A beachside getaway isn't more than an hour away for Orlandoans — traffic permitting, of course — with Volusia County's beaches and the Space Coast being the most proximate.
Along this shoreline, beachside bar and grills are a dime a dozen, but the five seaside (and seaside-adjacent) spots featured here aren't just places to take in the ocean air — they're places to experience a memorable meal.
Spanish River Grill
Henry and Michelle Salgado are culinary royalty in NSB, so when the James Beard Award semifinalists resuscitated the concept that started it all for them after a six-year absence, coastal folk were rightfully excited. Version 2.0 serves a bevy of tapas, raciones, pinxtos and Basque favorites that made the original a draw — everything from tortilla espanola to lamb loin chop to pulpo a la gallega. Old Spanish wines and paellas are also offered. 1518 S. Dixie Freeway, New Smyrna Beach; 386-957-4788; instagram.com/spanishrivergrill
Rusty's Seafood & Oyster Bar
Enjoying heaping plates of seafood on Rusty's enormous outdoor deck in full view of the massive floating cities leaving port is an exercise in superlatives. Here's another — it's the best place to eat in Port Canaveral. The fresh catch is always your best bet, but snack on chili-lime oysters, coconut shrimp or steamed snow crab legs while you wait. And never skip the Key lime pie. Rusty's happens to be a great spot to watch rocket launches, too. 628 Glen Cheek Drive, Cape Canaveral; 321-783-2033; rustysseafood.com
JT's Seafood Shack
After Hurricane Matthew forced the closure of beloved seafood and live music haunt Matanzas Innlet Restaurant, this beloved seafood and live music haunt 10 minutes south of the Matanzas Inlet Bridge on A1A helped cushion the blow. A menu of (what else?) fresh seafood lures them in — the seafood boil of snow crab, clams, mussels, shrimp, sausage, potato and corn is a must — while beneath the giant oaks outside, live acts keep them lingering. So does the fried banana cheesecake. 5224 N. Oceanshore Blvd., Palm Coast; 386-446-4337; jtseafoodshack.com
Wild Ocean Seafood Market
They make an impression with locals at the Audubon Park Community Market, but Wild Ocean's sprawling facility in Titusville is a seafood lover's dream. No, it doesn't have an ocean view, but their catch is as ocean-fresh as it gets. Have a seat in the eat-in area and feast on steamed rock shrimp and fried blue crab before having the catch of the day prepared any way you like. And don't go home empty-handed — the market is just too good to ignore. 688 S. Park Ave., Titusville; 321-269-1116; wildoceanmarket.com
When it comes to roadside burger stands in Central Florida, none matches the vibe of this Brevard County institution. They've been at it since 1952, offering curbside service long before it became de rigueur during the pandemic. And they're still doing it long after most restaurants have stopped offering the service. Just pull up, turn on your lights, roll down the windows and wait for the smashing smashburgers and shakes to be delivered. In a sign the Burger Inn is keeping with the times, an Impossible Burger option is also offered. And don't sleep on the funnel cake (literally or figuratively). 1819 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne; 321-254-2211; facebook.com/theburgerinn