The Best Southern Road Trip for Foodies
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- Austin, TX
- Lafayette, LA
- New Orleans, LA
- Vicksburg, MS
- Memphis, TN
- Nashville, TN
- Decatur, AL
- Savannah, GA
- Charleston, SC
- Roadside assistance
Looking for the scoop on the best places to eat in the South? Here’s a road trip that will take you all the way from Texas barbecue in Austin to Cajun delicacies in Louisiana to classic Southern comfort food in Charleston!
It’s about time for the last road trip of the summer season—and if you’re looking to make it the most delicious one south of Virginia, have we got the road trip for you. This itinerary will take you through some of the best sights—and eats!—of the Gulf Coast, starting in Austin, Texas, and ending in Charleston, North Carolina.
Expect barbecue, Cajun cooking, comfort food with modern twists, and delicious desserts for a sweet ending!
Remember that on any road trip, safety is your first priority. With Jerry’s roadside assistance program, you’ll be covered for emergency assistance, towing, lockouts, and even Uber credits! That way you can drive safely on a full stomach, knowing that you’re covered for almost any eventuality.
Austin, Texas is known mainly for two things: its lively music scene delicious barbecue! Here’s how to make the most of your time there.
- Josephine House ($$): Operated out of a beautiful cottage with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Josephine House is simultaneously cozy and upscale. With local ingredients and delicious breakfast and brunch, this is a must-visit!
- Stubb’s Bar-B-Q ($$): Stubb’s serves up slow-smoked barbecue to die for and doubles as a music venue, having hosted legends like Willie Nelson, James Brown, and Bob Dylan. If you’re looking to experience the best that Austin has to offer, this is the place to be.
- Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts ($$): If you want to get a little crazy with dessert, stop at Gordough’s. Located in a vintage Airstream Trailer, Gordough’s serves up donuts with a twist—like the Mother Clucker, which is topped with fried chicken and honey butter. There’s nowhere else that does donuts like Gordoughs, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime pick in Austin.
Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Austin, TX
Driving time from Austin: 382 miles, 6 hours
Welcome to the Happiest City in America! Lafayette, LA is a historic town dating back to the 18th century. Two centuries later, it’s primarily known as an epicenter of Cajun culture and food.
- Poupart’s Bakery ($$): You could just as easily go to Poupart’s for dessert, but their sweet potato biscuits and other breakfast pastries are not to be missed. Poupart’s is known informally as the best bakery in Lafayette, making it a must-stop for sure.
- Bon Temps Grill ($$): There’s no way you can pass through Lafayette without getting some Cajun cuisine right from the source—and Bon Temps more than delivers. This is the local neighborhood grill, with traditional dishes executed flawlessly at a reasonable price point.
- Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe ($): If you’ve been driving all day in the Louisiana heat, Borden’s is the perfect place to cool down and take a load off. An old-fashioned ice cream parlor, Borden’s serves delicious shakes, floats, and scoops that make for a perfectly sweet ending to the day!
Poupart’s Bakery is ready to serve great treats
New Orleans, LA
Driving time from Lafayette: 135 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes
Looking for some of the best cuisine in the country? In NOLA, you can look forward to lots of food variety, including Cajun, French, and, of course, mouthwatering seafood.
- Nonno’s Cajun Cuisine and Pastries ($): Truly experiencing the South means experiencing all the little eateries along the way. At Nonno’s, locals recommend French toast or the red snapper—though whatever you try, it’ll taste amazing and be served with a smile.
- Barrow’s Catfish ($$): Barrow’s is exactly what it says on the tin—catfish, cooked perfectly, since 1943. But they’ve expanded their menu to include creole options and surf and turf. No matter your taste, you’ll find something to love at the 10th oldest restaurant in New Orleans!
- Southern Candymakers ($$): You absolutely cannot leave New Orleans without trying a traditional praline—but Southern Candymakers also has so much more. You’ll find pralines aplenty, fine chocolates, toffees, and even ice cream.
Praline’s are grinded nuts boiled in sugar
Driving time from New Orleans: 207 miles, 3 hours 15 minutes
Small-town fare for big appetites! If you’re looking to try some classic Southern fare in a town that’s as classic and Southern as it gets, Vicksburg is the perfect place to be.
- The Coffee House Cafe ($): A charming, locally-owned coffee shop, The Coffee House Cafe is a place to relax and enjoy your food! If you’re feeling up for some fun, try your hand at one of the board games available to play—or just sip your coffee and relax as the day begins.
- The Tomato Place ($): This is where to go if you want to see a true mastery of tomatoes, Southern-style. Try the fried tomato BLT or the pork rinds—and take a look at the fresh local produce for sale!
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory ($): If you’ve been looking for all things chocolate, look no further: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has everything you could hope for and more! Whether you try one of their caramel apples or go straight for the chocolate, you won’t regret it.
Stop by the Coffee House Cafe for a cup
Driving time from Vicksburg: 251 miles, 3 hours 40 minutes
Welcome to the city of soul! If you’re looking for blues and rock’n’roll to accompany your meals, you’re in the right place. Here’s how to make sure you hit the spot with your visit!
- The Arcade Restaurant ($$): The Arcade has been around since 1919 and is the oldest cafe in the city. It’s got a hip 1950s look that’s been preserved for almost 70 years! If you want your breakfast with a side of history, The Arcade is a must-visit.
- Central BBQ ($$): No one does barbecue like Tennessee. Central BBQ proves it with ribs that practically fall off the bone and pulled pork sandwiches bursting with flavor. Heads up that there’s a line—so make sure you arrive before the dinner rush!
- La Michoacana ($): This is the best ice cream in Memphis—and possibly in the whole state of Tennessee. You can go for the traditional flavors, why not try something unique like pine nut, guava, or cucumber chili? If you’re looking for a sweet ending to a long day, you can’t do better than La Michoacana.
The Arcade Restaurant in Tennessee
Driving time from Memphis: 212 miles, 3 hours 10 minutes
Get ready for some country music and cooking, y’all! Nashville is known as a country music hot spot, but its biscuits and barbecue are just as famous. Here’s where to go for the best food around.
- Nashville Biscuit House ($$): If there’s one thing you absolutely have to try while you’re in Nashville, it’s the biscuits. A classic hole-in-the-wall, Nashville Biscuit House might not look like much. Inside, though, expect classic Southern food cooked perfectly, fantastic service, and the softest, fluffiest biscuits you’ve ever had.
- Peg Leg Porker BBQ ($$): Not much can beat Tennessee barbecue, and Peg Leg Porker is one of the top! With plenty of patio seating, tender ribs, and the best coleslaw in the city, it’s a must-visit.
- Mattheessen’s ($$): Cookies, cakes, and fudge, and it’s open late? You better believe it! A local institution since 1993, Mattheessen’s is the perfect place to go for delicious desserts—including cookies that are as big as your head.
Peg Leg Porker BBQ in Tennessee
Driving time from Nashville: 116 miles, 1 hour and 40 minutes
Decatur might be a small town, but the food you’ll find here is jam-packed with classic Southern flavor. If you’re looking for the little holes in the wall with the best dishes around, here’s where to go.
- Whisk’D Cafe ($$): With local ingredients and seasonally inspired menus, Whisk’D takes Southern fare and elevates it to another level. The spot is decorated with local art and offers free coffee.
- Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Que ($$): This is one of the holy grails of Gulf Coast barbecue! Started by railroad worker Bob Gibson in 1925, this restaurant is almost 100 years old and is still serving up some of the best ribs, brisket, and pulled pork around. If you’re in Decatur, you absolutely cannot miss Big Bob’s.
- Morgan Price Candy Company ($$): Morgan Price started as a mail-order business in 1987 and has grown into a small-batch chocolatier with a Decatur storefront. If you’re looking for some of the best sweets around, this is the place to go!
Sweet tooths rejoice with Morgan Price Candy Company’s candy
Driving time from Decatur: 480 miles, 7 hours and 10 minutes
If there’s any city that’ll make you feel welcome, it’s Savannah. And if you’re looking for elevated Southern fare alongside your Southern hospitality, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
- 22 Square Restaurant ($$): Shrimp and grits is a classic food just about everywhere in the South, but 22 Square takes it to another level. Here, you’ll find fresh food, friendly staff, and some of the best shrimp and grits around.
- The Grey ($$$): The Grey is pricey, but it’s more than worth it to taste the food! Not only will their elevated Southern fare be some of the best you’ve tasted, but they take Southern hospitality to a new level. Expect to feel right at home as you’re eating food worthy of a master chef.
- Lulu’s Chocolate Bar ($$): If you’re looking for delicious desserts and some over-21 fun, check out Lulu’s Chocolate Bar! A bakery, bar, and restaurant all in one, Lulu’s offers delicious drinks and baked goods. If you’ve got a sweet tooth to satisfy, this is the place to do it.
Strawberry pie dessert at The Grey in Georgia
Driving time from Savannah: 107 miles, 2 hours
And suddenly, here you are in Charleston. With fresh seafood and a culinary scene on the rise, you won’t lack for food that makes the end of a trip taste a little less bitter.
- Virginia’s on King ($$): If you’re in the mood for a delicious traditional breakfast elevated to new Charleston heights, you can’t miss Virginia’s on King. This is the place to be for a true down-home Southern breakfast that will leave you energized for the day ahead.
- Hannibal’s Kitchen ($): For Charleston seafood and barbecue, you can’t beat Hannibal’s Kitchen. This spot is a little off the beaten path, but you’ll find delicious food (at a reasonable price!) and a beautiful interior with lots of art on the walls.
- Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar ($$): An Italian dessert place in the middle of Charleston? You’d better believe it. Carmella’s is located in one of the most famous culinary districts of Charleston and serves pastries, cakes, and cookies.
Virginia’s on King’s breakfast is just what you need
Why you need roadside assistance and great insurance
Before you eat your way through the South, make sure you’re covered for any non-food-related emergency. With Jerry’s roadside assistance program, you’ll get everything from tows and tire changes to lockout assistance and Uber credits.
And you can never be too careful when it comes to safety—so before you hit the open road, make sure that your car insurance is up to date!
For cheap car insurance quotes fast, get Jerry. A licensed broker that offers end-to-end support, Jerry gathers affordable quotes, helps you switch plans, and will even help you cancel your old policy. That way, you can save your paycheck for some of those delicious pit stops on your trip!
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