Road trips are a lot like parenting. It’s not as much about the destination as it is the journey, and as parents, we know the journey can be pretty amazing—especially if it’s one filled with the blues, beaches, and your babes in the backseat! Keep reading for inspiration on five fab routes through the South that’ll have you all whistling Dixie.

Old Florida: Pensacola to Crystal Springs (Fl Panhandle)

From the retro beach sign welcoming you to Pensacola Beach all the way to the icy waters of Crystal River where the manatees meander, you'll find plenty to explore along the Panhandle's powder-white shores.

What to See: Home to the Blue Angels, Pensacola is no wonder the home of the National Naval Aviation Museum, an outstanding (and free) collection of airplanes, simulators, and history on the Pensacola Naval Base. Then beach hop, exploring each town with its own unique character. Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key (don't miss live music and Bushwhackers for the grown-ups at the FloraBama) are nearest to Pensacola, followed by a string of towns along 30-A. Scenic Seaside, WaterColor, and Rosemary Beaches are not to miss, and a visit to Apalachicola (followed by a spur to St. George Island to check out the lighthouse) will keep you busy en route to swim with the manatees in Crystal River.

Good to Know: This beach trip is made even more perfect when you can align it with scalloping season and the best months for fresh oysters!

Where to Eat: Be sure to hit Peg Leg Pete's in Pensacola Beach, Donut Hole in Destin and Santa Rosa, Bud and Alley's in Seaside, Boss Oysters in Apalachicola, Cody's Original Roadhouse near Crystal River.

Where to Stay: Renting a house is always a good option along the Panhandle, but Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach, WaterColor Inn in WaterColor, and Plantation on Crystal River won't disappoint.

Photo: Paul Clark via Flickr


What’s your favorite route through the South? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey