The Ultimate Road Trip Guide to Destin, Florida

Planning a road trip to Destin?  Here’s my ultimate road trip offering 3 different routes from Texas, with plenty of stops along the way!

 

destin florida

Image courtesy of Destin-ation

 

My friend Leslie asked for a few ideas on a road trip to Destin, and I thought I could do a little better and post a list of our favorite stops, along with a few on my bucket list for this year!

From I-20

elvis statue shreveport

Shreveport

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Sci-Port Discovery Center is a fun science museum for kids, with very interactive, hands-on exhibits!  Click HERE to read more.

The Shreveport Aquarium just opened last year, and it’s a fun place to stop and stretch your legs for a few hours!  Click HERE to read more!

The Louisiana Boardwalk is a fun stop, with shops and chain-type dining along the Red River.

Eat

We love Frank’s Pizza Napoletana for a yummy stop on the way in or out of Texas!  It’s a couple of minutes off I-20, but worth it. Click HERE to see their website.

Heading East on I-20, Shreveport is your last chance to grab a Whataburger, and after a long road trip, it’s usually what we are all craving on the way back!

duck_buck_sign

Monroe/W. Monroe, LA

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The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is another fun place to let the kids run around and burn off a little energy for an hour or 2, although they may want to stay longer!  Click HERE to visit their website.

Most people driving through consider the location of Duck Commander of Duck Dynasty to be a MUST STOP!  If you loved the show, they even have driving tours of the locations of the places they visited!  Click HERE to read more!

Eat

Also famous for the Duck Dynasty show, Willie’s Duck Diner is a must visit!  Click HERE to visit their website.

Flying Tiger Brewery is a good place to stop for a drink, with a big yard, tasting room and food trucks on weekends and during events. Click HERE for more information.

Stay

I’m all about my Hilton Honor Points, so I always check Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn.  Both have indoor pools, which make my kids happy.

vicksburg national military park

Vicksburg, MS

This beautiful city is known for the Mississippi River that runs through it, and the Civil War Battle fought here.  If you love history, it’s an incredible place to stop!

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Tour the historic homes and battlefields, or take a ghost tour!

The Vicksburg National Military Park is a National Park, and your National Park Pass will get you in for FREE! Click HERE for more information.

Eat

Rusty’s Riverfront Grill Click HERE for more information.

Stay

We’ve stayed a couple of places I wouldn’t recommend, but the Hampton Inn was nice, clean and convenient to the Interstate without being on it, and right across from the National Military Park.  Click HERE to visit their website.

Jackson MS.jpgJackson, MS

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The Mississippi Children’s Museum is another great stop for little children!  Click HERE to visit their website.

If you have the time, the Children’s Museum is located in the LaFleur Museum District, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is incredible!  Click HERE to read more.

Eat 

My favorite restaurant in Jackson recently closed, but the Pig and Pint is a fun, trendy restaurant with authentic Mississippi BBQ, which isn’t Texas BBQ.  Click HERE to visit their website.

Stay

We’ve camped more than once on our way to Florida, and we were lucky enough once to get a site at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park.  There are only 28 sites, so make your reservations early!  Click HERE for more information.

All my other overnight stays in Jackson have been late night highway chain hotels where we carried in the kids still asleep, and back out the next morning.  I have always dreamt of an adult weekend in Jackson, and staying at the Old Capitol Inn!  Click HERE to see why!

downtown hattiesburg ms

Hattiesburg, MS

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Grand Paradise Water Park lets the kids get out and cool off for a few hours of play in the water!  Click HERE for more information!

Eat

Head to Downtown Hattiesburg, and fun restaurants like the Thirsty Hippo, Bianchi’s Pizzaria, Coney Island Hot Dog Stand and Grateful Soul!

Stay

Little Black Creek Campground has beautiful cabins on the lake.  Click HERE for more information.

uss alabama

Mobile (pronounced Moe-beal)
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We love the U.S.S. Alabama, and made many trips to tour it! It’s out favorite thing to do in Mobile! Click HERE for more information! We haven’t visited Gulfquest Maritime Museum, but it’s on my list of place to visit! Click HERE to see more.
Tour Mobile Bay on a Duck Tour with Gulf Coast Ducks! Click HERE to visit their website.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is a fun children’s museum for kids and adults! Click HERE to read more!
Take a walk along Historic Dauphin Street
Eat
The Gulf Oyster Houses are our favorites, like Wintzell’s Oyster House and the Half Shell Oyster House!
Stay
There are several great hotels in the Historic Downtown District, including the Admiral Hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn. I really like my Hilton Honor Points.

dauphin island

Dauphin Island, AL

We like to taka a little detour, and head off the Interstate to Dauphin Island.  It’s a fun place to just drive down and take the ferry back out, something we have done several times, just to let the kids get out and finally put our feet in the sand!

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Again, we just love the Dauphin Island Beach!  It’s $5/car but worth it to just get out and play for a bit!  Click HERE for more information.

The Estuarium is an aquarium highlighting the sea life in the Gulf and Mobile Bay, with a neat stingray touch tank.  Click HERE for more information.

Indian Shell Mound Historic Park is a free park that highlights the shell mounds built by ancient native Americans.  It’s just a nice place to stop and stretch your legs, and we love the big trees!  Click HERE to read more.

I’ve always wanted to tour Historic Fort Gaines.  Click HERE for more information.

Eat

For the view and general fun, we like Islanders Restaurant and Bar.  Click HERE for more information.

Stay

We’ve never stayed in Dauphin Island, but there are beach houses, hotels and campgrounds.  Click HERE to read more.

 

gulf states park

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

From the ferry, take 180 into Gulf Shores, where we’ve stayed as much as Destin, and both are great destinations.  Gulf Shores will save you a little money over Destin, which is pricier and more crowded, but you’ll find more to do in Destin.

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Go parasailing, dolphin cruise, off-shore fishing and much more!

Gulf State State Park offers RV camping, cabins and even tent camping, plus lots of kids activities, hike and bike trails, zip lines and a fishing pier with bait and pole rentals. Click HERE to read more.

Eat

Bob’s Beachside Café and The Flying Harpoon are two must when visiting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach!

Stay

The Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn are both on the beach, and the Holiday Inn is too, and has the best pool.

pensacola lighthouse

Pensacola

The last town before you reach Destin, there is plenty to do in Pensacola, and great beaches, too!

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The Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is a fun stop! Click HERE to visit their website.

Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park lets you feed rescued macaws.  Click HERE to read more.

Eat

Joe Patti’s Seafood Shop is a great place to stop!  The seafood is brought in fresh, and the deli has terrific finds!  Click HERE to visit their website.

Stay

Again, you’ll find affordable stops at Hampton Inn and the HIlton Garden Inn on the beach, but the Hilton Resort has the best pool, and all 3 are on the beach!

Scenic I-49

Downtown-Natchitoches-La.jpgNatchitoches pronounced Nacodish, but I don’t know why.

This pretty historic town was the site of Steel Magnolias, and is a lovely stop on the way south from Shreveport.  It’s a beautiful town to visit, and a destination during Christmas, when the entire town is lit up!

Eat

The Natchitoches Meat Pies are a big deal, and they are amazing!  Click HERE to visit the Lasyone’s website.

Stay

A little further south in Marksville, LA visit the Paragon Casino Resort with a tropical themed pool, atrium with alligators and turtles and an alligator feeding show every Saturday.  and a casino.  Click HERE for more information.

From I-10/Beaumont 

 

coushatta casino resortLake Charles, LA

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The Children’s Museum of Lake Charles is a fun stop to let the kids play and stretch their legs! Click HERE for more information.

Eat

Steamboat Bill’s is a local chain (5 restaurants, with one in Texas) which serves good, easy Cajun and creole food.  Click HERE to visit their website.

Stay

Just North of Lake Charles, the Coushatta Casino Resort offers beautiful hotel and swimming pool, a perfect stop along the highway!  Click HERE for more information.

atchafalaya experience 2

Lafayette, LA

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One of the prettiest parts of Louisiana is the Atchafalaya River Basin.  Take a tour of this incredible area with Atchafalaya Experience! Click HERE to visit their website.

The Children’s Museum of Acadia is a great place to let the kids explore and stretch their legs!  Click HERE to visit their website.

The Lafayette Science Museum is also worth the time to stop and explore! Click HERE to visit their website.

If you have the time to spend, a trip 30 miles south to Avery Island is a day well spent! Tour the Tabasco Sauce Factory, the Jungle Gardens and Bird City!  Click HERE for more information, and scroll down on that page.

Eat

For a fun lunch, stop at the Olde Tyme Grocery for a shrimp po’boy! Click HERE to visit their website.

blue bayou waterpark 2

Baton Rouge, LA

Between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, you’ll drive across the 18 mile Atchafalaya Basin Causeway, one of my favorite roads!  During the late fall and winter, check the dead trees for eagle and osprey nest!

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Beat the heat with a day at Blue Bayou Waterpark and Dixie Landin’ Amusement Park!  Click HERE for more information!

The Baton Rouge Zoo is a fun escape from the confines of the car! Click HERE for more information.

Eat

Roux 61 Seafood was an awesome find for us after a long day on the road! Click HERE for more information.

Stay

We’ve stayed at several Louisiana State Parks, and Lake D’Arbonne SP is a big park on the lake with RV sites, tent sites and cabins.  Bring your fishing poles! Click HERE for more information.

DSC_0898 (1).JPGNew Orleans, LA

My favorite stop is New Orleans! Of course, I could and have written entire post on New Orleans, but here’s the highlights for a one or two night stay!

 

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Take the Steamboat Natchez Tour!  Click HERE for more information.

Visit one of the plantations, like Oak Alley, south of New Orleans.  Click HERE to read more.

The Audubon Zoo or Aquarium of the Americas are also wonderful!

Eat 

A beignet from Café du Mond is almost a mandatory part of any trip to the Big Easy, but go to the original.

For dinner, we really enjoy Huck Finn’s, a fun, casual restaurant in the French Quarter.  The Ruby Slipper in the quarter is great for breakfast and brunch!

Stay

If you have the time to enjoy it, the Lamothe Guest House in the French Quarter is wonderful!  Click HERE to visit their website.

We most recently stayed at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, a huge hotel on the Mississippi River across from Harrahs Casino on the edge of the French Quarter.  Great heated pools for visiting all year!  Click HERE to visit their website.

Every post needs a good story.  While chaperoning a Girl Scout trip, we stayed at the Brent House in New Orleans once when I needed something inexpensive and last minute, without realizing it is attached to the Oscher Medical Center Hospital.  We drove in to have dinner and a ghost tour in the French Quarter, and it was actually a clean and comfortable stay.  Click HERE to visit their website.

courtyard by marriott gulfport beachfront

Gulfport and Biloxi, MS

Take Hwy 90 off I-10 for a scenic trip along the beach.

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Stop and play on the beach! There are several places to stop along Hwy 90.

The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a Children’s Museum, and while we haven’t been there, they have good reviews for a stop to let the kids stretch their legs! Click HERE for more information.

Take a family tour of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies! Click HERE to visit their website.

The Jimmy Rutherford Fishing Pier is a fun place to spend an evening! Click HERE to visit their facebook page.

Eat

The Half Shell Oyster House has great food! Click HERE to visit their website.

Stay

The Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport Beachfront sits across from the beach and has affordable, clean rooms with great views!  Click HERE to visit their website.

This year my kids have picked the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to spend the night.  Click HERE to visit the hotel website.

From Biloxi, get back on I-10 and continue to Mobile (scroll up to continue that route).

Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!

Michelle

Having Fun in the TEXAS Sun is on PINTEREST! Use it as a quick resource to find activities in different Texas towns! Click HERE!

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