There’s nothing like a day at the beach, and beach towns are popular tourist destinations. Whether you’re local or visiting, there are plenty of great beachfront restaurants where you can enjoy the beauty of the sand, ocean, and sky with your meal.
The sound of waves crashing is one of the most calming sounds on earth and the sight of a sunset or sunrise over the coast is a spiritual experience. Beaches are beloved places to swim, play in the sand, and sunbathe among countless other activities.
Coastal cities and towns are among some of the most popular vacation destinations. I know I’m not the only person who dreams of growing old in a home by the sea.
In the meantime, I can chase sunsets over oceans from coast to coast. After a day by the sea, there’s always a local beachfront restaurant to enjoy the ocean’s bounty while gazing out over the horizon.
Below, I’ve listed the best beachfront restaurants in the US. Check them out for yourself on your next trip!
Ocean House Restaurant
425 Old Wharf Rd, Dennis Port, MA 02639, United States
Overlooking Cape Cod’s impeccable Nantucket Sound, Ocean House Restaurant is a fine-dining New American restaurant in a bright and airy dining space with a beachfront deck and grassy patio for al fresco dining.
OpenTable voted Ocean House Restaurant one of the 50 Most Scenic Restaurants in America.
They offer a cocktail lounge menu with artisanal cocktails that portray the summer season’s flavors in colorful displays.
The dining menu uses locally caught seafood and locally sourced seasonal produce.
I recommend trying the Nantucket Sound Tower to sample all the local shellfish, including Dennis oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster, and tuna ceviche.
The Marine Room
2000 Spindrift Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
The Marine Room has been a La Jolla fixture for fine dining and stunning West Coast views since 1941.
The restaurant has received countless awards of excellence for the food, service, and of course unparalleled vistas of San Diego’s shoreline.
The restaurant is an indoor restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows encircling the entire dining area.
The fine dining menu has a Wine Spectator’s Award-winning wine list, cocktails, and globally inspired multi-course dishes from Execute Chef Mike Minor.
I loved the Alaskan Halibut with charred artichoke, mushroom quinoa, and citron.
Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge
1190 Pacific Dr, Cannon Beach, OR 97110, United States
Wayfarer Restaurant and Lounge is a cozy west coast restaurant in the quaint coastal town of Cannon Beach.
The stunning views of the Pacific Ocean with moss-covered boulder islands and the surrounding Douglas Fir forested coastline is the epitome of the Pacific Northwest.
The hour and a half drive from Portland through evergreen forests and coastal farmland overlooking rocky cliffs was worth the trip alone.
The Wayfarer offers simple American coastal food prepared from scratch using the freshest ingredients.
They also have a whiskey bar and cocktail lounge manned by an award-winning mixologist.
I delighted in a Maple Old Fashioned while I watched the sunset.
Back on the Beach Café
445 CA-1, Santa Monica, CA 90402, United States
Back on the Beach is located right on the sand in front of Santa Monica’s world-famous coastline with epic panoramic views of the ocean, the Santa Monica Pier, Catalina Island, and the mountainous coastline to the east.
Opening in 1989, Back on the Beach has become a quintessential beachfront dining experience for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The various menus showcase California cuisine with the freshest produce and scratch-made dishes.
I went for a tasty breakfast of North African Shakshuka with house-made lamb sausage and over-easy eggs in a flavorful stew of tomatoes, peppers, and feta cheese.
3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753, United States
Spago is celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck’s most decorated fine dining restaurant with locations around the world.
Hawaii’s Spago location is inside the elegant Four Seasons Resort in Maui. Winner of the four-star rating from Forbes and AAA’s four diamonds, Spago Hawaii fuses California and Hawaiian cuisine to deliver dishes as stunning as the oceanfront views.
The high-ceilinged dining space has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beach, gorgeous marble and stone columns and walls, and an open kitchen lined with cases of the day’s catches.
The menu is spectacular. I recommend the Mahi Mahi with roasted macadamia nut, ginger butter, and Molokai yam.
Check out other restaurants from celebrity chefs!
Blue Moon Over Avila
460 Front St, Avila Beach, CA 93424, United States
Blue Moon Over Avila is a charming wine bar and French bistro overlooking the Pacific coast in the quaint Central California beach town of Avila Beach.
Executive Chef Eric Reynolds combines imported French ingredients with locally sourced fish, meat, and produce to create a perfect fusion of French and Californian cuisine.
The dining space is inside a country-chic beach house with a massive stone deck overlooking the beach.
The beautifully plated dishes show the chef’s creativity, and the flavors show their adherence to French authenticity.
I started with the Pate de Campagne, followed by a delicious main dish of saffron risotto with shrimp and scallops.
Hogfish Bar & Grill
6810 Front St, Stock Island, FL 33040, United States
Overlooking the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, Hogfish Bar & Grill is an old-school seafood restaurant with a casual local vibe.
Located in Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island, Hogfish Bar & Grill offers sea-to-table dishes from the day’s catches in a festive and quirky atmosphere with live music on the weekends.
The cuisine is a mix of Caribbean and Southern cooking. Their signature Key West pink shrimp are always on the menu in various forms.
I went for the deep Southern specialty of shrimp and grits, with their famous pink shrimp over Delta Grind grits with cornbread, onions, and Andouille sausage.
20356 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
Located in the high-end beach community of Malibu, Moonshadows is famed restauranter Andrea Bullo’s oceanfront New American restaurant.
The modern interior opens onto a massive, covered deck built into the side of Mailbu’s characteristic ocean cliffs. You won’t find a better vantage point for oceanside sunsets.
Moonshadows is a Michelin guide-recommended restaurant, offering European and Californian cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
They have a fully vegetarian menu and a kids’ menu, too. I started with an appetizer of fried calamari with chipotle aioli.
For the main dish, I went for the lobster and crab linguine with a light and spicy tomato sauce.
The Rusty Nail
205 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204, United States
As the name suggests, The Rusty Nail is a rustic, longstanding surfer bar and seafood grill in Cape May.
The retro décor harkens back to its 70s glory days. The bustling interior has a long wooden bar and a beach-shack vibe with a massive outdoor dining area in the sand with tee lights and a large fire pit.
The outdoor patio also has complementary beach games like shuffleboard and a stage for live music.
The family-friendly menu has seasonal cocktails and comforting American classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I loved their barbecued clams topped with melted local cheese.
Coast Guard House
40 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882, United States
Located inside a 19th-century Coast Guard station overlooking Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, the Coast Guard House opened as a local seafood restaurant in the 1940s.
The exterior of the Coast Guard House maintains its historic façade while the interior and menu have undergone major updates.
Today, Coast Guard House is an upscale seafood bistro with an award-winning wine list and cocktail menu. I was especially impressed by the specialty cocktails.
I ordered a playful take on an American classic sandwich with the Frozen PB & J on the Beach, consisting of peanut butter whiskey, island Oasis red raspberry, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream.
Latitudes at Sunset Key Cottages
245 Front St, Key West, FL 33040, United States
Upholding Key West’s exclusive and ritzy reputation, Latitudes is an award-winning fine dining restaurant nestled under the palm tree-covered beachfront boutique resort Sunset Key Cottages.
The restaurant and resort have been featured in Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Travel as among the top destinations for elegant and romantic vacations in the country.
Latitudes is fine dining at its best, with artistic plating and the highest quality ingredients served on the most romantic and picturesque beachside table.
I recommend lunch by the beach at Latitudes. I had a delicious surf and turf burger with an Angus beef patty, Maine lobster tail, and brie on a buttered brioche bun with truffle fries.
The Circle at The Breakers
1 S County Rd, Palm Beach, FL 33480, United States
I wasn’t sure if I was in Florida or Florence when I walked into The Circle, a stunning dome-shaped dining room with 30-foot ceilings covered in authentic old-world frescos modeled after Renaissance landscapes.
The two-story French windows offer a panoramic view of Palm Beach’s lush tropical greenery and turquoise gulf waters beyond.
Located inside the luxurious resort called The Breakers, The Circle is a breakfast and brunch restaurant with a buffet and an a la carte menu.
For me, a fine dining breakfast buffet would be the highlight of my trip, and The Circle did not disappoint.
The decadence was on par with a Renaissance-era banquette, with every kind of bagel, bread, pastry, griddle cake, egg dish, smoked salmon, pork, fine cheese, and breakfast beverage imaginable.
Bill’s by the Beach
30 W Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542, United States
Bill’s by the Beach is a contemporary seafood restaurant with an upscale yet inviting vibe.
Located on the thin peninsula between the Gulf and Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores, Alabama, Bill’s by the Beach features the freshest catches from the Gulf of Mexico elaborated with a fusion of Southern and Mexican flavors and cooking techniques.
Executive Chef Jon Gibson heads the kitchen. The ultra-rich menu has over-the-top appetizers that are modern takes on traditional American comfort foods.
Take, for example, the fried mac and cheese with smoked gouda, candied jalapeno, and chipotle aioli drizzle.
I wanted a more traditional taste of the deep south and went for the fried shrimp po’boy.
Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill
7 Rockaway St, Clearwater, FL 33767, United States
Part of the Clearwater dynasty of casual seafood restaurants, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is a colorful, family-friendly beach shack along the shores of Clearwater’s white sandy beach.
Founded by Quebec native Michael Preston – nicknamed Frenchy for obvious reasons – as one of five different seafood concepts, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill has been a beachfront favorite for over 20 years.
Frenchy’s has live music weekly and a fun, high-energy atmosphere serving the freshest seafood from the Gulf.
Florida is as tropical and Caribbean as you can get in the U.S., so I went for the conch fritters with Bahamian sauce.
Their signature fish is grouper, which comes in various forms, from nuggets to eggrolls, to almond-encrusted filets.
Michel’s at the Colony Surf
2895 Kalākaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Located on the paradisiacal sands of Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach, Michel’s at the Colony Surf is a historic fine dining French restaurant that originated during World War II and relocated to its current location in 1962.
Founder Michel Martin is a local celebrity, praised for bringing French cuisine to the islands.
Today, Chef Eberhard Kintscher upholds Michel’s revered legacy for fine French cooking.
Chef Kintscher creates a multi-course prix fixe chef’s tasting menu that is seasonal, market-driven, and paired with fine wines and craft cocktails.
I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a more tropical cocktail than the Green Flash, with Koloa Kauai coconut rum, melon liquor, and pineapple juice.
North Beach Bar and Grill
33 Meddin Dr, Tybee Island, GA 31328, United States
North beach Bar and Grill is a festive fusion restaurant, combining culinary and dining experience traditions that combine the Caribbean with the Deep South.
Located on the northern tip of Tybee Island, North Beach Bar and Grill uses the Atlantic’s freshest catches to create gourmet caliber dishes in a friendly beach shack atmosphere.
The menu has Caribbean specialties from every coastal and island country, whether it’s Mexican fish tacos or Jamaican Jerk Chicken.
I could’ve made a meal out of the sides alone, with southern favorites like coleslaw, red beans and rice, and sweet potato fries.
Paradise Cove Beach Café
28128 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
Paradise Cove is a friendly beachside café with a colorful history. Owned by the Morris family, whose patriarch once owned a vast swath of Malibu beachfront during the 50s and 60s Paradise Cove Café opened in 1996.
The new Morris generation founded the casual and sunny beachside café to reconnect with their California roots.
Paradise Cove has a beach-chic décor in the beach house interior with ample seating on the deck overlooking Paradise Cove Beach.
It’s a fantastic place for beachside lunches or romantic al fresco dinners. They’ve got some extravagant cocktails like a watermelon daiquiri inside a carved-out watermelon.
I loved the Ahi Sashimi Tuna salad with chopped veggies and Asian dressing.
1936 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126, United States
Overlooking Seattle’s stunning Elliott Bay surrounded by neighborhood studded mountains and the Seattle skyline, Salty’s is Seattle’s premier oceanfront restaurant.
They offer Northwest-style seafood, wine, and cocktails in a cozy yet upscale atmosphere. The interior has floor-to-ceiling windows offering the same views as the outdoor deck.
The menu uses the Pacific’s freshest catches along with locally sourced produce and bread to create a diverse menu of chowders, sushi rolls, and New American entrees.
My favorite entre was the crispy pan-fried rockfish smothered in bay shrimp etouffee over a bed of chipotle garlic rice.
1 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States
The very epitome of Miami Beach glamour, Nikki Beach is a stylish beach club with music, film, art exhibits, gardens, and a clothing boutique.
It’s a hip beachfront restaurant with luxurious day beds and beach cabanas that serves high-end New American cuisine with a tropical twist.
The presentation of each dish is on par with the artistic and fashionable nature of the beach club.
The multi-course menu features globally inspired dishes from coastal culinary cultures worldwide, whether it’s a Mediterranean Branzino or a tropical salmon Poke bowl.
I recommend the Sexy Salad with lobster, shrimp, crab meat, kanikama, avocado, mango, cucumber, greens, tobiko, and spicy mayonnaise.
The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove
15 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, CA 92657, United States
Located in Crystal Cove’s historic district, The Beachcomber is a historic and iconic beachfront restaurant overlooking the preserved 1930s cottages that line Newport Coast’s bluffs.
The restaurant has a historic and cozy atmosphere, serving traditional American cuisine and some of the best cocktails you’ll taste.
I could’ve made a meal out of the Big Bad Bloody Mary with a crab claw, jumbo shrimp, carrots, celery, gherkins, and olives for garnish.
I had to order a basket of Beachcomber Beignets to balance the spicy, briny Bloody Mary.
If you like Mexican breakfasts, try their Huevos Rancheros with poached eggs and turkey chorizo.
Manhattan Beach Post
1142 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, United States
Manhattan Beach Post is a chic, California bistro by Michelin-starred Chef David Lefevre located a block from Manhattan Beach’s Strand.
Chef Lefevre traveled around the world, studying various culinary practices to create a unique menu of artisanal family-style meals, cocktails, and California-native wines.
The outdoor patio is lined with hanging flowers, offering a romantic and fresh al fresco experience. The interior overlooks an open kitchen.
The menu has various shared courses, from cheeses to meats, to salads and entrees.
There were so many outstanding dishes, it’s hard to choose a favorite. The highlight of my meal was the kimchi braise beef Bolognese with house-made ricotta cavatelli, Asian pear, scallions, and crispy garlic.