Road trips and fast food go hand in hand. But making the right choices when deciding where to pull off and eat can be tricky.
Do you go with a reliable national joint or test your luck at a regional chain?
We recommend going with the latter. McDonald's and Chipotle are great... but you can eat them at home. Instead, test out these local specialties. We promise, you won't regret it.
In the South
Nothing says "delicious burger" like a cult following, and that's exactly what Whataburger has. Southerners -- Texans, in particular -- go nuts for these burgers, patty melts (on Texas toast!) and addictive fries.
We may not agree with their politics, but they sure do know how to make chicken taste like heaven. Get a pack of nuggets and/or a sandwich, fries and lots of Polynesian sauce. There are locations all over the South, you can't -- and shouldn't -- miss them. Get a milkshake for the road.
Another Southern staple you need to check out, Bojangles has chicken and biscuits down to a science. A really tasty science.
Only in the South would you find a place called Biscuitville. Located throughout North Carolina and Virgina, Biscuitville specialize in one of the most quintessential road trip meals -- all-day breakfast. Bacon, egg and cheese on a biscuit? Yes, please!
On The West Coast
Renowned around the country, but only available to West Coasters (and some lucky Texans), In-N-Out is famous for its burgers and secret-menu items. This is probably already high on your list if you're driving along the West Coast, but if it's not, it should be.
Dick's Deluxe Burger is a Washington-state cult classic. A smaller chain with locations around the Seattle-area, Dick's serves up the classic trio of burgers, fries and shakes. Check out the hype while you're in the region.
With burgers, all-day breakfast, tacos and dessert, Jack in the Box pretty much satisfies all cravings. The chain is infamous for operating 24 hours a day, so you can fill those cravings whenever you want. Though there are select locations scattered around the country, the chain is most populous on the West Coast.
In The Northeast
If you're wary of roadside diners, don't fear -- the Silver Diner, a chain with locations in New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, won't let you down. The menu is huge and the food quality is high. The chain's food policy emphasizes locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.
The perfect stop on a trip through upstate New York, Mighty Taco is a favorite of locals and worth any traveler's visit. The menu allows for plenty of taco and burrito customization, and if you really love it, their "chow down" service will ship products to wherever you live in the United States.
In The Mid West
One word: Butterbugers. Culver's trademark Butterburger, famous frozen custard and house-brand root beer make it a destination for your midwest road trip.
One of the oldest chain restaurants in the United States, Maid-Rite has been serving up "loose meat sandwiches" since 1926. If you need a change of pace from the usual burger and fries, try Maid-Rite's sloppy joe-esque sandwich with a side of cheese curds.
For a spin on fast food-style "West Mex," check out Taco John's. They've got your typical fare, in addition to modern incarnations such as the stuffed grilled taco, taco burger and a meat and potato burrito.
What are your favorite chains to stop at while driving on the open road?