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!

Sunny Summer day at the beach in Destin, Florida

From I-20



Sci-Port Discovery Center is a fun science museum for kids, with very interactive, hands-on exhibits! 

The Shreveport Aquarium it’s a fun place to stop and stretch your legs for a few hours! 

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

The Blind Tiger restaurant in Downtown Shreveport, Louisiana


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.

In Downtown Shreveport, The Blind Tiger had been making terrific cajun and creole dishes since 1992! I love their fried shrimp and gumbo, or for non-seafood eaters, their pecan-crusted chicken is amazing!

Duck Commander Sign, West Monroe Louisiana

Monroe/W. Monroe, LA


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!


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.


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 Mississippi

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!


Tour the historic homes, 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! The 14-mile driving tour takes you through the area where the Union forces clashed with the Confederate, and each state participating in the war has erected monuments to those who fought and died here. The Cairo Museum spotlights the Union Ironclad, Cairo, that was sunk by the Confederate Army during the war, and raised 100 years later from its silt bed on the bottom of the Yazoo River. While the driving tour is great, to really experience the park, try one of the walking tours!


Rusty’s Riverfront Grill Click HERE for more information.


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.

About 40 minutes South of Vicksburg, The Grand Gulf Military State Park offers camping with a museum, hiking trail and observation tour, all just 300 ft. from the Mississippi River. It’s a scenic drive from Vicksburg to the park.

Jackson, MS


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.


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.

To see a little more of the Jackson area, head a little North to Madison. The Mermaids Cafe on Lake Caroline was a treat with comfort food overlooking the lake.


We stayed a few time on different trips in the nearby Embassy Suites, which I’d highly recommend.

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!

Hattiesburg, MS


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!


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


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

Mobile (pronounced Moe-beal)
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
The Gulf Oyster Houses are our favorites, like Wintzell’s Oyster House and the Half Shell Oyster House!
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.

Mobile, AL is home of the first Mardi Gras parade, and is still the place to visit! Last year we spent two weeks at this amazing VRBO on the Mardi Gras Route!

Dauphin Island Beach, Alabama

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!


Again, we just love the Dauphin Island Beach!  It’s $5/car but worth it to just get out and play for a bit!  It’s also one of the few dog friendly beaches in the area!  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.

Fort Gaines sits on the East end of Dauphin Island, which offered a good line of protection of Mobile Bay, just across from the Estuarium. Since falling in love with the musical Hamilton, we loved that it was also the location of where Vice President Aaron Burr was caught and arrested for treason in 1806.


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


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

Take the 40-minute Fort Morgan ferry across Mobile Bay to Gulf Shores.  Check their website for ticket prices and schedule!

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores/Orange Beach

We’ve stayed in Gulf Shores 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.


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.


If you’re looking for a fun and loud place, with lots of kid’s activities, then you’ll want to head over to The Hangout!  They even have a fun Pirate and Princess themed breakfast!  Bob’s Beachside Café and The Flying Harpoon are two must when visiting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach!


The Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn are both on the beach, and the Holiday Inn is too, and has the best pool.  If you’re traveling with your dog, we love the conveniences at the Hotel Indigo – Orange Beach.


There is plenty to do in Pensacola, and great beaches, too!


The Blue Angels do two air shows a year, plus practice over Pensacola.  Check their schedule for their next practice or show!

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.


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.


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!

Navarre Beach, Florida

Navarre Beach, Florida

On our most recent visit to the Florida Gulf Coast, we spend a couple days in Navarre and I just absolutely love this little town! Play in the bay or head across the bridge to play on the beach. There are numerous FREE beach access locations.


Dewey Destins was our go-to! Great food with a sandy beach on the bay.


Navarre Family Watersports, conveniently next door to Dewey Destins, offers a fun inflatable waterpark, kayak and paddleboard rentals, and even boats and jet skis!


Best Western Navarre is also located on the bay, with a great sandy beach and beautiful view!

Check out Snow’s Surf Shack on Air B-N-B for a great and affordable house for 6.

Scenic I-49

Natchitoches 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!


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


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


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.


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.


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.

Lafayette, LA


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.


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

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!


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.


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


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!


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!


A beignet from Café du Monde 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!


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.

Gulfport and Biloxi, MS

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


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.


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


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).

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