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10 Road Trip Food And Drink Destinations Across The South You Should Sample This Summer

by Staff

A road trip through the south means barbecue, friendly faces, fresh air, and a killer playlist to sing along to as the world cruises by. This list is dedicated to five of the most incredible cities across America’s south. Travelers will learn where to eat, sleep, and, most importantly, where to have an ice-cold drink along the way. There are a ton of essential stops to hit when road-tripping the Southern USA, but we’ve narrowed down the search so visitors don’t have to.

From Music City, Nashville, Tennessee, to Birmingham, Alabama, a city called ‘The Dinner Table of the South, ‘ we’ve left no menu left unturned. Travelers should loosen their belts and buckle up for a trek through some of the best dining, and lodging America has to offer with a side of that famed southern hospitality. Here are 10 of the top “pull over worthy” southern destinations for a summer road trip in 2023.

Related:10 Unique Things To Do In Southern US States

10 Birmingham, Alabama, Is A Breakfast Lover’s Paradise

Via: Biscuit Love

Biscuit Love Puts Love In Every Bite

Check out Biscuit Love’s latest location in Birmingham, AL. Karl and Sarah Worley are a married couple that opened the original Biscuit Love in Nashville. Alabamans are happy that their biscuits made with love have traveled even further south. Every item is made from scratch and the Worley’s are dedicated to giving back to the communities their restaurants are built in.

After breakfast, visitors here should explore The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute which is a museum and research institution that is full of powerful exhibits depicting black and white existence in Alabama from the 1800s until now. This museum is a must-see for any traveler that passes through Birmingham.

9 In Birmingham, Travelers Say Hola To Adiõs

Jesús Serves Up A Delicious Cocktail At Adiõs 
Via: Adiõs 

Jesús Serves Up A Delicious Cocktail At Adiõs

After checking out all of the awesome things, Birmingham has to offer, travelers will be ready for a margarita at Adiõs. Inspired by the vibrant energy and spirit of Mexico City this gorgeous cocktail bar in the heart of Birmingham is a vacation from a vacation. Adiõs focuses on Mexican-made-and-grown spirits and ingredients in a gorgeous environment brimming with artwork that celebrates the owners’ Latino heritage. José Medina Camacho and Jesús Méndez were born in Mexico and immigrated to Alabama in the 90s, and they have worked in the food and beverage industry ever since. Adiõs is a slice of their home that everyone is welcome to enjoy.

8 A Barbecue Battle In Charleston, South Carolina

Martin's Bar-B-Que Ribs Fresh Out of The Smoker
Via: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Ribs Fresh Out of The Smoker

Charleston is an idyllic southern city where culture and coastal charm collide. Established in 1670, Charleston is known for Spanish moss crawling up Antebellum mansion walls, cobble-stoned streets, horse-drawn carriages, and two particular barbecue destinations that are finger-lickin’ good. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint honors the southern ritual of a whole hog barbecue served with traditional sides. Martin’s has 10 locations across the south so if travelers miss out in South Carolina, they needn’t worry. Hugh-Baby’s BBQ & Burger Shop prides itself on delivering delicious food and warm-Southern hospitality. Oh, and killer Memphis-style barbecue, burgers, and hand-spun shakes. Travelers will have a hard time leaving The Holy City, which is a barbecue Mecca.

Related:15 Roadtrips We All Would Take In The US (10 To Do In Canada Instead)

7 Saloon 16 Knoxville, Tennessee, Was Built With MVPs In Mind

Saloon 16's Gorgeous Dining Room and Bar
Via: Saloon 16

Saloon 16’s Gorgeous Dining Room and Bar

Knoxville is a lovely town that offers arts, adventures, and more. Knoxville doubles as an outdoor destination for travelers that love hiking, swimming, biking, and more. Visitors should check out Ijams Nature Center to enjoy Knoxville’s beautiful backyard for a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Travelers should end a perfect day spent in the great outdoors at Peyton Manning’s western-inspired Saloon 16 for a cold beer and heightened bar food surrounded by an amazing collection of football memorabilia.

  • Menu: Saloon 16
  • Address: 1706 Cumberland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37916

6 Stay At Graduate Knoxville For Some Old Fashioned Southern Hospitality

Graduate Hotel Lobby
Via: Graduate Hotel

The beautiful lobby of the Graduate Hotel in Knoxville.

Graduate Knoxville is a funky hotel located steps from the University of Tennessee and their famed Neyland Stadium. For visitors that hope to catch a game, Graduate Hotel is a fabulous choice. Knoxville is a football town, and any game day is a sight to behold. After watching the UT Volunteers score a victory, travelers can head back to this super stylish boutique hotel near all the best Knoxville has to offer. When in town, visitors should go out to Market Square Farmers’ Market to pick up local delicacies for their pregame festivities.

5 RT Lodge In Maryville, Tennessee, Is The Place To Be!

A Meal Cooked Up By Chef Stockton At RT Lodge
Via: RT Lodge

A Meal Cooked Up By Chef Stockton At RT Lodge

For those keen to explore the Great Smoky Mountains, look no further than Maryville, TN. The best place to sleep, eat, and have direct access to the great outdoors is RT Lodge. Located within the verdant forests of East Tennessee, RT Lodge is a glorious getaway for the whole family. The property is a monument to relaxation and may seduce travelers into exploring the grounds and its facilities over the surrounding area.

Visitors can’t miss the succulent buttermilk fried chicken cooked up by Trevor Stockton at The Restaurant at RT Lodge. Chef Stockton sources all of his ingredients from the surrounding area. After dinner, enjoy some s’mores around a crackling fire creating memories that will last a lifetime.

4 You’ll Be Nashville’s Next Singing Sensation At Cross-Eyed Critters

Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole In Nashville Is An Amazing Place To Hear Future Country Music Superstars
Via: Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole

Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole In Nashville Is An Amazing Place To Hear Future Country Music Superstars

Nashville is Music City, USA, and after line dancing down the main street to local superstars, it will be time for travelers to find their way to the stage. Located within the Graduate Hotel Nashville Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole is a wild karaoke bar where those brave enough to sing will be supported by three animatronic musical instruments plucking wild animals. A cool new spin on southern dive bars and honky tonks, Cross-Eyed Critters, is an influencer’s fever dream. In Nashville, ice-cold beer always goes great with a side of Patsy Cline!

Related:Southern States Do It Best, Supposedly: The Best Breakfasts In Nashville

3 A Restaurant With Delicious Food And A Conscience

lou's Lovely Patio Seating And Backyard
Via: lou

lou’s Lovely Patio Seating And Backyard

Nashville is known for more than just country music; it is also one of the top culinary towns in America. Located in a lovingly restored 1930s craftsman, house lou is a dreamy date night destination. Owner and chef Mailea Weger strikes a balance between Californian cuisine and Old-World European style in her intimate restaurant. A seasonal rotating menu that is veggie-forward makes for a heightened healthy-ish option in East Nashville. Weber also cares deeply about the local region and hosts community bake sales to support Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Thistle Farms.

  • Address: 1304 McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37216
  • Menu: lou

2 It’s Always A Good Idea To Head To Bad Idea

Elvis may have been the king of Music City, but Alex Burch is the king of wine over in Nashville. He is opening Bad Idea in Spring 2023, and it will be a restaurant focused on its wine menu. Alex will be offering classes and regional dinners to customers. Dinner and late-night munchies will be served up by local celebrity Laotian-American chef Colby Rasavong. Bad Idea is in a former church sanctuary in East Nashville which is the hippest neighborhood in town. Seasonal ingredients, a wine menu to write home to Mom about, what more could a traveler need?

1 St. Vito Focacciaria, Because Country Music Goes Great With A Slice Of Pizza

After a day spent discovering Nashville’s rhythm and soul at its most important musical landmarks, travelers will have worked up an appetite. St. Vito Focacciaria is a Sicilian pizza restaurant opening in early 2023 where Chef Michael Hanna has perfected a crisp sourdough base that is a vessel for farm-fresh ingredients. Visitors will enjoy feeling right at home while munching on world-class pizza and a rotating list of cocktails, wine, and beer. After dinner, it’s back to the honky tonks and singing along to Miranda Lambert.

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