8 States That Have the Absolute Best Seafood in America in 2024

Marine biologists discovered a new species of fish for sale at a fish market in the Phillipines.
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Written by Tracy Farnsworth

Published: October 21, 2023

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No matter what seafood tempts your tastebuds, several states provide the best seafood in America. Crab and lobster, shrimp and scallops, and freshwater and ocean fish are on the menu in U.S. states known for high-quality, fresh seafood. Take a journey across America to learn more about the types of seafood that eight different states specialize in.

These are the 8 States That Have the Absolute Best Seafood in America.

Alaska

Macro closeup of man hands holding showing raw sockeye salmon previously frozen fillet storebought at supermarket store from butcher outside

Alaskan salmon is a heart-healthy fish that’s easily identified by its red-orange flesh.

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According to the NOAA, the U.S. has 95,439 miles of coastline. Alaska’s coastline is the largest of them all at 33,904 miles. Surrounded by the Beaufort Sea, Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and the Gulf of Alaska, Alaska welcomes commercial fishing operations and recreation. Anglers and professional fishing outfits have plenty of space to catch Alaskan king crab, snow crab, salmon, and other types of seafood. That’s why Alaska is first on the list of best seafood in America.

Alaska has five types of salmon, and some are in danger of overfishing, so fishing limits apply. However, the spread of disease from farmed fish caused Alaska to ban fish farming in 1990. Farmed salmon and wild salmon are easy to tell apart because wild salmon has bright orangey-red flesh. If it’s a lighter pink color, you have farmed fish and it’s not from Alaska.

Hawaii

Yellowfin tuna

Hawaii’s ahi tuna is generally

yellowfin tuna

, and those fish weigh up to 200 pounds.

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Hawaii only has 1,052 miles of shoreline. However, this doesn’t stop the state from being one of the leading suppliers of ahi tuna. Ahi tuna includes both bigeye tuna and yellowfin. If the yellowfin weighs less than 100 pounds, locals call it “Shibi” instead of ahi.

Poke is a Hawaiian term meaning “crosscut.” This seafood dish has small pieces of raw fish tossed in a sauce. A typical recipe involves tossing the raw fish in soy sauce and sesame oil, before mixing it with other ingredients. Scallions, pickled ginger, vegetables, scallions, and sesame seeds are options.

Louisiana

Fried alligator with chili garlic mayonnaise

Louisiana considers alligators to be a type of seafood.

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Just over 7,720 miles of shoreline provide ample fishing opportunities in Louisiana. When you think about seafood in this state, alligators should be on your list. Alligator meat is classified as a type of fish by the Archbishop of Louisiana, which makes it suitable for Lent. Many Louisiana restaurants serve it fried, and it’s a dish you need to try.

Louisiana is also well-known for Cajun and Creole dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and etouffee. These classic dishes include shrimp and crayfish. In addition, green peppers, tomatoes, okra, onions, rice, and Cajun andouille sausage create the final dish.

Maine

Main lobster fishing

Maine’s lobstering industry is a large source of revenue and jobs for the state.

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Maine lobster is a delicacy that everyone should try at least once. “Poor man’s chicken” aptly described lobster in the past. These “cockroaches of the sea” were plentiful and caught the attention of restauranteurs in the 1800s. Maine’s first lobster pound opened in 1875, and soon Maine lobster grew in popularity. Along the 3,478 miles of coastline, lobster pounds appear in most coastal towns.

However, there is another seafood that Maine’s fishing industry wants people to know about. Monkfish, aka “poor man’s lobster” is a grotesque fish in appearance, but it’s so very tasty. It has a meatier texture and lobster-like flavor, which explains how it got its nickname. But, it’s incredibly versatile and stands up to grilling, poaching, frying, and baking.

Maryland

Blue crab under water walking on sandy bottom

Maryland is famous for its Chesapeake blue crabs, a key ingredient in Baltimore crab cakes.

©Jen Helton/Shutterstock.com

This East Coast state has 3,190 miles of coastline and an abundance of Chesapeake blue crabs in the waters. The blue areas on the shell and claws make it easily recognized. While these crabs are a staple in the state’s seafood industry, oysters and striped bass add to the selection.

Baltimore crab cakes do not skimp on the crab meat. Some crab cake recipes use more breading than crab, but that’s not the case in Baltimore. Saltine crumbs serve as a binder, not a filler.

Massachusetts

Clam chowder chunky creamy seafood soup bowl at shack restaurant with serving as traditional New England dish meal with oyster crackers, coleslaw

A bowl of Boston clam chowder is the perfect start to a hearty seafood dinner.

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Do you prefer a traditional cream-based clam chowder or a tomato-based one? In Boston, New England Clam Chowder with chunks of celery, onion, potatoes, and bacon reigns supreme. It’s a leading reason why Massachusetts is on our list of the best seafood in America.

Scrod is another Massachusetts delicacy, and it’s just small cod or haddock found off the state’s 1,519 miles of coastline. Boston scrod involves coating the fish in seasoned bread crumbs and broiling it until cooked through.

South Carolina

Frogmore Stew in Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina’s low country boil is one of the state’s stand-out dishes.

©Ray Tan/iStock via Getty Images

About 2,876 miles of coastline, including South Carolina’s islands, make this state a giant in the seafood industry. South Carolina is especially known for its abundance of shrimp in the coastal waters.

Shrimp and grits and Low Country boils are two of the state’s best-known dishes. A low country boil is a one-pot meal of shrimp, corn on the cob, red potatoes, and smoked sausage.

Washington

king crab legs meat on white plate

King crab fishing is a lucrative business in Washington, but harvests prove troubling as numbers dwindle.

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Crabbing is a lucrative business and fun pastime in Washington, and king crab is just one of the types of crab you’ll find. Dungeness crab is another popular Washington seafood. As crab numbers decline, it’s important to follow Washington crabbing regulations.

Visitors to Seattle should stop in and see all of Washington’s popular seafood options at Pike Place Fish Market. If it’s off the shores in Washington, you’ll find it at Pike Place.

With such an expansive coastline, every state boasts popular seafood restaurants and fishmongers selling quality seafood. Make it a goal to travel from Maine, down to the Florida Keys and west to California. From there, work your way up the West Coast to Oregon and Washington before visiting Alaska and Hawaii. Sample the best seafood in America in your travels and see if you agree with our picks.


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About the Author

Tracy Farnsworth is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on New England's nature, bodies of water, and mountains. She's been writing and researching these topics for more than 20 years while taking care of a parent with Alzheimer's disease. She certified in project management. A resident of Vermont, Tracy enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with her family, which includes her rat terrier and American shorthair.

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