The 8 best foodie trails in the US

Ready to combine your love of road trips with your passion for food? From a few days to a couple of weeks, you can tailor a foodie trail to your palate and time preference.

Cheese enthusiasts can chase fromage out West, while chicken wing connoisseurs can get their hands dirty in the Northeast. As pie lovers fork into a bevy of indulgent Midwest sweets, barbecue aficionados can drive toward their next finger-lickin’ fix in the South.

No matter your route of choice, there’s deliciousness to discover in every direction. Not sure where to start? Here are eight of our favorite foodie trails to whet your appetite. We have also included hotel options along the way.

Buffalo Wing Trail in Buffalo, New York

Downtown Buffalo skyline, New York. DENISTANGNEYJR/GETTY IMAGES

It’s no secret that a poultry pub food fave slathered in hot sauce put Buffalo on the foodie map. Dig into more than a dozen different baskets of these iconic apps along the 14-stop Buffalo Wing Trail — from Duff’s Famous Wings, known for its heat, to Gene McCarthy’s Old First Ward Brewing Company with its blue cheese twist. Expect a variety of spice rubs and unique dipping sauces at a lively collection of taverns, grills and bars packed with wing fans just like you.

Where to stay

The Westin Buffalo is a downtown escape with artsy influences nestled in the heart of New York State’s second-largest city. Choose between a standard room or a suite that comes with a kitchenette. Work off those wings at the fitness studio, and refuel at two on-site restaurants, Patina 250 and Jake’s Cafe. The hotel is also dog friendly if you brought Fido along for the ride.

Related: The 26 best Marriott hotels in the world

Rates start at $264 or 84,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Lobster Roll Trail in the Kennebunks, Maine

Craving a crustacean vacation? Just a half-hour drive south of Portland are the historic fishing villages of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Perfectly paired with a serving of salty air, these towns offer some of the state’s best beachside lobster roll action.

Some of the highlights on this 21-stop Lobster Roll Trail include the smoked lobster roll from Smoke BBQ, the creamy lobster melt with rich mascarpone at The Burleigh and the lobster roll topped with tempura crisps and chives from Batson River Brewing & Distilling. Is your mouth watering yet?

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Where to stay

In Dock Square, the village center of Kennebunkport, sits the timeless Kennebunkport Inn, a former tea merchant’s mansion built in the late 1890s that marries its architectural roots with contemporary accents. Stay in the main house or the Riverhouse building in rooms and suites that vary in theme and decor. The Inn’s cozy gastropub, The Burleigh, is a stop on the Lobster Roll Trail.

Rates start at $390 per night, with discounts of around 5% available to Kennebunkport Resort Collection members.

Related: A day trip to Maine; The fun way we found to use the elusive Delta companion certificate

Hoosier Pie Trail in Indiana

Indiana may be famous for its Sugar Cream Pie. However, the Hoosier State does not discriminate when it comes to boasting about its commitment to this tasty pastry.

The Hoosier Pie Trail spans 32 stops along a 4 1/2-hour route from north to south. Try a cherry hand pie at GK Cafe and Provisions in Fort Wayne, drive two hours south to Little Sheba’s in Richmond for a slice of peanut butter pie and head southwest another two hours and 45 minutes to devour peach cobbler at Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant in Starlight. If you have a sweet tooth, this decision should be, well, easy as pie.

Where to stay

Smack in the center of the Hoosier Pie Trail is the capital city of Indianapolis. Take a well-deserved break at Le Meridien Indianapolis, which is within walking distance from all the main attractions — Circle Centre Mall, the Indianapolis Zoo and Lucas Oil Stadium. The hotel is equipped with a 24-hour fitness center and Spoke & Steele Restaurant with fresh plates and craft cocktails. It’s also dog-friendly in case you’re on a pie-driven road trip with your pup.

Rates start at $161 or 63,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail

Santa Fe is one of the cities along the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail. HALBERMAN/GETTY IMAGES

Spice up your cheeseburger game with a massive, 52-stop green chile patty party. The New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is as gluttonous as it is long. With 52 stops, you could technically hit one spot each week over the course of a year, or you can take a more strategic trip — from around two to three regions — to get the job done.

While the route is up to you, consider bookmarking stops in Santa Fe (La Plazuela, Atrisco Cafe & Bar), Taos (Abe’s Cantina y Cocina, The Burger Stand at Taos Ale House) and Albuquerque (Sadie’s of New Mexico, Bob’s Burgers) and upgrade your meat with some heat!

Where to stay

Albuquerque’s historic, award-winning Hotel Andaluz, Curio Collection by Hilton, was the fourth hotel ever constructed by Conrad Hilton in 1939 and restored in 2008. The lobby’s Casbahs offer private gathering nooks to enjoy bites and sips from Mas Tapas y Vino — the full menu is also offered at the urban rooftop lounge Ibiza — and the library offers a warm fireplace refuge. Dogs are welcome in both standard rooms and suites.

Rates start at $311 or 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Related: Escape on a budget: 13 domestic destinations with an international feel

Cajun Bayou Food Trail in Louisiana

Escape the hustle and bustle of New Orleans and uncover a delectable foodie mecca just 45 minutes south of The Big Easy. Lafourche Parish is home to the culture-rich communities and natural wetlands of the Cajun Bayou.

Download your passport and trail map and head out on the 18-stop Cajun Bayou Food Trail for a feast brimming with tradition and flavor. Up the Bayou, find crawfish pudding at Grady V’s. Down the Bayou, bookmark shrimp okra gumbo at The Balcony Bar & Cafe and boudin eggrolls at Cher Amie’s Seafood Restaurant. If you’re worried about nixing that Cafe Du Monde pit stop in the 504, fret not. Beignets abound.

Where to stay

You can check into a cozy, historic bed and breakfast along the Cajun Bayou. However, if you’re looking to redeem some points, consider the 75-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Raceland-Highway 90 — an IHG Hotel. Choose between standard rooms or suites, and enjoy access to the fitness center, outdoor pool and business center, along with complimentary breakfast.

Related: The best hotels in New Orleans, from the French Quarter to the Garden District

Rates start at $125 or 23,500 IHG One Rewards points per night.

Kansas City Taco Trail in Kansas

Back-burner the ultimate fish taco trip through California and spicy Tex-Mex route across the Lone Star State; there’s an extensive taco trail hiding in the middle of the Midwest.

The KCK Taco Trail spans a whopping 58 stops across four regions. From al pastor fresh off the spit at El Camino Real to low-and-slow barbacoa at GG’s Barbacoa Cafe and hearty birria (a traditional Mexican meat stew) at Nunez Foods to pan-seared shrimp at Las Palmas Restaurante, there’s a flavor for every taco maven to savor.

Where to stay

Grab the kids and pair your taco travels with some year-round indoor water park fun at Great Wolf Lodge. This family-friendly retreat offers three types of suites: standard, themed and premium. If you need a break from tortilla bliss, there are seven on-site dining outlets — including two bars. There is also an adventure park complete with arcade games and minigolf, as well as a full roster of entertaining events.

Rates start at $160 per night, with additional activities and dining packages available at booking.

Related: Complete tour: The new Kansas City airport terminal brings major upgrades

California Cheese Trail


Move over, Wisconsin, and step aside Vermont. Make room for the California Cheese Trail.

Since 2010, more than 500,000 cheese-obsessed travelers have printed this trail map in search of the best artisan cheeses in California. Believe us: It is so much better than endless amounts of aged cheddar. You can take classes, embark on tours and talk to the makers, mongers and farmers behind all this “gouda-ness.”

From Crescent City down to San Diego, there are eight regions with various routes and loops covering more than 75 stops.

In the Central Valley, you can visit the water buffalo at Double 8 Dairy and the herd at Harley Farms Goat Dairy before getting your hands dirty with a cheesemaking class at The Epicurean Connection. After that, it’s off to relish dreamy, creamy goat cheese at Laura Chenel in Marin County and award-winners Lamb Chopper, Humboldt Fog and Purple Haze at Cypress Grove along the Central Coast.

Finally, make a stop in the desert to get to know the flavored chevre at Mojave Gold, Inc. When in California, don’t forget to pair your cheese with the perfect vino.

Where to stay

After indulging each day, return to The Lodge at Sonoma Resort, Autograph Collection in wine country each night. Reserve an updated cottage, relax by the fire, treat yourself to a massage at the spa, go for a swim in the heated pool, and of course, enjoy high-end dining and quality wine tasting.

Nonmember rates start at $589, while member rates start at $546 or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: These are the best points hotels in Napa and Sonoma, California

South Carolina BBQ Trail

Few things are more American than a lip-smackingly sticky barbecue meal in the South. Get ready to gorge (and don’t forget the wet wipes) on the SC BBQ Trail.

Celebrate the birthplace of barbecue on this deliciously carnivorous escapade that features the best pitmasters along three regions. Start along the Mountain Trail for hickory-smoked pork, chicken and ribs at Bucky’s Bar-B-Q, and then dig into whole hog selects, burnt ends and Brunswick stew at Circle M BBQ.

Related: The 17 best hotels in Charleston, from historic inns to modern stays

Next, hit the Midlands Trail and bookmark 521 BBQ & Grill for smoked sausage and collard greens, followed by a stop at Big Boys Original Smokehouse for an array of wings and baby backs. Finally, follow the Coastal Trail for beef brisket, hush puppies and corn nuggets at Bar-B-Que House and the grand finale at Hog Heaven Restaurant, which serves and all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet. Don’t forget the apple crisp for dessert. How’s that for a mouthful?

Where to stay

Take a break from the smoked goodness along the Coastal Trail and park at City Loft Hotel. Within the National Historic Landmark District in Beaufort, South Carolina, this boutique hotel is just steps from the waterfront. Rooms and suites are pet-friendly, and guests have access to Celadon on Lady’s Island to enjoy the club’s pool and tennis amenities, along with fitness classes and spa services.

Rates start at $177 per night.

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