The Best Places to Stop for Road Trip Snacks in the South
Experience the rich food culture of the Southern states by stopping for juicy fried chicken, fruit-filled fried pies and more at these local favorites.
Photo By: Courtesy of Buc-ee's
Photo By: Courtesy of The Best Stop Supermarket
Photo By: Courtesy of Twistee Treat
Photo By: Courtesy of Whataburger
Photo By: Courtesy of Hruska’s Bakery
Photo By: Courtesy of PDQ
Photo By: Courtesy of Robert Is Here
Photo By: Courtesy of Jack’s
Photo By: Courtesy of Danny & Clydes at Food-N-Fun
Photo By: Courtesy of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
Multiple locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas
What began in Texas in the early '80s as a reliable road stop for fuel and the "world’s cleanest restrooms" has transformed into a highly regarded destination for hearty snacks and hot and cold beverages among road trippers in the South. Along with made-to-order barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs and loaded tacos, Bucc-ee’s has rows of packaged snacks like trail mix, dried fruit, gummy candies, beef jerky and fudge. Its famed beaver nuggets (airy corn puffs that are less sinister than they sound) are a perfect snack for long car rides. With its doe-eyed beaver mascot and witty sayings splashed across billboards along the interstate for miles on end, the anticipation of getting to Bucc-ee’s is half the fun.
The Best Stop Supermarket
The journey to and from Texas and Louisiana is a popular one in the South, and one that should definitely include a stop at The Best Stop Supermarket, located right off of Interstate-10 in the small town of Scott, Louisiana. This family-owned market is known for its wide variety of specialty meats, including beef tongue, stuffed quail and marinated rabbit. It also allows visitors to score snacks on the go, like deep-fried fresh boudin balls and the famous cracklins that are chunky, cube-sized pieces of golden pork skin that are coated in the market’s proprietary seasoning.
Multiple locations in Florida and Texas
Florida-based creamery Twistee Treat is a festive destination to cool down with homemade soft-serve ice cream between long stretches of the road. The brand’s 25-foot-tall ice cream cone-shaped structures are hard to miss and offer Insta-worthy moments galore. Guests order through a window and can choose from nostalgic sweet frozen treats like swirled soft serve in dipped cones, velvety milkshakes and malts, hot fudge sundaes and twirls (ice cream blended with nuts, chocolate and candy).
Multiple locations in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas
Texans will argue with stone-cold certainty that Whataburger reigns supreme when it comes to hamburgers. The fast-food chain, which dates back to the 1950s when its first location opened in Corpus Christi, has become synonymous with Texas, but is a must-try destination on a Southern road trip. Always cooked to order, Whataburger’s beef patties are served on a toasted 5-inch bun and can be topped with bacon, cheese, jalapenos and more. You can hit the drive thru or dine in, but be prepared to spend time perusing the menu. Here, the taquitos, patty melt and honey barbecue chicken strip sandwich on thick slices of Texas toast are every bit as good as a Whataburger.
Central Texas has long attracted visitors for its world class barbecue, but the area is rich in kolache culture as well. Hruska’s is located in the tiny town of Ellinger between Houston and Austin and is the place to get your fill. Sweet and savory versions of the fluffy Czech pastry are baked onsite from the same recipes that have been used by the shop for more than 50 years. You’ll find doughy pillows filled with everything from cream cheese and cherries to spicy homemade sausage and sauerkraut. Arriving early is a good idea because the kolaches often sell out, but you can also call ahead to reserve your favorites.
Multiple locations in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina
PDQ stands for "people dedicated to quality" and that’s what you’ll find at these top-notch fast-food spots that are wildly popular thanks to hand-breaded chicken tenders, homemade dipping sauces and hand-spun milkshakes. The hormone-free chicken is never frozen and is served in a bunch of different ways: on a toasted potato bun, in a bowl or salad loaded with vegetables or simply with sauces like sweet sriracha and honey barbecue. Sides include hard-to-resist fries and tots, plus some less-guilt options like Parmesan broccoli, chile-lime corn and black beans with rice.
Robert Is Here
With chicken fried goodness and sugary sweet treats available at every turn, road trip snacking can be a high-calorie sport. But it doesn’t have to be when passing through Homestead, Florida, home of the Robert Is Here fruit stand and market. This family-owned market was born in 1959 as a humble roadside stop and became famous for its exotic fruit and local-sourced vegetables. It’s also become an area attraction thanks to its onsite animal farm featuring pigs, goats and cows. Visitors can fill up cardboard boxes with lychees, mangos, dragon fruit and key limes every day from 9 am to 6 pm, then feed the animals and explore the property with a freshly blended fruit milkshake or smoothie in hand.
Multiple locations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee
Not to be mistaken with the widely recognized suit-clad clown’s restaurants, Jack’s is a down home burger joint that’s a dependable road trip stop and offers much more than burgers and fries. Start with a box of fried chicken and add on Southern staples like mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, buttered biscuits, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw. Just be sure to save room for one of the fruit-filled fried pies. Founded in 1960 by Jack Caddell as a walk-up burger stand in Homewood, Alabama, Jack’s has since grown to more than 200 stores across the South.
Danny & Clydes at Food-N-Fun
Multiple locations in Louisiana
Making a stop for fuel may also mean replenishing the car with convenience store snacks, preferably at a Food-N-Fun store if you’re in Louisiana. Each location has a deli that serves up buttery biscuits, classic crawfish, hand pies and crispy corn nuggets for a quick taste of the South. Some stores also have a Danny & Clyde’s sandwich shop where visitors can load up on po’boys stuffed with crispy fried shrimp, oysters, catfish and more.
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
Multiple locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas
The Southern states can reach sky high temperatures in the summer — and sometimes the rest of the year too — so taking a slight detour for a visit to Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is always a good idea. Jeremiah’s has loads of Italian ice flavors to choose from, like cotton candy, lemon basil, salted caramel, black raspberry and horchata. For a twist on the classic, try the gelati, an over-the-top picture-perfect dessert that’s made with alternating layers of Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream.