Editor’s note: Quorum derives no benefit from businesses for placement in this article.
For classic car owners and aficionados, the open road equals adventure as you try new things, explore different parts of the country and, of course, taste the local cuisine. If delicious food is your favorite part of traveling, why not plan a road trip specifically for your taste buds. Food trails that showcase regional specialties have popped up all over the U.S., thanks to local and state tourism boards. They make it easier than ever to discover new places to visit for the fun of the drive and the food.
To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak peek at some food trails centered around three popular fares.
Bounty from the Sea
If your mouth waters at the thought of local, fresh-caught and cooked-to-perfection seafood, consider hitting the road along one of these routes:
Alabama’s Crave the Coast Trail.
Crave the Coast’s description says it all: “In restaurants casual and upscale, a new crop of culinary darlings is taking prized fresh, wild Alabama seafood in many deliciously unexpected directions.” This trail features five restaurants that span breakfast, lunch and dinner fare in the coastal cities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.
Louisiana’s Seafood Sensation Trail
One of eight culinary trails in Louisiana, Seafood Sensation runs along the state’s southwest coast where “there’s great fishing, oystering, shrimping and crabbing, and the bounty of the waters, of course, finds its way onto the menus of many local restaurants.” It features five eateries in Lake Charles, as well as a farmer’s market, a few brewing companies and even a gourmet ice cream shop.
Maryland’s Crab and Oyster Trail
According to the state tourism office, “Southern Maryland abounds with quintessential crab houses and wharves that echo traditions from yesteryear.” The Maryland Crab and Oyster Trail includes dozens of local seafood joints located along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where you can also explore five area lighthouses.
South Carolina’s Lowcountry Oyster Trail
The Lowcountry Oyster Trail beckons you to “savor the exciting sea-to-fork culinary movement in a whole new way while creating your very own Lowcountry experience.” It features 10 eateries dubbed as hidden gems and favorite local hangouts from Charleston to Hilton Head along the South Carolina coast.
Battle of the Barbeques
If you’re craving a taste of smoked beef, chicken, pork or mutton, then one of these barbeque-based food trails is up your alley:
Alabama’s Pork, Blues and Inner Tubes Trail
Not sure which type of barbeque is your favorite? This tour of Alabama barbeque lets you taste a variety of different kinds, including:
- Pit-roasted chicken marinated with Alabama’s mayo-based white sauce in Decatur
- Pork barbeque and hot slaw in Florence
- Ribs in a vinegar-based sauce in Tuscaloosa
- Pulled pork in Birmingham
Great Coastal Texas Barbeque Trail
When it comes to Texas barbeque, it’s all about brisket and ribs. The Great Coastal Texas Barbeque Trail takes you to five barbeque joints whose historic buildings and multi-generational ownership help tell the story of Texas itself. It all takes place in Victoria, a city established in 1824 that’s located due south of Austin along the state’s coastal plain.
Western Kentucky BBQ Trail
As the state tourism board explains, “Western Kentucky ‘cue famously features pit-cooked mutton, sliced paper-thin and topped with a variety of ‘dips’,” which include vinegar- and Worcestershire-based sauces. Stretching from Louisville to Paducah, the Western Kentucky BBQ Trail features 18 restaurants, which serve mutton, pork and chicken barbeque.
North Carolina’s Historic Barbeque Trail
Dubbing itself the cradle of ‘cue, North Carolina features two distinct styles of barbeque. In the eastern part of the state, whole hogs are cooked in a smoker and served with a vinegar-based sauce. Smoked hog shoulder in a tomato-based sauce is served in western North Carolina. Decide which is your favorite as you visit the 19 restaurants dotting the North Carolina Historic Barbeque Trail.
Burgers, Burgers, Burgers
Let’s not forget the American classic. Yes, these trails are dedicated to hamburgers:
Indiana’s Between the Buns Burger Trail
Take your pick of the 52 burger joints that make up the Between the Buns Burger Trail in Indiana. From South Bend and Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and Terra Haute, “locals love the places on this trail and many have become legends.”
New Mexico’s Amazing Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail
This western state is quick to admit it didn’t invent the hamburger, but takes full credit for adding “green chili and making it hot.” The Amazing Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is an interactive map of two dozen restaurants across New Mexico where you can feast on this interesting burger twist.
Utah’s Burgers and Beyond Trail
Utah boasts seven culinary trails, including its Burgers and Beyond Trail that introduces you to “the region’s fresh flavorful beef and bison.” Centered around Salt Lake City, the four eateries on this tour each serve up burgers in their own special way.
The truly adventuresome can explore more than one of these food trails and decide which one reigns supreme.