With 153 645 km of coastline and the warm, bountiful Indian & Pacific oceans, seafood is as part of the culture of the USA than rodeos and the Statue of Liberty. You can hardly move in some towns without coming across a restaurant that claims to have the best signature seafood dish. This, and more, is celebrated in the best seafood festivals in the USA.
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Life in the state Maine is slower than New York, but is always on the go. To cater for this lifestyle, sandwiches are a popular street food. Embracing the fact that seafood is another staple in the state, Maine came up with the idea of the lobster sandwich. This, and the sustainability that goes into a highly regulated industry (when it comes to fishing) are celebrated in a five-day festival that highlights the beauty of lobsters.
Date: end of July – beginning of August
Venue: various restaurants in Maine.
Cuisine: Seafood (particularly lobster)
Things to do: Around The Peninsula Bike Tour, A Walk Through Time Tour in Portland, and a Windjammer Classic Sunset Sail.
Tourist attractions: the Rockland lighthouse
Places to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Rockland, 250 Main Hotel, the Rockland Harbor Hotel.
Organisers: Maine Lobster Festival Organising Committee
Price: general admission tickets start from $100
Charlestown (Rhode Island) played an important role in the early settlement of the USA has it was home to many of the settlers that came to the USA on the Mayflower. Being a coastal town, seafood played an important role in the diet and economic activity of the town. This is celebrated in the annual three day seafood festival which has everything from lobster to seafood chowder on the menu.
Venue: Ninigret Park, Charlestown, Rhode Island.
Things to do: Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown Town Beach, East Beach.
Tourist attractions (Rhode Island): the Providence Performing Arts Center, the Rhode Island State House, and The Breakers.
Places to stay: the Winnapaug Inn, the Aquastar Inn, and the Shelter Harbor Inn.
Organisers: Charlestown Seafood Festival Organising Committee.
What started out as a group of guys wanting to throw a party for 1 000 of their closest friends turned into one of the most visited seafood festivals on the east coast. While lobster is the main fare that you will find at the festival, the Battle of the Shuckers is an oyster shucking contest that comes with a $500 prize for the winner. While it is only a one day event, there is plenty of fun to be had.
Venue: Boston Waterfront
Things to do: the Freedom Trail, the Museum of Science, and the Samuel Adams Brewery.
Tourist attractions: Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
Places to stay: The Farrington Inn, Boston Park Plaza, and the Sheraton Boston Hotel.
Organisers: The Boston Seafood Festival Organising Committee.
Price: $20 (General Admission)
Taking a different approach to a seafood festival, the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival is held at various restaurants across the Hampton Beach village district. Seafood favourites such as fried clams, shrimp, and lobster are common on all menus and you may be lucky to pick up a cooking tip or two during the festival. It is easy to see why this festival is so popular.
Venue: Various restaurants in the Hampton Beach village district.
Things to do: the Blue Ocean Discovery Center, the Ocean Gaming Casino, and the Smuttynose Brewing Company.
Tourist attractions: Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium, Hampton Airfield, and Tuck Museum.
Places to stay: Atlantic Breeze Suites, Ships Inn, and Ashworth by the Sea.
Organisers: The Hampton Beach Seafood
Price: Prices vary at different restaurants.
Famous for its crawfish, fried catfish and jambalaya, it is easy to see why the Louisiana Seafood Festival is one of the top seafood festivals in the United States. Held over Labour Day Weekend (first weekend of September), tourists may just be recovering from their Mardi Gras hangovers in time to join another celebration of creole culture.
Date: Labour Day Weekend (first weekend in September).
Venue: Woldenberg Park, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Things to do: various bars and restaurants join in the festivities. There are also plenty of street parties for festival attendees to join.
Tourist attractions: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the French Quarter, and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
Places to stay: Club Wyndham La Belle Maison, Blue60 Marigny Inn, and French Quarter Delight 1.
Organisers: the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.
Price: $10 – $65.
If you enjoy seafood, then visiting the best seafood festivals in the USA should be at the top of your bucket list. And with historically significant cities such as Boston and New Orleans hosting these evets, there will be plenty for you to enjoy outside of the festivals.