waterfront restaurants boston, lobster on picnic table
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When the weather is perfect and you get the urge to jump in the car for an outdoor dinner that includes ocean views, Boston is the place to be. These waterfront restaurants are perfect for the whole family and are just a hop, skip, and a jump from Boston — and some are even commuter rail or ferry boat accessible! All of these places offer either a kids menu or kid-friendly offerings.

Belle Isle Seafood


Belle Isle Seafood’s lobster rolls are famous and have landed on many “best of” lists over the years. This restaurant has also been visited by several food shows! Belle Isle has outdoor seating overlooking the water and is just over the line from East Boston in Winthrop. If you are a parent who loves a good lobster roll but have kiddos who turn their noses up at seafood, have no fear — you’ll find chicken fingers, burgers, and hot dogs here, too.

Tides Restaurant


Nahant is a quick drive across the causeway from Lynn, and in the summer months Tides sets up picnic tables overlooking the ocean. You can watch the surfers and kiteboarders while you wait for your food to arrive! Or, if your kids are like my son, they can identify the planes preparing to land at Logan and make up stories about where the planes have been! Tides also has a porch room that opens in the spring — another spot to enjoy a kid-friendly space with a beautiful view. This restaurant offers a solid kids menu that includes ice cream.

Mission on the Bay


There is a stretch along the North Shore in Swampscott that offers oceanfront views and the Boston skyline in the distance. Mission on the Bay is a great place to enjoy this view from the oceanfront roof deck! (During the off season, the beautiful dining room is great, too.) This restaurant offers a kids menu with a range of options, including fish and chips, mac and cheese, pasta, and burgers. If you prefer to sit at the park across the street — which has swings, benches, and a gazebo — try the takeout window in the summer. And if you want to skip the drive to the coast, you can hop on the Commuter Rail and walk from the Swampscott station.

The Barnacle


This is a great spot to watch a storm roll in! If sunshine and cool ocean air with a view of Marblehead lighthouse is your thing, The Barnacle has you covered. You can enjoy the deck during the summer months and watch the sailboats cruise by. They offer a “deckhands” menu for those 12 and under, and if you can’t grab an outdoor table or you realize the kids need to run around a bit, order your meal to go and head over to Fort Sewall for a picnic dinner. (Fort Sewall does have public restrooms!)

The Landing


The Landing is located on Marblehead harbor. Their deck is bustling during the warm and sunny months. The kids will love checking out the boats cruising into the harbor — and watching the delivery trucks picking up fresh-off-the-boat seafood. In addition to the kind and welcoming staff, this restaurant offers a nice kids menu, too. 



Longboards in Salem’s Pickering Wharf has been around for a decade and recently moved into new digs that offer outdoor seating on the deck. They have a laid back atmosphere where children are more than welcome — they even have shuffleboard and arcade games! If you want to make it a car-free adventure, take the Salem Ferry from Boston and spend the day in Salem. Longboards is a half-mile walk from the Salem terminal.

Legal Harborside

Boston Seaport

When it comes to waterfront restaurants in Boston, this one’s a classic. If you are seeking a nicer night out with the family, this is a good place for that! Legal Harborside has a recently refreshed kids menu and outdoor seating with a view. If the kids need a break from sitting, it is easy to take a stroll and rejoin the table once some of the wiggles are out. 

Sullivan’s Castle Island


Who doesn’t love a trip to Sullivan’s at Castle Island? Yes, this is a takeout spot and not a sit-down restaurant, but it’s perfect for a waterfront picnic lunch or dinner in Boston! Let the kids run around at the playground or down on the sand. Then take a break and enjoy that ocean-side dinner! You can place your order online ahead of time to skip the line. I can taste the raspberry lime rickey now… 

Bay Pointe


Bay Pointe has a beautiful deck on Quincy’s waterfront to be enjoyed on a beautiful summer night. And, if lunch is more your family’s vibe, Bay Pointe is a great midday spot! 

Garden Patch by the Sea


This spot came recommended to me as a family-friendly restaurant that not only features waterfront views close to Boston, it also includes vegan options! Nice! They have a wide variety of food choices ranging from burgers and fries to pasta, apps, sandwiches, pizza, seafood, and tacos. There is something for everyone!

Tony’s Clam Shop


Tony’s Clam Shop is a great spot on Quincy’s historic Wollaston Beach! Enjoy some delicious fried clams or a lobster roll and a cold beverage in a family-friendly environment. Tony’s is celebrating its 60th year in business this summer!

Shipwreck’d at Pemberton Point


The beloved Shipwreck’d is Hull’s official lobster and clam shack! The seafood is fresh and locally sourced, and the views of the water from the patio can’t be beat. This is a great location to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view after hitting the beach with your family!

East Bay Grille


East Bay Grille is located on Plymouth’s Town Wharf, and it’s just right for celebrating a special occasion! Take note, the preferred dress is business casual with no hats or sleeveless shirts for the guys after sundown. Their kids menu offers the usual fare and also includes ice cream to finish off the meal — that bonus is always a winner!

Sara Noone
Sara was raised in Connecticut and after a few years of enjoying West Coast living in San Francisco, she landed in Boston in 2003 for graduate school. Sara is a Clinical Social Worker who has worked in a variety of roles with children, families and adults. After several years working in community mental health, in 2012, Sara started a psychotherapy practice and she also continues to wear the hat of being a School Counselor. In 2009, she met her future husband — a North Shore native, who loved studying history, coaching hockey & being a teacher— a kindhearted guy with witty sense of humor. After several years of being a duo, they joyfully welcomed their beautiful son in 2017. In 2019, Sara and her son experienced a devastating and life-changing loss with the unexpected death of her husband. She believes in the importance of normalizing grief and talking about the hard parts of life, while also embracing joy. She has always loved cooking and trying new recipes. Sara and her son live in Swampscott. During the summer months they can be found at the beach, going on adventures, chasing down the ice cream truck, relaxing on their front porch and hanging out with family and friends. They love all that living in a coastal North Shore town has to offer!


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