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Beer City Ale Trail
Photograph: Courtesy Experience Grand RapidsBeer City Ale Trail

The best food and drink trails in America for experiencing local flavors

Hit the road and chow down along the best food and drink trails in America

Lauren Dana
Written by
Lauren Dana

As culinary tourism becomes increasingly popular, it’s safe to say that a destination’s food and drink offerings can easily make or break one’s vacation. However, you don’t necessarily need to travel too far from home to experience unique cuisine and beverage offerings, and that’s because the U.S. boasts a bevy of unique food and drink trails. Whether you prefer to sip margaritas in Santa Fe, slurp oysters in North Carolina, or chow down on barbecue in Alabama, the best food and drink trails across America offer something for every traveler. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favorites across the States to inspire your future food-filled adventures. There's never been a better time to hit the road hungry.

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Best food and drink trails in America

1. The World Famous Salsa Trail | Arizona

Arizona boasts some of the country’s best Mexican cuisine, so it only makes sense that the state is home to the World Famous Salsa Trail. This unique food trail, which spans through the city of Safford and surrounding towns, comprises nearly 10 eateries, such as El Coronado, La Unica and La Casita Cafe. Keep in mind that the restaurants focus on flavor over spice, so even those who don’t like a ton of heat can enjoy the culinary journey. Stop at the Graham County Chamber of Commerce to snag your salsa trail “passport” and start sampling, and while you're at it, why not wash down all that salsa with some margaritas? Finally, don’t miss the city’s Salsa Festival, which will take place on September 27 and 28, 2024.

2. The Boise Potato Trail | Idaho

It’s no secret that Idaho is known for its potatoes—and if you can’t get enough of ‘em, consider embarking on the Boise Potato Trail. This one-of-a-kind trail is a must for adventurous foodies who can savor unique concoctions like the Idaho Potato Ale at Bear Island Brewing Company, the cinnamon sugar potato donut at Guru Donuts, the ice cream potato at Westside Drive-In, peanut butter mashed potatoes at The BrickYard and potato chip-infused nachos at 10 Barrel Brewing,  among over a dozen other dishes. Participants can download a mobile passport to keep track of their progress and earn points that can be redeemed for prizes.


3. Santa Fe Margarita Trail | New Mexico

The Santa Fe Margarita Trail allows patrons to sip and savor some of—50, to be exact—of the world’s best margaritas. First, visitors must purchase a paper passport or download the app for a digital version (doing so means you’ll save $1 off the signature margarita at each participating location). After ordering your drink, ask the bartender or server to “stamp” your passport or app—though remember you can only earn two stamps every 12 hours—to redeem marg-themed prizes. Pro tip: Don’t miss the hatch green chile-infused Norteño margarita at  Coyote Rooftop Cantina and the prickly pear margarita at Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante.

4. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Kentucky

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—is among America's most famous food and drink trails. It comprises 46 distilleries, including well-known spots like Maker's Mark and Jim Beam. Along the way, visitors can enjoy tours, tastings and cocktail classes. Since some of the distilleries are so spread out, this trail requires pre-planning, and it’s a good idea to book your tours in advance. Visit the official website for itinerary inspiration. Pro tip: Consider booking one of these transportation options so you do not need to worry about driving. 


5. North Carolina Oyster Trail | North Carolina

North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is renowned for its beaches, but did you know it’s also considered the “Napa Valley of Oysters” since it offers a wide variety of flavors?  The destination’s Oyster Trail encompasses 80 sites, including Oyster Carolina (where visitors can take a tour, get knee-deep in the water, pull oysters straight from the sea and learn how to shuck ‘em) and Hoop Pool Creek Oyster Company (where adventure-seeking travelers can embark on a kayak tour of the farm). Expand your culinary horizons even further by digging into an order of loaded baked oysters with chorizo, scallion, cheese, bread crumbs, and sour cream at Coquina Fishbar, or keep it simple with an order of steamed or raw oysters at Parley’s Sip & Steam.

6. Macon Bacon Trail | Georgia

While primarily known for its cherry blossom and fascinating music history, the city of Macon in central Georgia is slowly but surely establishing itself as a culinary hotspot with the Macon Bacon Trail, which launched last fall. The food trail features 20 of the city’s most delicious restaurants serving innovative bacon-infused offerings. Highlights include the Jimmy Carter Shake with bacon and peanut butter at The Rookery and pimento bacon fritters at Barefoot Tavern. Visitors can download the free Tour Macon app to track their progress, claim badges and win prizes.


7. Buffalo Wing Trail | Buffalo, NY

Buffalo wings are named for the destination where they were first invented: Buffalo, New York. Now, visitors to the western NY city—also rightfully known as the “World Capital of Wings”—can try several variations of this beloved app by following the Buffalo Wing Trail, which comprises a dozen-plus neighborhood pubs and taverns throughout the region. Elmo’s Bar and Restaurant stands out for its “double-dipped” wings, meaning they’re fried, tossed in sauce, grilled and then doused in a different sauce before reaching your table. The Sicilian wing at Glenn’s Park, which is smothered in parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and oregano, is another local fave.

8. Texas High Plains Wine and Vine Trail | Texas

Fun fact: More than 80 percent of Texas’ wine grapes are grown in the Texas High Plains American Viticultural Area (AVA). With that in mind, oenophiles won’t want to sleep on the region’s Wine and Vine Trail, which is dotted with vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms. It’s also here where you’ll find the state’s second-oldest winery, Llano Estacado Winery, which produces a whopping 1.7 million bottles yearly. Alternatively, visit Triple D Winery for a food and wine pairing experience. 


9. North Alabama BBQ Trail | Alabama

The State of Alabama serves up some of the country’s best BBQ, and it's arguably best experienced on the North Alabama Barbecue Trail. Download the free app to check into each joint to earn a keepsake t-shirt. Dig into staples like juicy ribs, slow-cooked pork and overstuffed baked potatoes—best enjoyed with a heaping portion of Alabama white BBQ sauce, of course. While picking our favorite places and dishes is an impossible task, we’d be remiss not to mention the award-winning smoked mac n' cheese at New Market and the famous hickory-cooked smoked pork at L.O. Bishop.

10. Beer City Air Trail | Michigan

Also known as Beer City, USA, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to over 40 craft breweries. The Beer City Ale Trail conveniently outlines the city’s bustling beer scene, including popular haunts like Brewery Vivant (housed in a former chapel), Founders Brewing Co. (which also offers engaging brewery tours), and Mitten Brewing Co. (a baseball-themed microbrewery occupying a Victorian-era firehouse). Download the free Beer City Brewsader® Passport and check in at each location to earn rewards. 


11. New Jersey Pizza Trail | New Jersey

Although most folks overlook New Jersey ‘za in favor of New York City slices, you’d be surprised to find that the Garden State is home to a slew of top-rated pizzerias. The New Jersey Pizza Trail outlines 15 of the state’s top establishments. Razza in Jersey City is said to be home to some of the best pizza on the planet and offers a handful of specialty personal pies to choose from. Meanwhile, the Honey Moon Square—thin-crust Sicilian with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, basil and spiced honey—at Brooklyn Original Pizza in Haddon Heights is not to be missed, and neither is the pepperoni pie at Manco & Manco in Ocean City.

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