The 9 Best Beach Towns for Food

In these towns, good food extends way past the seashore

Gulf Shores is one of the rare towns that experience “jubilees” — a natural phenomenon in which large quantities of fish wash up on the shore. 

Beach towns are hard not to love, whether they are fun-filled and crowded or peaceful and romantic. They almost always have excellent seafood, but some beach towns have food and dining scenes that are truly exceptional, bursting with a wide variety of cuisines and fine-dining establishments. Here are the nine best beach towns in the world for food.

The 9 Best Beach Towns for Food (Slideshow)

To determine the world’s best beach towns, we examined our own archives of stories related to beach foods and beach towns, such as The World’s Most Delicious Beach Foods and America’s Best Boardwalks for Food. We also scoured coverage of beach towns in various regional magazines in America and abroad. Based on that coverage, we selected beach towns noted for high concentrations of food establishments that have received critical praise along with positive reviews on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

The overseas destinations on this list, such as those in Australia, Brazil, and India, are ones you should plan for in advance, as summer is their high season (but remember that summer is runs from roughly January to March in the Southern Hemisphere). However, most of the places we note are in the United States, because those beach towns are most accessible to the majority of our readers. We made it a point to make our list as geographically diverse as possible.

So take a look at some of the best food in the world’s most beloved seaside destinations. We hope to expand this list in the future, so please help us out by letting us know of any delicious beach towns in America and abroad that you think ought to be on this list. Just tweet @thedailymeal or leave a comment in the section below.

9. Byron Bay, Australia

Not only is Byron Bay one of Australia’s best surf spots, its streets are dotted with tiny burrito bars, Thai food shacks, and takeaway kiosks for those who want to eat on the beach, as well as dine-in restaurants and cafés. For healthy fare (think mushroom toast, coconut and quinoa porridge with poached pear, and rainbow chard salad) and artisanal cold brew coffee, head to Bayleaf Café, and for beautifully plated food and stunning views of the beach, visit Byron Beach Café. Fresh food and friendly vibes are the rule in this Australian getaway.

8. Friday Harbor, Washington (San Juan Islands)


The San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington boast cool, temperate weather even during the highest points of summer, which makes the experience of dining there a pure delight, especially for those who find the relentless crowds of more typical beach towns overwhelming. Order a craqueline aux chocolate (pastry filled with chocolate and candied orange) at Café Demeter, or visit the San Juan Islands farmers market on a Saturday and take some food to the area’s most popular beaches: South Beach, Fourth of July Beach, and Jackson’s Beach. Alternatively, head to Lime Kiln Point State Park to eat while you watch for whales. For delicious lavender-flavored snacks, check out the highly Instagram-able Pelindaba Lavender Farm.