As much as we might want it to be over, COVID-19 is still here, and we’re still living under its shadow. And along with that come limitations on how we can travel.
While you might still be cautious about getting on a plane during this pandemic, there are plenty of food-related road trips that can satisfy your travel itch. Wherever you are in the country, there’s a journey waiting for you.
So, stay safe, pick out your favorite tunes for the drive and hit the trails.
The Great Cheese Trail – Wisconsin
If you want cheese, your first stop has to be Wisconsin. Known as America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin produces roughly 25 percent of all the cheese in the US, and there are award-winning cheese makers and mongers throughout the state.
This trail loops down from Madison, WI, traveling around the southwest corner of the state, and hits more than a dozen cheese makers. From delicious cheddars and colbys to chevre and squeaky fresh curds, this is the road trip for any cheese head.
The Bourbon Trail – Kentucky
Start in Louisville, where Main Street sits in the heart of its Bourbon District. From there, more than 35 distilleries await, and each has taken Kentucky’s bourbon heritage to heart. You’ll want to head east to Lexington, then loop south to Danville, before curving back around. Along the way, you can stop at distilleries for tastings, tours and innovative cocktails.
For those who want the traditional classics, you’ll find distilleries such as Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve on the trail. If you want to try something new, craft distilleries such as Rabbit Hole offer up an exciting twist on the beloved spirit.
The BBQ Trail – North Carolina
With 20 historic barbecue pits across North Carolina, there is a chance to watch the best pit masters at work as you travel this trail. In order to earn a spot on this trail, these pits have to make their own sauce and be running for at least 12 years. That means each stop you make along the barbecue trail has been carefully vetted for the best taste possible.
The trail runs east-west, so you can start at either side of the state and work your way across. Don’t forget to stock up on bottles of unique bbq sauce to recreate the flavors at home.
The Donut Trail – Ohio
If you need help planning your tour along this sweet trail, don’t worry. You can call the Donut Concierge to help customize your trip, and create the bespoke donut-filled (or filled-donut?) adventure of a lifetime.
Starting in Middletown, about 30 minutes south of Dayton, you can hit a baker’s dozen of donut shops along this loop. From classic crullers to candy toppings, each donut spot puts its own flourish on a fried favorite. Don’t forget to download your donut passport and get a stamp at each spot. If you complete the journey, you can earn a Donut Trail T-shirt.
The Taco Trail – California
It’s no surprise that California’s Bay Area is overflowing with great Mexican food. But this trail in Concord, just east of San Francisco, boasts 39 different family-owned restaurants and taquerias, which each meet specific benchmarks. Each restaurant is a single location, so no chains, and each place serves primarily Mexican or Latino food.
Along this trail, you will find handmade tortillas and salsa recipes that have been perfected over generations. The taco recipes include classic al pastor and carne asada versions, and they branch out to include vegetarian tacos, grilled tilapia and filet mignon.
The Beer Trail – Virginia
Richmond, Virginia is home to dozens of craft breweries, which is why it’s one of the best craft beer destinations in the country. The brewers in this area are inventive and passionate about beer, creating some of the best drinks in the country. This trail includes some of Richmond’s oldest tap rooms, farm breweries growing their own local hops and barley, and brewpubs featuring beer styles from around the world.
As you crawl through the city, you’ll hit more than two dozen breweries, many of them in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. If you’d like to head just outside of the city, there are even more breweries waiting for you. Plus, don’t forget to grab a map and passport. If you get five stamps from brewery stops, you can trade them in for Brewery Trail swag.