For cheap, native eats, try the Lighthouse (7600 Hwy. 19, 352-463-2644) on the Suwannee River in Fanning Springs—population: 800. Portions are big, and a plate of deviled crab or fried oysters with side salad, hush puppies, and grits is $14.50. If you’re late to be on the river, request that the cook pack your food to go.
Huckleberry's (7440 Hwy.19; 352-463-0355), across the street from Fanning Springs State Park, serves tender-as-butter southern-style chicken, pork, and ribs, rubbed with spices, then slow-cooked on oak wood. Sides include rich coleslaw, fried green tomatoes, and homemade shortcakes. Load up on napkins, and eat at one of the picnic table outside the restaurant or in the park.
If you want a step up from the seafood shack, Fiddler’s in Steinhatchee has table service and a more traditional restaurant feel. Pair your grilled shrimp with one of the solid California wines available. Or, if you’ve been fishing, the cook will cheerfully cook your catch.
Don't bother with shoes or shirt at the Keaton Beach Hot Dog Stand (21239 Keaton Beach Dr.; 850-578-2675) in Perry. A massive faux shark head is mounted on top of the stand, teeth bared, but the decent dogs and fresh grouper sandwiches are even more memorable. Have a picnic on the nearby Keaton Beach—one of the only strips of sand in the Big Bend area.