Maine is the seafood capital of the East Coast. If you want lobster, you get Maine lobsters. Same for fish or scallops and clams or any other seafood you might want. Which is why, if you head up there for a visit, you might want to try a few adjustments on how you go about eating it. There are plenty of restaurants, and you should certainly try them out. But it can also be fun to see if you become a better cook with better ingredients. Here’s a hint: you do.

Follow These 5 Tips To Get The Best Seafood In Maine

1. Hit up the Restaurants

If cooking seafood is something you’re relatively new at, then you can glean inspiration from restaurants. Keep in mind that they’re run by people who have years of cooking experience, so it might be best to get a simple dish to try. Then when you go home to try and cook it, you actually know what it’s supposed to taste like.

If you’re traveling to visit Maine, the restaurant option also lets you grab a bite, get a taste for the seafood, and not have to deal with the cooking. There are plenty of options, but Barnacle Billy’s topped the list for seafood restaurants in Coastal Living Magazine. If you’re traveling to Perkin’s Cove, don’t miss it!

2. Order Local

When you are out to eat or shop, ordering local is always the best option. For starters, it’s easier on the environment and can help to reduce your carbon footprint. But when you’re dealing with fresh seafood, the added benefit is that you’ll actually get fresh seafood. It’s hot off the block, and when you’re buying a dish from someone who lives around seafood, there’s a good chance they know how to cook it!

There’s another reason to order local food. You can eat it guilt free because you know where it came from. A few years ago, there were a few stories about the slave boats of Thailand, where human slave labor was used for the fish bought and sold in America. It’s simple to avoid that and support fair fishing practices when you buy locally prepared dishes.

3. Get it Fresh

If you can get down to the docks when some of the fishermen come in, you’ll have the best chance of snagging excellent, fresh pieces. The sellers should be able to give you come directions about what kinds of fish are easier to cook and what flavors come through the best. You can take the time to really look around and get the best items. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, do a little research ahead of time. Knowing the difference between Bay and Sea Scallops makes it easier to know what vendors to go to, so you can get the best products.

4. Try the Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets all over the country sell fun, homemade twists on old classics. It’s a great opportunity to taste dishes and fish from excellent cooks that might not be able to afford their own restaurant. One of the best aspects of a farmer’s market is that all of your ingredients are going to be fresh, local, and seasonal. That means the fish is fresh of course, but everything else you might want to get will also be top notch. If you’re buying a dish, then you can actually talk to the chef and pick their brain for cooking secrets. You might just learn a thing or two!

5. Maine Lobster Festival

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Maine Lobster Festival. If you go to any festival, go to this one. Lobster is what Maine is known for, and the festival is the best way to try the freshest, most tasty and most unusual dishes available. Of course, everything has lobster in it. But there’s a wide selection of other dishes available, including everything from clams to cobbler. There’s also a cooking contest, so you can watch some masters at work and learn some tricks! This also gives you an opportunity to find some new friends, learn some new games, and get fully immersed in the local culture.

Maine is a warm, welcoming place, even when it’s cold and snowy. For fresh fish, lobster, or shellfish, you won’t find anywhere better on the East Coast. So take a trip, hit up a few attractions, and talk to the locals. You’ll be sure to get the best of the best on a trip you’ll never forget.

Kacey Mya is a travel and lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.