Best Hole-in-the-Wall Seafood Shacks in Beach Towns Across America

Best No-Frills Seafood Shacks  Across America

Cheapism; Jeni L./; Shayla B./; Sky L./

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Best No-Frills Seafood Shacks  Across America
Cheapism; Jeni L./; Shayla B./; Sky L./

Love Shack

It's easy to love seafood, but it can be hard to swallow the price sometimes. That's why we love the little seafood joints that spring up all along America's coastlines. They're a casual, no-frills way to get good, fresh fish, shrimp, oysters, and crabs without the cost of a white tablecloth dining experience — plus you don't have to change out of your flip-flips and boardshorts. Head to these hole-in-the-wall seafood shacks on your next summer road trip to the beach.  

Related: The Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State

Rikki Tikki Tavern cocoa beach yelp
Jessica W. / Yelp

1. Rikki Tiki Tavern

Cocoa Beach, FL

At the very end of the 800-foot long Cocoa Beach Pier is Rikki Tiki Tavern, an open-air bar and restaurant with a thatched roof and magical vibes. Enjoy the casual menu of grouper sandwiches, oysters, and plenty of frozen cocktails with unobstructed 360-degree views. 

Related: 22 All-You-Can-Eat Seafood Restaurants Reviewers Love

Sea Level Christian Pass yelp
Debbie F. / Yelp

2. Sea Level

Pass Christian, MS

Near Gulfport is a little shack at the beach serving up some of the best hot dogs, burgers, and blackened shrimp tacos on the Gulf shore. You order at the window (almost everything is $6 or less) of Sea Level's blue trailer, then find yourself a picnic table. The freshly cut fries are amazing, especially when you've got your toes in the sand.  

Related: 22 All-You-Can-Eat Seafood Restaurants Reviewers Love

A-J's Dockside Restaurant Tybee yelp
Jose L. / Yelp

3. A-J's Dockside Restaurant

Tybee Island, GA

The name's no joke at A-J's Dockside: You can pull your boat right up and hop off for lunch or dinner of Cajun grouper, deviled stuffed crab, or conch fritters. Everything's pretty ramshackle, from the faded and mismatched patio chairs to the green and yellow-striped festival tent, but that's all part of the laid-back charm. 

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The Gulf Orange Beach yelp
Seb M. / Yelp

4. The Gulf

Orange Beach, AL

The Gulf is about the nicest restaurant you've ever been to that's constructed from shipping containers. Order your food at the window — smoked tuna dip, lobster and shrimp rolls, and bloody marys with veggie-infused vodka are all popular — then find one of the many picnic tables or cozy outdoor couches in the sand among the palm trees.

Key Largo Fisheries yelp
Sonia L. / Yelp

5. Key Largo Fisheries

Key Largo, FL

When you want the freshest seafood, you need to go right to the source. Key Largo Fisheries has its own little Backyard Cafe on the docks, so you know the fish is going to be top quality. Stone crab chowder, lobster BLTs, and whole fried yellowtail are just some of the fish-centric menu items available. 

Crab Catchers on the waterfront yelp
Jeff F. / Yelp

6. Crab Catchers on the Waterfront

Little River, SC

"Not fancy, just fresh" is the tagline of Crab Catchers, and that sums up the vibe of this Myrtle Beach-adjacent joint. It's built on a river dock, so you'll be eating above the water, but heed the signs and don't feed the birds. You'll find everything you expect at a Southern crab shack, including hushpuppies, steamed crabs, and every kind of fried seafood you can imagine.

Big Sam's inlet cafe and raw bar yelp
Robin K. / Yelp

7. Big Sam's Inlet Cafe & Raw Bar

Virginia Beach, VA

This little dockside restaurant serves up everything from pancakes to chicken wings, but it's the seafood you want to get at Big Sam's. Eat inside the little building if you want to watch the griddle do its magic, but it's the brightly painted patio furniture that makes everything taste better. Jumbo lump blue crab balls, she-crab soup, and East Coast clams and oysters are the specialties.

Hole in the Wall raw bar yelp
Debbie V. / Yelp

8. Hole in the Wall Seafood

Apalachicola, FL

The sign on top of the little Hole in the Wall Seafood building is just as faded as the baseball caps that line the walls inside. It's tiny and quirky with an Old-West-meets-Key-West kind of vibe. Oysters baked with cheddar and jalapeno, boiled shrimp, and grouper are all specialties of this dive bar.

Spud Point Crab Company yelp
Kay D. / Yelp

9. Spud Point Crab Company

Bodega Bay, CA

On the California Coast north of San Francisco, Spud Point Crab Company often has a long line during the summer. You order at the window and then hope to find a picnic table to dig in. The creamy clam chowder is the best around, and pairs well with either a crab sandwich (think tuna sandwich but with fresh crab meat) or a seafood cocktail.