The drive-in restaurant is a relic of the past that harkens to the era of the road trip. Not many remain from the heyday but the South is home to many, still with their carhops serving hungry travelers. The next time you’re in one of these destinations, be sure to pull over.
Cardinal Drive-In, Winfield, Alabama
If you want a good meal when traveling north of Tuscaloosa, detour to Cardinal Drive-In in Winfield, Alabama. It has pull-in spots where you can order classic American dishes like chili fries, milkshakes, and hamburgers.
Ed Walker’s Drive-In, Fort Smith, Arkansas
Decorated in razorbacks honoring the University of Arkansas mascot, Ed Walker’s Drive-In has been a local favorite in Fort Smith since 1943.
The menu has favorites like their famous French dip and the Hubcap Burger, weighing in at a whopping five pounds. It’s also the only place in Arkansas with curb service beer.
The Varsity, Atlanta, Georgia
The Varsity is known as the “world’s largest drive-in,” with locations in Atlanta and Athens. The sprawling restaurant opened in 1928 and is popular with sports fans and celebrities alike. The menu has unique items like the Frosted Orange, chili slaw dogs, and apple hand pies.
Moonlight Drive In, Titusville, Florida
Moonlight Drive-In has been a staple of Titusville, located on Florida‘s Space Coast, since 1964. It was named for the Apollo missions to the moon. The blast from the past has menu highlights like hand-spun milkshakes, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
Parkette Drive In, Lexington, Kentucky
Another favorite is what was originally called “Kentucky fried chicken.” The original neon sign still lights the way and the drive-in hosts cruise-ins for classic cars.
D&D Drive In, Larose, Louisiana
If you’re looking to explore the deep bayou south of Houma, Louisiana, D&D Drive In is one of the handful of restaurants to choose from. Open since 1964, the menu includes hot dogs, chili, po boys, and milkshakes.
Johnnie’s Drive In, Tupelo, Mississippi
Johnnie’s Drive In in Tupelo, Mississippi was a favorite of a young Elvis Presley, whose booth is memorialized with his photos. The restaurant first opened in 1945. Order what he did, a dough burger, or a breakfast biscuit.
South 21 Drive In, Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina‘s own South 21 Drive In has been feeding hungry patrons since 1955. Enjoy fried chicken, onion rings, and other favorites or, if you’re especially famished, the famous Super Boy burger.
Sno-Cap Drive-In, North Augusta, South Carolina
Just across the Georgia state line in North Augusta, South Carolina is the Sno-Cap Drive In, which has been open since 1964. Menu highlights include a root beer float, barbecue sandwich, and the chili slaw dog.
Snow White Drive In, Lebanon, Tennessee
Doumar’s Barbecue, Norfolk, Virginia
Open in Norfolk, Virginia since 1904, Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue is an essential stop for travelers. Home to the world’s first ice cream cone machine, the menu features Carolina-style barbecue, hot dogs, and fried ham sandwiches.