A Culinary Tour on a Gulf Coast Road Trip Travel Inspiration | Travel Zone by Best Western

A Culinary Tour on a Gulf Coast Road Trip

By Stuart Hughes

Welcome to the Gulf Coast, where Southern hospitality, mouth-watering food, and sun-kissed beaches unite. This rich stretch of coastline combines local ingredients, fresh seafood, and lots of herbs and spices to create a culinary experience like no other. So, we’re embarking on a Gulf Coast road trip that will take in all the sights, sounds, and gourmet food along the way. 

If you fancy joining us as we indulge in some of the best cuisine the Gulf Coast has to offer… come join us on a culinary trip of a lifetime on our Gulf Coast road trip from Florida to Texas, stopping in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana along the way. 

Chow on famous Gulf Shrimp in Panama City, Florida 

We’re going to start our incredible gastronomic Gulf Coast road trip from Florida to Texas in Panama City. Famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, Panama City is celebrated for producing some of the best of the Gulf Coast region’s favorite delicacies, the Gulf Shrimp. 

Prized for their sweet, succulent flavor and tender texture, the Gulf Shrimp are traditionally harvested in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. However, here in Panama City, locals have perfected various dishes with locally caught harvests, including fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, grilled shrimp, and shrimp scampi. 

We recommend you stop at Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market, just off the gorgeous Panama City Beach. Capt. Anderson’s is an iconic waterfront family-run restaurant celebrating 50+ years in business and is famous for its Capt. Anderson’s Grilled Bay Shrimp specials. 

Stay at one of the best hotels in Panama City, Florida, when you stay at the Best Western Plus Panama City Hotel. 

Eat fresh oysters in Gulf Shores, Alabama 

Next, we’re heading west on the Gulf Coast Highway into Alabama in search of another Gulf Shores’ favorite and must-try food – fresh oysters. Stay in at the resort city of Gulf Shores, Alabama, best known for its world-class oyster yields, which locals enjoy served raw, grilled, or fried. 

The Gulf of Mexico provides the perfect environment for these oysters to thrive, where Gulf Shores locals typically collect them from the shallow, brackish waters off the coast. Sometimes served raw with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of hot sauce, oysters are also delicious when grilled, baked, or fried to order. 

To truly indulge in this regional delicacy on our Gulf Coast Road Trip, we suggest heading to LuLu’s Gulf Shores restaurant. With live music and an excellent specialist kids’ entertainment area, try LuLu’s tasty fried oysters at their superb waterfront location. 

Book one of the best hotels in Gulf Shores, Alabama, when you stay at the Best Western on the Beach. 

Dine on Royal Reds in Gulfport Beach, Mississippi 

Hugging the coast still, we’re heading to Gulfport Beach in Mississippi next on our food-orientated Gulf Coast Road Trip. Renowned for its soft sand, calm clear waters, and stunning sunsets, many consider Gulfport beach home to the delectable Royal Reds. 

Also known as Royal Red Shrimp, these giant crimson shrimps are larger and sweeter than traditional pink and brown cousins, plus they turn bright red when cooked. Found in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Royal Reds feature highly on our culinary wish list, so Gulfport Beach is a priority stop on our Gulf Coast Road Trip. 

When you’re in town, head to Shaggy’s Restaurant and dine on Royal Reds with a beachfront view. Voted Best Outdoor Dining in Mississippi, Shaggy’s is a fresh seafood restaurant serving Royal Reds overlooking Gulfport Beach. 

Book one of the best hotels in Gulfport Beach, Mississippi, when you stay at the Best Western Seaway Inn. 

Explore Cajun & Creole food in New Orleans, Louisiana 

No cuisine-based Gulf Coast Road Trip would be complete without stopping in New Orleans, Louisiana, for a Cajun & Creole feast. As a regional specialty long associated with New Orleans, these spectacular dishes blend Native American, Spanish, French, and African culinary traditions. 

While these two specialty styles similarly use bold, spicy flavors utilizing fresh seafood and locally grown ingredients, they do have their subtle differences. 

Cajun cuisine comprises of rustic dishes and rich ingredients, combining sausage, chicken, and seafood with rice, vegetables, and spices. Cajun recipes cleverly blend spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic which feature in dishes including crawfish étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya. 

Creole cuisine, on the other hand, have more refined dishes and can often be more tomato-based. In addition, Creole often uses butter, cream, herbs, and spices, including oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Rich in flavor, popular Creole dishes in New Orleans include shrimp remoulade, turtle soup, and Chicken Fricassée. 

When you’re in New Orleans, try out the various styles at Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Situated in the oldest building on Canal Street, be sure to try some of their famous cocktails, too. If you want more inspiration for Cajun & Creole food, read our article, Top Creole, Cajun, and French Restaurants in Louisiana. 

Book one of the best hotels in New Orleans, Louisiana, when you stay at the Best Western Plus French Quarter Courtyard Hotel 

Savor freshly caught Mahi-Mahi in Galveston, Texas 

What better way to complete our culinary Gulf Coast road trip from Florida to Texas than finishing in Galveston, Texas? Best known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and stunning seafood, the historic port of Galveston is a hot spot for fans of Mahi-Mahi in the Lone Star State. 

Also known as the Dorado, Mahi-Mahi is a highly sort after game fish that thrives in the tropical and subtropical waters off the Galveston coast. If you have not tried Mahi-Mahi before, it’s a succulent, flaky, sweet-tasting fish that locals love to bake, grill, or sauté. 

For the best Mahi-Mahi in Galveston, make sure you head over to Fish Tales Restaurant to enjoy the stunning Mahi-Mahi tacos. It’s a great way to finish a Gulf Coast road trip from Florida to Texas by enjoying some delicious seafood while looking out over the beautiful Gulf of Mexico while doing so. 

Book one of the best hotels in Galveston, Texas, when you stay at the Best Western Plus Seawall Inn & Suites by the Beach 

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial