Summer is coming, and we’re already dreaming of lazy beach vacations and lining up for fresh seafood at little waterfront shacks. Read on to find 10 shacks worth the drive—smallish joints with no-nonsense decor, an unfussy vibe and fresh-as-it gets seafood. Slip on your flip-flops for walk-up counter service and incredible meals at picnic tables with a view. We’re taking you on a sun-kissed tasting tour of lobster rolls on a Cape Cod beach, crispy halibut and chips in Vancouver, and beyond.
#3: Hudson’s on the Docks, Hilton Head, SC
Perched atop a peninsula created entirely by discarded oyster shells from the original 1920s processing facility, this renowned Hilton Head restaurant has been a tradition for generations of vacationing families. To snag a coveted waterfront seat in summer at Hudson’s on the Docks, the wait can be well over an hour. But the consensus is that it’s worth it. “Sitting in the outdoor bar area is a true Lowcountry seafood experience,” says Lyn Mettler, who has frequented Hudson’s for the past 30 years during family vacations. You can still see oysters, shrimp, and soft shell crabs being harvested at the onsite facility and eat that seafood the very same day. During soft shell crab season in March and April, you can watch local blue crabs back out of their shells in a flow-through system designed by the restaurant’s staff.
What to order: Oysters, shrimp and soft shell crabs