Building sandcastles, surfing, paddleboarding, taking long walks along the boardwalk, snorkeling, or even just lounging in the sun: these are the ideal beach break endeavors — and you can work up a major appetite doing them. Fans of flavor know some of the tastiest food comes from the ocean, and that a seaside retreat can be a great place to feast. So, if the first thing you think about when someone says “seashore” is seafood, then you’re gonna love seeing this list! For your vacation considerations, we take a look at some of the best beach destinations in America and around the world where the dining options are the most delicious.
Charleston, South Carolina
One of the East Coast’s most important culinary hubs, Charleston is an amazing place to visit for hearty southern cuisine, fine dining, and excellent fish and seafood. From James Beard Award-winning BBQ at Rodney Scott’s to the world-renown dishes at upscale restaurant Husk, you will eat well in Charleston. Though technically not a beach town, you’re never more than a short drive away from dipping your toes in the sand. Vacationing at beaches like Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island, coupled with urban forages in Charleston, is a delectable way to enjoy the best of the Carolina coast.
One of America’s most culturally diverse capital cities, Honolulu, has one of its most epic food scenes as well. Surrounded by the Pacific with a climate and terrain that makes growing almost any food possible, Hawaii produces exceptional seafood and fresh produce. Much of the cream of the crop tends to wind up in Honolulu. Sushi and Japanese food is especially popular around Honolulu and the island of Oahu. And of course, you can’t go wrong with local plate lunch favorites like poke, macaroni salad, and shoyu chicken, or cooling off with a giant multi-flavored shave ice. Whatever you like to eat, odds are you find ample portions available at or near one of the gorgeous beaches around Honolulu.
Relatively tiny Pensacola, with its population of 50,000, competently competes with the likes of big-city dining scene destinations such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans. The city boasts a thriving farmers market and calendar filled with festivals — many of which are the gourmet variety. With its compact downtown, miles of white sand beaches, and plenty of family-friendly activities in the area, Pensacola is a smart Gulf Coast base for holidaymakers looking to eat well on vacation.
Santa Barbara, California
For beachfront dining with a cool California breeze and a glass of wine produced from the nearby rolling hillside vineyards, head to Santa Barbara. Burger dives, low-key taquerias, and seafood shacks vie for your appetite with fancy French restaurants and world-famous eateries with celebrity chefs. Whether in flip-flops or stilettos, aloha shirts or black-tie — there’s a lovely place to eat with a view to die for in Santa Barbara.
Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Naples is the ancestral home of the pizza and still one of the best places on the planet to eat it. Within a short drive or ferry ride from Naples are the romantic islands of Ischia, Procida, and Capri, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches and coastal resorts in Italy including Sorrento, Positano, and Ravello — all with a thriving food and drink scene! For the sauciest of getaways full of traditional Italian dishes and stunning views of evocative Vesuvio smoldering across the Bay of Naples, make your way to this welcoming slice of southern Italy.
Melbourne is highly regarded for its mild climate, laid-back lifestyle, and world-class beaches (notably St Kilda). The seaside city is also the foodie capital of Australia. Infamous for coffee snobbery taken to extraordinary extremes, locals get equally up-in-arms when it comes to dining out. Expectations are understandably high. The approach to kitchen craft is global with a regional reach when it comes to sourcing ingredients. If sidewalk culture is your thing and you prefer your fine dining experiences accompanied with casual flair, the upsides of a vacation Down Under are yours for the taking in Melbourne.
San Sebastian, Spain
Michelin stars and tapas bars are the two main reasons foodies flock to this beautiful beach town in the Basque Country of northern Spain near the French border. Local delicacies such as percebes (goose barnacles) and all sorts of seafood and other gourmand treats can be enjoyed here in raucous and rowdy bars or refined and ultra-luxurious restaurants. If ever satisfactorily full and ready to pretend you’re a beached whale (or maybe go for a run to burn off some excess calories), the perfectly crescent-shaped Playa de la Concha is a mere stroll away from the rows of bars in San Sebastian’s Old Town and is considered to be one of the prettiest beaches in Spain.
Where’s your go-to beach for great food? Share with us how you eat when vacationing!