7 Delicious Reasons to Visit Florida

Fresh fish, Key lime pie and more make this Southern state the ultimate destination

Take the locals' word for it. They know just where to find the best Key lime pie and the freshest shrimp, and where you can get dinner with a view. Here are some suggestions for where to go, from Jacksonville and Daytona to Miami and Key West, to get the real tastes of Florida.

① Global Fare in Miami

No visit to the Magic City is complete without a visit to Versailles, the famed Cuban restaurant that's nearly 50 years old. But Cuban cuisine is just part of the various global fare from esteemed chefs that you'll find in Miami. At HIDEN, a new secret omakase restaurant tucked behind The Taco Stand, you'll find sushi with ingredients flown in from Japan. And the chef at Obra Kitchen Table, the just-opened restaurant that leans Venezuelan, has a restaurant on Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list. 

② Grouper in Tampa

For a classic grouper sandwich, locals know to go to the tiny (and ironically named) Big Ray's Fish Camp. This vibrant city is host to a world of flavors, which is why you should head to Ulele (located right on Tampa's Riverwalk) for grouper egg rolls, tacos, sandwiches and more.

③ Mofongo in Orlando

Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish with plantains and various additional ingredients, and for the best in the state, check out neighborhood spot Guavate. It's the most popular dish at the restaurant, and once you try it, you'll see why. For a less formal (but equally delicious) experience, combine two Florida staples—food trucks and mofongo—into one at the roving 787 Mofongo. Or try the stuffed mofongo at Pal Campo, a traditional Puerto Rican restaurant where you can catch live music on the weekends.

④ Snapper in Destin

Snapper is the fish of choice in this Emerald Coast city. Be sure to visit Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House, because though oysters are in its name—and you should get those, too—it's the snapper that diners rave about. Those looking for a date-night meal should check out Beach Walk Cafe, where you can get a snapper and a sunset, while the adventurous should do the "hook and cook" special at Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer: You supply the fish, and the chef prepares it for you.

⑤ Fresh-as-Can-Be Seafood in Jacksonville

Every May, there's a shrimp festival on Amelia Island off the coast, where thousands of pounds of the crustaceans are prepared for the many visitors. But year-round, you can get excellent shrimp and grits at The Fish Company on Atlantic Boulevard. Take advantage of Jax's ocean-side location and splurge on a night out at Azurea, where the fish-three-ways dish—a trio of the catches of the day—is a favorite. And for lunch, stop by relative newcomer Poke Cafe, a favorite for fresh poke bowls.

⑥ Dine with an Ocean View in Daytona Beach

After you've spent the day on the pier, there's no better way to enjoy nightfall than with a cocktail at Mai Tai Bar, where happy hour takes a hint from Hawaii. Then, make your way over to Caribbean Jack's for dinner, a perennial favorite where local bands complement the local fish. Drop in at the family-owned Alfie's Restaurant for breakfast the next morning, where, if you're lucky, you'll spot a dolphin or two swimming in the ocean.

⑦ Key Lime Pie in the Keys

There's nothing like a slice of sweet, tangy Key lime pie to keep you refreshed in the tropical atmosphere. Go to the southernmost spot in the U.S. (located in Key West) not only to say you did it, but to make a stop at Blue Heaven, a locally loved oasis that serves a sky-high Key lime pie. For those in Key Largo, visit The Fish House, which will be busy . . . but that's just because everyone knows how good the tangy pie is. Or do it the true local way and stop at a Publix, so you can take your pie straight to the beach for an afternoon snack. Forget what you think you know about supermarket desserts: This one is the real deal.