Classic Road Trip Snacks Every Southerner Loves

Food so good you won’t even notice the traffic.

farm stand produce
Photo: Brian Hagiwara

When it comes to a good old-fashioned road trip, it's about the journey, not the destination. And we're just fine with that—so long as our journey is fueled by good snacks. Here, we've rounded up 9 classic Southern road trip snacks we'd never be caught in the car without.

Peanuts and Coca-Cola

It's almost like this classic combo was designed for whichever poor, unfortunate soul got stuck driving the family car seven hours across Texas. Pour the packet of salted peanuts into the bottle of Coca-Cola, and you've got a sweet and salty snack that only requires one hand—which makes driving the hand-me-down stick shift that much easier.

Boiled Peanuts

Yes, the ones you find in the produce section of the grocery store will suffice in a pinch, but we're more in favor of the especially salty ones you'll find at roadside stands on every Southern backroad this side of the Mississippi. If we're on our way to the beach, we'll buy one paper bag or Styrofoam cup of boiled peanuts for the ride and another for once we get there.

Fresh Produce

Whenever we stop to pick up the boiled peanuts, we're quick to grab locally grown peaches and tomatoes and whatever else is in season too. No, a peach so juicy that it dribbles down your chin isn't the most practical shotgun snack, but that's why we keep a roll of paper towels in the backseat anyway.

Pork Rinds and Cracklins

The deep-fried pig skins seem to inspire a strong "love 'em" or "hate 'em" response, but for the "love 'em" crowd, there's no other snack that so perfectly satisfies an interstate craving for something salty and crunchy.

Gas Station Delicacies

We aren't too proud to pick up lunch from whatever gas station we're closest to. From biscuit sandwiches to pickled eggs to hot dogs to chicken on a stick, there's no shortage of options for satiating highway hunger.


The s'more-like treat is a chocolate-covered antidote for stop-and-roll traffic, cramped backseats, and a relentless chorus of tiny passengers asking, "Are we there yet?"

Flavored Sunflower Seeds

For some, the original salted and roasted sunflower seeds fit the bill, but for those who want a classic snack with a little pep in its step, there are plenty of inventive flavors to sample, like ranch and sour cream and onion. Just keep a cup on hand for the shells; nobody likes a litterbug.

Anything from Buc-ee's

The Texas-based country store and gas station known for its sparkling clean bathrooms and dizzying array of food options has cemented itself as an important member of the Southern culinary canon—particularly when it comes to road trip snacks. We'll brake for the Beaver Nuggets, freshly made chips, and barbecue sandwiches.

Something Your Mama Made You

Of course, no trip is complete without a small Igloo cooler or sack of food that your mama or grandmama sent with you. Whether it's her signature trail mix, from-scratch pimiento cheese, peanut butter crackers, or a square of sheet cake, there's no denying that her simplest snacks taste even better on the road.

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