Treat yourself to 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
Strong points: Start with the complimentary Saturday afternoon wine tasting in the leafy courtyard of Bacchanal Fine Wine and Spirits, then head to Chef Donald Link’s Cochon Butcher for the world’s best muffaletta or local chef’s French gourmet restaurant Louisiana John Besh, in August, for dishes like snapper courtbouillon. Sleep from a food coma at Soniat House, a boutique hotel in the French Quarter (from $195).
Next, head to 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 Shed BBQ and Blues. Join South Coast Paddling for an overnight kayaking trip along 12 miles of empty sandy beaches on Horn Island ($125).
In Alabama, rent a beach house on 7 miles of white sand Dauphin Island (find one on homeaway.com) and cross sightings of 420 bird species off your bucket list by visiting the bird sanctuary Audubon of 164 acres.
Board the ferry to Fort Morgan and head east to Destin, Florida: rent a paddleboard or surfboard from Ride on Surf School (from $20 per hour) , play in the surf, then dine on Harbor Docks’ expansive deck, dripping with fresh seafood. In Apalachicola, fish for plaice, redfish, tarpon or triggerfish with Robinson Brothers Guide Service (from $550).
Head south to St. George’s Island, travel 2.5 miles to the primitive campsite at Gap Point, pitch a tent and cast a line for plaice, rockfish, sea trout, spanish mackerel or pompano.
DEVIATION: Head to Pensacola in late April for the famous Mullet Toss at the iconic Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar. The quirky goal of the contest: toss a dead mullet (the fish, not a scalp) over the state line.