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How to find the Best Local Restaurants

how to find the best local restaurants

Have you ever been on vacation and wanted to find one of the many great local restaurants that most towns have?  There are some people who love to eat at chain restaurants because they always know what to expect. But there are other travelers like us who want to experience the local color of the hometown favorites. Here are 4 tips to help you find the best local restaurants when you are on vacation.

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How to find the best local restaurants on vacation

4 Tips To  Find The Best Local Restaurants

Talk To The Locals

Ask the hotel clerk. Ask the gas station attendant. Don’t be afraid to ask the people at the visitors center. These people live in the area and will be the best resources to helping you find the best local restaurants. Most locals will be honored that you trust and value their opinion on where to eat. Most people also like talking about themselves and their likes and dislikes. They may even be able to tell you their favorite menu item at that restaurant. People love to share their experiences and may even tell you tips about the best time to go to get the freshest, tastiest meal possible.

Take A Chance

When we travel to a new city, we always look for a local restaurant. Be willing to take a chance on the mom and pop catfish house or the local bakery. It will definitely give you more memories than if you just visit the same restaurant you eat at when you are home. You just might find a treasure.

On our recent trip to Paducah, Kentucky we had the opportunity to eat at some local restaurants and cafes. Gold Rush Cafe offers an assortment of specialty mac and cheese plates and breakfast plates. We tried scotch eggs and the absolutely best bread pudding waffles.

Gold Rush Cafe

Check Social Media

There is a place near Pensacola, Florida that has the best seafood and atmosphere in the whole area. Flounders offers everything from beach volleyball, sandy beaches to enjoy, and a marina to live music, fresh fish and authentic beach decor. This place is amazing!

But how do you find a place like this when you’re on vacation? Use your friends’ knowledge by checking with your Facebook and Instagram friends. Just ask for recommendations and wait for the suggestions to roll in. Then don’t forget to share what you find with your Facebook friends.

Watch The Local TV Station

Sometimes you can find a great local restaurant by watching TV.  The local news anchors or shows may be talking about their local favorites.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Local Restaurants That You Have Discovered While On Vacation?

Looking for another great restaurant idea? Don’t miss Mellow Mushroom!

Mellow Mushroom Paducah Kentucky
ZIP / Address:

IT’Z Pizza

18355 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77070

Tolberts Restaurant & Chili Bar

423 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX 76051

Eureka! Concord

1975 Diamond Blvd C 160, Concord, CA 94520

Fresh Brothers

180 Promenade Way Thousand Oaks, CA 91362


446 W Hillcrest Dr Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Lure Fish House

30970 Russell Ranch Rd Westlake Village, CA 91362

Foster's Donuts

1398 Thousand Oaks Blvd Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Sabor Cancino Mexican

2200 Thousand Oaks Blvd Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Nagoya Sushi

7600 Dr Phillips Blvd #66, Orlando, FL 32819

Crossroads at House of Blues

225 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Ace Cafe

100 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801

Toothsome Emporium

6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819

Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud

119 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Oar House

55 Ceres St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Cody Restaurants

Cody, WY, USA

Experience Maui Brewing Company

605 Lipoa Parkway Kihei, HI 96753

Burger Batch

237 W 5th St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Colonel Sanders Cafe & Museum

688 U.S. 25W, Corbin, KY 40701, USA

Reading Terminal Market

51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Noodles & Company

7020 Old Keene Mill Rd. Springfield, VA 22150

Bob & Edith's Diner

2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

Mike's American Grill

6210 Backlick Road Springfield, VA 22150

Beamers 25

357 Salem Ave. S.W. Roanoke, VA 24016

Crane & Pelican Cafe

127 S 2nd St Le Claire, IA 52753

Smuggler's Wharf

3 State St, Erie, PA 16507

Za's on Devines

1864, 2930 Devine St, Columbia, SC 29205
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Sharon Williams

Sharon Williams is a wife and mom of 3 who loves to get out in the minivan with the GPS, cooler and some snacks. She loves to just see where the road takes her and the family. You never know where they will end up! Favorite places usually involve a hiking trail or a waterfall in Kentucky, Tennessee or beyond.

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(32) Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    Those are all great tips. We usually just end up stumbling on places by accident.

  2. Laura “Lolli” Franklin

    We always try to ask locals for their restaurant recommendations. It makes such a difference!

  3. Deborah A.

    I loved this! We’re about to vacation for two weeks to places we don’t know very well at all. This will definitely come in handy!

  4. Stacey – Seattle Mom Blog

    These are really great tips! The only part of a vacation that’s not fun for me is trying to find a nice place to eat. Thanks!

  5. Dawn

    How cool! I can NEVER find a good restaurant when I go on vacation.

  6. Elizabeth @ Being MVP

    We usually ask the locals to find some good grub. Sometimes we’ll even find a gem while driving around!

  7. Nolie

    The locals hold all the secrets that you can’t find in the vacation books or tourist centres.

  8. Tammi @ My Organized Chaos

    I love sourcing the local restaurants when traveling. We once found this adorable hole in the wall in vegas {no really, that’s the name} – non-touristy like the ones on the main strip and amazing food!

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      That is great! It’s so much fun to find something interesting not everyone else knows about – kind of like a treasure hunt.

  9. Lori Pace

    These are great tips! I am always up for trying the local places out on vacation.

  10. candice

    talking to the locals is a must! thats how you find out about all the best spots!

  11. Chrissy

    These are great tips! Talking to locals seems like a great idea especially. If they frequent a restaurant, I would imagine it has to be good!

  12. Mama to 5 BLessings

    Great tips! I know they have apps for this also, that is helpful.

  13. Shauna

    I have actually had luck using Groupon to find deals to places while on vacation… We save money and find a new place

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      A coupon AND a good restaurant is even better. 😀

  14. Pam

    We make it a point to eat at local restaurants while we are on vacation! Some of our best memories are of great restaurants we found, like Tin Roof Barbecue in Birmingham Alabama!

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      My husband loves barbecue. We will have to try that sometime. 🙂

  15. Chelley @ A is For Adelaide

    I love checking the local paper, as well as the bartender at the hotel where I am staying. I think that just walking around and reading menus (if you’re n a location that allows for that) is such a good way to find a great spot!

  16. Stefani Tolson

    I love finding new local restaurants to try when I am traveling. I also enjoy finding them around my home area too.

  17. Jenn Park

    This is a great post. I remember seeing lots of local recommendations, depending on where you were, on the food network too.

  18. Aimee Smith

    We love to look for places featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! We love hole in the wall places!

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      That’s a great idea. I love the places they check out on that show. 🙂

  19. TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs

    There was one breakfast place we loved and another that offered just bite-sized portions. We use the web to search but we’ve done so much better by asking locals!

  20. Myrah – Coupon Mamacita

    This are great tips and I have experienced a few, due to my extensive past travel ife! I like to experience the culture and their typical restaurants.

  21. Amy Desrosiers

    When my family and I travel, checking social media is the most trustworthy in my opinion. You get a variety of opinions quickly.

  22. Liz Mays

    I’ve received some great tips from the hotel concierge and even limo drivers. I’ve even stopped people in the street to ask for suggestions, and I’ve never been disappointed!

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      That sounds like fun. What a great way to just meet people, too.

  23. lisa

    These are great tips! I love eating local when I travel so I can really experience the whole area.

  24. Ann Bacciaglia

    I love these tips as I love to eat at local places when I am on vacation. Asking around on social media is a great way to get some suggestions.

  25. Inspiring Kitchen

    Such good suggestions for finding local restaurants when on vacation. It is part of the fun to be a local in a new city.

  26. The Future Mrs. Vines

    Great tips! I wish I had seen this before our recent family vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida. We anticipate many more vacations to come, so I’ll definitely save this. I’m a foodie and I love eating at local restaurants versus chains.

    1. Dawn McAlexander

      That’s funny that you mention Panama City Beach, Fl. We actually just got back from there a couple days ago. 🙂


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