There are a lot of reasons to visit the Space Coast — hiking in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, swimming and exploring Canaveral National Seashore.
But here’s another good one: Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant.
The unpretentious, sprawling restaurant is nearly always crowded with long waits, and thus it offers lots of benches, shaded areas and fish ponds and fountains to help keep folks amused.
What they’re waiting for is authentic, fresh Florida seafood, some you can’t find anywhere else, such as rock shrimp served in a great variety of ways. (You don’t find fresh Indian River mullet on many menus either.)
The meal starts with popular and addictive hushpuppies — cornball fritters, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
You will hear many people dismiss Dixie Crossroads as a tourist trap filled with kitschy shrimp statues and sun-burnt northerners. They’re right. Others will point out that it’s popular with locals, too, because the food is unique and the place is just fun. They’re right, too.
1475 Garden Street Titusville, FL 32796
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.