There’s just something special about a vacation to Florida. Maybe it’s the combination of a tropical climate, swaying palm trees, famous attractions, and the generally laid-back atmosphere. The days are fun-filled and beautiful, the nights even more so. But after all the excitement and awe-inspiring sights, every visitor must find a place to eat that complements such an incredible destination. Forget the fancy, foofy, five-star-rated restaurants and the overpriced menus and overinflated egos that go along with them. If you’d like to make your vacation to Florida even more memorable, take your appetite to one of Florida’s seafood dives and get a taste of what makes Florida truly special. After all, Florida seafood is among the best around, and the entire state is dotted with great places to stop in, mingle with the locals, and indulge in some of the best food you’ve ever had—minus the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” outlook.
Must seafood eats
Orlando: Just because Orlando is landlocked doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some hidden treasures of the sea. Check out these local Orlando seafood dives well worth the drive east.
Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
This seafood and oyster bar still offers plenty of other options that didn’t come out of the sea. But if you’re hungry for a waterfront location and an enormous menu of fresh catches, this is your place. Try the platter of steamed seafood that includes oysters, clams, shrimp, and a big plate of tiny broiled scallops.
Sunset Waterfront Grill & Bar
The food is great and you won’t leave without a full belly. But the name says it all. Relax at the bar, sit down in the open-air dining room, or chill out dockside with a frozen cocktail–or shrimp cocktail. Either way, get ready for an incredible atmosphere that captures the essence of a Florida vacation.
Daytona Beach: The Daytona Beach area isn’t all bike events and drive-on beaches. Should you have a craving for Florida seafood, head to this dive for something fried.
JB’s Fish Camp
Here’s another great place to sit back and relax on the river. Try the steamed rock shrimp or anything fried. You can even rent kayaks and splash in the river while you work up an appetite.
St. Augustine: Golfers love Florida seafood too! Sure, St. Augustine hosts some of the best golf in the land, but when it comes to the sea there are a few Florida seafood dives that are worth a shot.
Schooner’s Seafood House
Stop by for a meal or order from their extensive take-out menu. Whatever you choose to do, you’re guaranteed some delicious, lightly-fried seafood like flounder and shrimp, plus an extra-amicable staff who’d love to see ya’.
The Florida Keys: As you might imagine, the Keys are home to some of the world’s best sport fishing. It’s no wonder that Florida Keys seafood and the local dives that serve it offer the freshest catches for any angler’s appetite.
We mentioned five-star rated restaurants before. This is the definition of the dining experience you should definitely enjoy while in the Florida Keys. Five-star flavor, a fun and funky atmosphere and waterfront ambiance make this bright-green beach shack a must. Try the Tater Chip Catch, Teriyaki Tuna, Cracked Conch, or simply start with the Ahi Tuna Plate, complete with fresh sesame seared ahi-grade tuna over Hashami Seaweed with a teriyaki glaze, sriracha sauce and wasabi.
B.O.’s Fish Wagon
Looking for a mind-blowing fish sandwich? B.O.’s Fish Wagon looks more like a hurricane-tattered shack than a wagon, but it doesn’t matter. This is the heart and soul of what Key West is all about. Come by for a leisurely meal with one of the most beloved establishments in the Keys. Oh, and bring cash. Cash is king here.
Miami: Miami and its surrounding cities are known for a lot of things, from dancing your way around South Beach to lavish beach hotels and hangouts. But one thing is for sure. South Florida seafood dives follow suit and serve up awesome food in amazing locations.
Bayside Hut Seafood Restaurant Bar and Grill
There are plenty of expensive, classy seafood joints in the Miami area. But this tiki hut-styled hideaway offers inexpensive fare served on paper plates. Grab a seafood platter and devour it with the Miami skyline front and center during your next vacation to the area.
There you have them, the best seafood dives in five different locations in Florida. You haven’t enjoyed seafood in this state until you’ve been to one of these spots and appreciate them the way the locals do. The more authenticity of local ambience, the more enjoyable the vacation experience, and nothing delivers ambience—and good-tasting seafood—quite the way places like these do.