5 Travel Guides for a Food-Centric Road Trip


A lot of people will tell you that to get the best crabcake, you need to go to Maryland or for the best tacos, you need to go to California. Sometimes that place will be right near you, but other times you might have to go on a bit of an adventure. Since it's the summer, now might be a great time to start thinking about taking a food-centric road trip.

There are several ways to start planning an epic food journey. You could travel across the country to seek out one or two certain restaurants or just stop anywhere along the way and eat whatever looks good.  Chance can produce some great meals, but planning your road trip around food will inevitably make for a tastier vacation. To help get you started, check out some of these great travel books.

  • Jane and Michael Sterns' Roadfood has been a go-to travel food guide since it was first published back in 1978. As a definitive "Coast-to-Coast Guide to 800 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More," Roadfood has long been a popular item for travellers looking for something local and interesting. The restaurants in the book are organized by region so you can choose your food based on where you want to visit. There is also a Roadfood website, with more tips on restaurants and recipes, and a list of possible eating tours.
  • Also from the Sterns comes 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late, another travel book which picks out specific dishes local to different parts of the country to encourage travelers to seek them out for themselves.
  • For a strictly southern road trip, there is Southern Living's Off the Eaten Path. This book offers restaurant picks, food finds, and several recipes, all geared at highlighting the delicious simplicity of Southern cooking. Whether your looking for the perfect pulled pork, the greatest grits, or a southern favorite, fried green tomatoes, take a look at this book for a bit of guidance.
  • There are also a number of dish-specific travel books available. For example, Hamburger America and The Great American Hot Dog Book each focus on one dish and its availabilities and variations across the country. So if you just want to search out the perfect burger or dog, one of these might be right for you. And because these dishes are so simple at their core, it's amazing to see how different states put their twists on them. Options like the one-pound "hubcap burger" at Cotham's Mercantile in Arkansas or the "ghetto burger" at Ann's Snack Shop in Scott, Atlanta, Georgia are among the suggested stops for hamburger indulgence.
  • Along with food travel guides, there are also a number of books that might not tell you exactly where to go, but instead give you some inspiration for your travels. Travel Channel's "Man V. Food" host Adam Richman has chronicled his experiences with American cuisine in America the Edible.  If you aren't looking for specific places to go, but just for a bit of area insight, a book like this might be a good option.

Where are your must visit food stops on a road trip?

Photo Credit: Slideshow Bruce on Flickr