A Sea Tour to See the South

This road trip from New Orleans to Florida featuring lazy days feasting on the freshest seafood, sandy camping, and pristine paddling.

The romantic streets of New Orleans also happen to be cycling-friendly.     Photo: James Graves

Gorge yourself on this 425-mile seafood tasting menu, with plenty of opportunities to surf, kayak, or hang out on the beach along the way.

Packing List: Aviators, flip-flops, the biggest cooler you can find

Highlights: Start with the free Saturday afternoon wine tasting in the leafy courtyard of Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits, then make your way to Chef Donald Link’s Cochon Butcher for the world’s best muffaletta or local Louisiana chef John Besh’s French fine-dining venue, August, for dishes like snapper courtbouillon. Sleep off the food coma at Soniat House, a boutique hotel in the French Quarter (from $195).

Then aim for the north side of Lake Pontchartrain to cycle Tammany Trace, a 31-mile paved rail trail that ends in Slidell. In Ocean Springs, just east of Biloxi, Mississippi, stop for ribs at the Shed BBQ and Blues. Join South Coast Paddling for an overnight kayaking tour to 12 miles of empty sand beaches on Horn Island ($125).

In Alabama, rent a beach house on Dauphin Island’s seven miles of white sand (find one at homeaway.com), and cross off sightings of 420 bird species from your life list with a visit to the 164-acre Audubon Bird Sanctuary.

  Photo: Patrick Schneider

Hop the ferry to Fort Morgan and drive east to Destin, Florida: rent a paddle- or surfboard at Ride on Surf School (from $20 per hour), play in the waves, then eat on the big deck at Harbor Docks, which has drippingly fresh seafood. In Apalachicola, cast for flounder, redfish, tarpon, or triggerfish with Robinson Brothers Guide Service (from $550).

  Photo: Malcolm MacGregor/Getty
 

Head south to St. George Island, hike 2.5 miles to the primitive campsite at Gap Point, pitch a tent, and throw in a line for flounder, redfish, sea trout, Spanish mackerel, or pompano.

Detour: Hit Pensacola at the end of April for the world-famous Mullet Toss at the iconic Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, and Oyster Bar. The bizarre goal of the contest: throw a dead mullet (the fish, not a scalp) over the state line.

The route.
 

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