These Maine lobster shacks will give you a taste – both with food and scenery – of one of the best summertime traditions in the state.
Lobster is one of the many things Maine is most well-known for. It’s a delicacy that has a worldwide reputation and a trip to Maine wouldn’t be complete without tasting the crustacean.
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to eat lobster in Maine. While restaurants throughout the state serve the dish, a more authentic way to eat lobster is to visit one of the state’s many lobster shacks. Some of these shacks are situated right along the coast next to the water, meaning the lobster you eat may have been swimming in the Atlantic ocean just a few hours prior!
Maine lobsters are considered among the best in the world for a few reasons:
- Cold water: Maine’s cold Atlantic ocean waters make for sweeter and more flavorful lobster meat.
- Selective harvest: Maine’s lobster industry is highly regulated and the crustaceans must be caught using traps which ensures a more selective harvest and preserves the quality of the meat.
- Freshness: Maine lobsters are caught daily and are usually cooked and shipped the same day.
- Sustainability: Maine’s lobstermen have implemented a series of self-regulation measures that are less invasive on the seafloor and less damaging to lobster and other species’ habitats.
Note that many Maine lobster shacks are only open seasonally from late Spring to early Fall. So check to see when each shack is open before visiting.
Here are some of the best lobster shacks in Maine:
Rockland considers itself the lobster capital of the world so it’s no wonder that one of the best lobster shacks in the state can be found here. Situated along the shore, Claws features indoor seating and seating outside with a view of the town’s harbor.
Located on Spruce Head Island in South Thomaston, McLoons is literally just a tiny shack a few feet from the ocean. An outdoor seating area allows you to take in the quintessential Maine view while also enjoying your meal. Although lobster is the focus at McLoons, customers can find other dishes to satisfy everyone’s appetite.
If you plan to visit Maine’s midcoast you’ll likely drive right by the ever-popular 80-year-old Red’s Eats. Located in downtown Wiscasset alongside Route One, Red’s is little more than a rectangular shack with a continuous line of customers from open to close. Its lobster rolls are famous – served with ample lobster meat and a touch of mayonnaise.
Located in the small village of Georgetown, Five Islands Lobster Co., features the perfect Maine coastal scenery of the town’s harbor with lobster boats and islands in the distance. The menu offers everything you’d expect from an authentic lobster shack including a few non-seafood choices.
The unassuming Lobster Shack in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, has lobsters delivered from local fishermen into tanks filled with ocean water. Particular about your lobster roll? No problem. Here, customers are able to customize their order according to how much meat vs. mayo they prefer.
For the full Maine lobster experience, a stop at Shaw’s is a must. Located in New Harbor, not far from Pemaquid Beach, Shaw’s features some of the freshest lobster available. You’ll likely see boats pull up and deliver their catch as you eat. Both outdoor and indoor seating is available.
Slightly off the beaten path but not far from the iconic Portland Head Lighthouse, The Lobster Shack Two Lights on Cape Elizabeth is known for its lobster dinners and gorgeous views of the ocean. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available.
After finishing up your outlet shopping in downtown Freeport, head down the road to Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, to experience a bit of the “real” Maine. Situated steps away from the coast, Harraseeket features authentic lobster dinners, lobster rolls, and other fish dishes.
Located just next to the Kennebunk river, The Clam Shack is a well-beloved staple in these parts. You’ll find a wide range of seafood on the menu, including lobster dinners and lobster rolls served with butter or mayonnaise on round buns.
While Young’s two-story dwelling in Belfast is more restaurant than a shack, the no-frills atmosphere and arrival of lobster boats at the dock signals authentic Maine. You’ll be able to pick out your lobster from the Pound’s 30,000-gallon aquarium and choose from either indoor or outdoor seating.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.