If there’s one thing that says summer in southern Rhode Island, it’s walking off the beach and straight to an outdoor clam shack. That plate of piping hot fried clams (or scallop roll or fried shrimp... just don’t order chicken fingers) is the quintessential taste of summer in the Ocean State. That’s why it’s first on this list.
In Galilee, Point Judith supplies fresh fish for the entire state. Watch those boats come in from either of the two venerable restaurants directly off Salty Brine Beach: Champlin’s and George’s of Galilee. The takeout window at George’s allows you to carry your order back to your beach chair; the casual deck at Champlin’s means you can easily go there in your bathing suit without raising any eyebrows. The same goes with Monohan’s at Narragansett Town Beach – it’s an easily walkable distance, and all of the seating is outdoors. If you’re at Scarborough, though, you’ve got a tough choice. Aunt Carrie’s, with its ocean views and 90-plus years of serving quintessentially Rhode Island food, or Iggy’s, with its convenient walk-up window and irresistible doughboys. You’ve got a whole season in front of you – go to both.
In Wickford, Beach Rose Café serves fried seafood. While it isn’t technically a clam shack, it does offer quick takeout service and outdoor seating on the town dock. That’s close enough – and a good choice if you’re looking to avoid the beach crowd. In Charlestown, try the stuffies at Johnny Angel’s; in Watch Hill, the place to go is St. Clair Annex.