8. The Lobster Trap, Bourne
This seafood spot is a traditional clam shack in a more full-service outfit. The atmosphere is laidback and casual, but the food is worthy of five stars. Try the delicious lobster reuben for a mouth-watering twist on a classic New England dish. The parking lot can get a little tricky during peak season, but they do offer free valet parking.
9. Captain Frosty's Fish and Chips, Dennis
This seafood joint may not have a waterfront view, but there's plenty of shady outdoor seating and delicious fried fare to go around. The clam cakes are a real stand-out here, and the chowder can't be beat. If you're looking for something a bit lighter, try the grilled scallops over tender rice. For dessert, try one of their signature, thick ice cream shakes.
10. Chatham Pier Fish Market
This is a no-frills, counter service only spot that is staffed with helpful folk and serves up delectable seafood. Everything on the menu is fresh and fragrant, and it's not unusual for passerby to be tempted into buying a box of clam strips simply from the aroma wafting from the market. This place is also a great place to bring kids, as they can watch fishermen come in from the sea unload their fresh catches from the boats.