clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Lobster Roll at Brown's Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH
Lobster Roll at Brown's Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH
Official Site

Shack Food: Casual Summer Dining in New England

It isn’t summer in New England without ice cream, fried clams, and lobster rolls

View as Map
Lobster Roll at Brown's Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH
| Official Site

It isn’t summer in New England without ice cream, fried clams, and lobster rolls. Never be without the trifecta of essential beach fare with this map close at hand, which highlights classic destinations throughout the region, touching on Cape Cod, Massachusetts' North Shore, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and a tiny bit of Maine.

Some are BYOB, some feature amusements like mini golf, and most have waterfront views. Whichever you pick, you'll find a casual ambiance (often outdoors) and traditional beach-friendly foods like fried seafood and soft-serve.

Want to eat outdoors without getting too far from Boston? Try these related maps and guides:

Note: Map points are listed geographically from north to south, not ranked.

Outdoor Dining Week logo
Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bob's Clam Hut

Copy Link

A trip to Kittery is incomplete without a stop at Bob’s, where they’ve been serving up fried New England goodness since 1956. Walk up to the window and obey the sign on the awning directing you to “Eat clams!” Quick Facts: Both ice cream and soft-serve are available; Bob's fans can purchase merch and gift cards online; heated indoor seating available; open year-round.

View the menu here.

The Beach Plum

Copy Link

A quick walk across Route 1A from the North Hampton State Beach lands you in front of over seventy flavors of ice cream and simple but award-winning shack food like lobster rolls and clam chowder. Quick Facts: This location is open from early April to mid-October each year. Two other locations (in Portsmouth, NH and Epping, NH) are open year-round.

View the menu here.

Brown's Lobster Pound

Copy Link

The Brown's-versus-Markey's rivalry runs deep and long, but locals head to Brown’s for the real lobster pound experience looking out over the marshes. This is rustic New England at its best — picnic tables, bubbling lobster tanks, and lots of fried fare from the sea. Brown’s is BYO, too, so bring your cooler and trade beers with the regulars. Quick Facts: Cash-only (there's an ATM); founded in 1950; indoor and outdoor seating available.

View the menu here.

White Farms Homemade Ice Cream

Copy Link

Homemade ice cream and mini golf are a match made in heaven at this Ipswich hangout. Dozens of flavors of ice cream are on offer, and if you need an excuse to try them all, you can join one of their summer mini golf leagues, offered for adults and juniors alike. Quick Facts: Cash only; founded in 1963.

View the menu here.

Clam Box of Ipswich

Copy Link

Any clam shack built in the shape of a box of clams deserves some love. Architectural wonders aside, the Clam Box is a beloved North Shore spot on the merits of its fried clams alone — they’re hand-selected every morning, washed in evaporated milk, battered, and twice-fried. Quick Facts: Open almost all year but not quite (generally from early February through late November); indoor and outdoor seating available; credit cards accepted ($10 minimum); founded in 1935.

View the menu here.

Russell Orchards

Copy Link

Does your sweet tooth trump your clam cravings? Head to Russell Orchard after a day at Crane Beach for warm cider doughnuts and homemade fudge. Quick Facts: Open seasonally, with pick-your-own berries available June through August and apple picking in September and October; wine tastings on weekend afternoons.

View the bakery offerings here.

Roy Moore Lobster Company

Copy Link

This little lobster pool makes big waves in the Rockport food scene. Crammed into a tiny space in historic downtown Rockport, it solely offers outdoor waterfront-only seating (aw, shucks.) The prime seating real estate — coupled with some of the freshest lobster around and a BYO license — makes for the perfect afternoon.Quick Facts: Open seasonally, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (generally starts the season in late March).

View the menu here.

J.T. Farnham's

Copy Link

Clams, clams, clams! This little shack has big clout in the heated North Shore clam shack battle. Perched on the edge Route 133, J.T. Farnham's boasts dayboat fish specials and moorings for visiting boaters, and the outdoor picnic tables provide serene views of the Essex marshes. Quick Facts: Open seasonally, from the first Friday in March through December; beer and wine available for people dining inside; founded in 1941 as Wilson's Fried Clams

View the menu here.

Woodman's of Essex

Copy Link

With a claim to the invention of the fried clam and over 100 years of service, Woodman’s has earned its place in the hearts of seafood-loving New Englanders. A corn flour batter gives the fried clams a signature crunch some folks prefer, and there’s plenty of other good New England fare to be found here, including a gluten-free menu.Quick Facts: Woodman's ships seafood throughout the continental US.

View the menu here.

Essex Seafood

Copy Link

While Woodman’s and JT Farnham’s battle it out for the Best Clam Shack belt, locals hit Essex Seafood, a BYO clam-haven just off the main drag of Route 133 (aka “Clam Highway”) that offers clam bakes, fried seafood, and more. Quick Facts: Fresh seafood is available for purchase to cook at home ("If we cook it, we sell it!!!"); open year-round.

View the menu here.

Sullivan's

Copy Link

South Boston’s love for Sullivan’s is evidenced by the crowds gathered around boxes of lobster rolls and burgers on every corner of Castle Island during the summer months. Outdoor-only seating makes for excellent people-watching, soft-serve in hand.Quick Facts: Open seasonally; founded in 1951.

View the menu here.

Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

The Clam Box

Copy Link

You don’t have to be Cape-bound to get the clam shack experience. Just across the street from Wollaston Beach is The Clam Box, the perfect spot to achieve that summer vacation feeling without sitting in Cape traffic.Quick Facts: Beer and wine available; indoor and outdoor seating available; open seasonally, generally beginning in early May; founded in 1968.

View the menu here.

Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream

Copy Link

All ice creams are made daily in-house at this P-town haven, which features classic (pistachio, mint chip) and “adult” (mojito, chocolate Guinness) flavors. Bonus: You'll find the solar-powered ice cream truck patrolling the Truro ‘hood if you’re lucky.Quick Facts: Founded in 1997.

View the menu here.

PJ's Family Restaurant

Copy Link

“Where there’s something for everyone” is this Cape haven’s motto, and the expansive menu at this classic clam shack rings true. All of the traditional seafood selections are there, in addition to salads, barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, and even a gluten-free section.Quick Facts: Credit cards accepted; only open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday (hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. the rest of the week).

View the menu here.

Barlow's Clam Shack

Copy Link

Since Barlow's is perfectly situated just after the Bourne Bridge, a stop there is a great way to kick those Cape Cod vacation vibes into full gear. The sign beckons with that trifecta of New England summer eats: lobster rolls, fried clams, and ice cream. Quick Facts: Open seasonally from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily, except for Tuesdays; indoor dining available; gift shop inside.

View the menu here.

Kool Kone

Copy Link

Hit Kool Kone for homemade ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, slushes, and a round of mini golf. Need something savory before your sweet? Kool Kone has you covered with the likes of “Fabulous Fried Pickles,” seafood plates, and crab rolls.Quick Facts: Credit cards accepted.

View the menu here.

Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House

Copy Link

How hot, deep-fried dough became a staple summer treat is perhaps unknowable, but some stones are better left unturned. Head to Iggy’s for their famous doughboys, fried clam cakes, stuffies, and award-winning chowder. Quick Facts: Open year-round in Warwick, and there's a seasonal location in Narragansett (open March through Columbus Day); shirts, doughboy mix, and more are available for purchase online.

View the menu here.

Kream N' Kone

Copy Link

Soft-serve is the name of the game at this decades-old Cape Cod mainstay, but their onion rings have made a name for themselves over the years, too (in addition to the fried clams, of course).Quick Facts: Same owners as The Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport.

View the menu here.

Oxford Creamery

Copy Link

This little white ice cream stand has been providing chilly treats for vacationers since 1931, when it opened as Gulf Hill Ice Cream. Today, in addition to frozen delights, it also serves up fish and chips, burgers, and fries. Quick Facts: Open April to October. There's also a food truck, the Oxcart, which serves hot dogs, lobster rolls, and more.

View the menu here.

Flo's Clam Shack

Copy Link

Flo’s has been slinging all things clam (clam rolls, clam cakes, clam chowder) since the 1930s. Today, beach-goers hit the Newport-area hot spot for old-school seafood at the outdoor picnic tables, while folks looking for something a little fancier can wander upstairs for the raw bar with a view. Quick Facts: Closed Thanksgiving weekend through March. There's also a location at Island Beach Park in Portsmouth, RI.

View the menu here.

Mad Martha's

Copy Link

This Edgartown favorite has been supplying the Vineyard with homemade ice cream since 1971. Though they’ve expanded quite a bit, the brightly decorated original is still a beacon of summer vacation for New Englanders. Quick Facts: Cash only; open until midnight.

View part of the menu here.

Sayle's Seafood

Copy Link

Looking for the place to score some takeout for the beach? Sayle’s is your mark, boasting super-fresh fish, lobster, chowder, and more. Not to be missed: sweet, fresh-from-the-water Nantucket Bay scallops — the “candy of the sea.”Quick Facts: Lots of retail items available in addition to the prepared items that can be enjoyed on the waterfront deck.

View the menu here.

Bob's Clam Hut

A trip to Kittery is incomplete without a stop at Bob’s, where they’ve been serving up fried New England goodness since 1956. Walk up to the window and obey the sign on the awning directing you to “Eat clams!” Quick Facts: Both ice cream and soft-serve are available; Bob's fans can purchase merch and gift cards online; heated indoor seating available; open year-round.

View the menu here.

The Beach Plum

A quick walk across Route 1A from the North Hampton State Beach lands you in front of over seventy flavors of ice cream and simple but award-winning shack food like lobster rolls and clam chowder. Quick Facts: This location is open from early April to mid-October each year. Two other locations (in Portsmouth, NH and Epping, NH) are open year-round.

View the menu here.

Brown's Lobster Pound

The Brown's-versus-Markey's rivalry runs deep and long, but locals head to Brown’s for the real lobster pound experience looking out over the marshes. This is rustic New England at its best — picnic tables, bubbling lobster tanks, and lots of fried fare from the sea. Brown’s is BYO, too, so bring your cooler and trade beers with the regulars. Quick Facts: Cash-only (there's an ATM); founded in 1950; indoor and outdoor seating available.

View the menu here.

White Farms Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream and mini golf are a match made in heaven at this Ipswich hangout. Dozens of flavors of ice cream are on offer, and if you need an excuse to try them all, you can join one of their summer mini golf leagues, offered for adults and juniors alike. Quick Facts: Cash only; founded in 1963.

View the menu here.

Clam Box of Ipswich

Any clam shack built in the shape of a box of clams deserves some love. Architectural wonders aside, the Clam Box is a beloved North Shore spot on the merits of its fried clams alone — they’re hand-selected every morning, washed in evaporated milk, battered, and twice-fried. Quick Facts: Open almost all year but not quite (generally from early February through late November); indoor and outdoor seating available; credit cards accepted ($10 minimum); founded in 1935.

View the menu here.

Russell Orchards

Does your sweet tooth trump your clam cravings? Head to Russell Orchard after a day at Crane Beach for warm cider doughnuts and homemade fudge. Quick Facts: Open seasonally, with pick-your-own berries available June through August and apple picking in September and October; wine tastings on weekend afternoons.

View the bakery offerings here.

Roy Moore Lobster Company

This little lobster pool makes big waves in the Rockport food scene. Crammed into a tiny space in historic downtown Rockport, it solely offers outdoor waterfront-only seating (aw, shucks.) The prime seating real estate — coupled with some of the freshest lobster around and a BYO license — makes for the perfect afternoon.Quick Facts: Open seasonally, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (generally starts the season in late March).

View the menu here.

J.T. Farnham's

Clams, clams, clams! This little shack has big clout in the heated North Shore clam shack battle. Perched on the edge Route 133, J.T. Farnham's boasts dayboat fish specials and moorings for visiting boaters, and the outdoor picnic tables provide serene views of the Essex marshes. Quick Facts: Open seasonally, from the first Friday in March through December; beer and wine available for people dining inside; founded in 1941 as Wilson's Fried Clams

View the menu here.

Woodman's of Essex