When people say American road trip, there are a few that come to mind, Pacific coast, Florida Keys or a classic Route 66. There are more than three roads in the United States. A road trip needs a few things, scenery to pass through, frequent stops for snapping quick pictures and tasty food. I personally like to add another element, beaches. Growing up on the ocean has seeped deep into my bones and I’m always drawn to the water. In the last few years I been fascinated by images from the Gulf Coast. Mostly the news has focused on their recent tragedies but there is always more to the story. In particular, the images of Mississippi beaches has gotten stuck in my mind. White sand and grasses, gentle breezes, this seems like a beautiful backdrop for a top down cruise.

Photo Credit: xshamethestrongx

The ocean backdrop for a road trip is taken care of, but is there some thing to keep my stomach from growling louder than the road under the tires? The Mississippi Gulf Coast Beaches arc around some of the most fertile waters. Shrimpers and fish boats have been plying their trade along here for centuries. The basic ingredients have been met with cooking traditions from Europe and Africa mixed with a deep indigenous history. This is a region where I expect to be asked about food before I will be asked about weather and that will make me happy.

Photo Credit: Ludie Cochrane

An ocean feast is good, but I can’t forget about the land the butts up to the ocean. This is Mississippi. That would make this road trip a skip through one of the classic American barbecue states. I firmly believe in balance. When it comes to food, there is no better balance than a combination of the ocean bounty with a farmers bounty. They don’t always need to coexist on the same plate but getting tastes of both on a road trip is a great way to avoid being overly indulged in either. Besides with a barbecue sampler typically overflowing the plate there would be no room for anything from the sea.

Photo Credit: jimmywayne