Five Tasty Spots to Stop for Alligator, Fuel, and Coffee on Your Drive Across Florida

Categories: Travel Hog
Country Pride rest.jpg
Joni Williams
So you went away for the holidays. And now it's time to hit the long road home. Or maybe your home is a wintry wonderland and you're driving down for some fun in the Magic City sun.

Either way, we know how it is. The race to get here can be a real drag. The last thing you want is to make the long road longer by searching for places to fill up fast on food, fuel, and maybe even a little fun.

No worries. We've found some convenient, interesting stops right by Florida's interstates that can get you fed and fueled in no time flat.

Here are a few to get you started:

1. Cheap Eats, Billion-Dollar View: Dairy Queen, Pensacola, I-10E Exit 6

Not only does this DQ offer the Blizzards, Blitz Burgers, and onion rings we know and love, but also it overlooks Escambia Bay. That's right. We're talking waterfront, baby. The gorgeous, panoramic water view rivals that of even the best restaurants in this town, but without the long waits or high prices. Because it's fast food, it's, well, fast. And cheap.

Joni Williams
A burger, rings, and Blizzard will set you back well under ten bucks. And the billion-dollar view? Free. Wait, it gets even better. This DQ is not only next to the interstate but also adjacent to a gas station. You can continue your Zen-like gaze at the water while filling your car's hungry tank with all the fuel it can hold.

So go ahead. Ogle, slurp, burp, and enjoy. And do it without wasting one precious minute or mile of your trip. 

2. Keep On Truckin... With One-Stop Food, Fuel & 'Feine: TA Travel Center, Marianna, I-10E Exit 142

Before your mind goes wandering into the gutter, we'll tell you up front: In this instance, TA is short for Trucks & Automobiles. Uh-huh. Just what you were thinking, right? Us too.

Joni Williams
The name is not only appropriate because the traditional truck stop has become so passe, but also because the TA Travel Center does indeed host an ample amount of both trucks and cars, along with their drivers and passengers. And what an interesting crowd it is. If you like to people-watch, this is the place to do it.

That said, if you also like to fill up on fuel and food all in one stop, this is the place to do those things as well. While this particular TA is home to four fast-food outlets, anyone wanting to chow down on an equally quick, homestyle meal can do so at its Country Pride Restaurant.

Joni Williams
Country Pride offers a serve-yourself bounty brimming with the kind of eats your mama would make. If your mama were Southern, that is. Think fried chicken, roasted meats swimming in gravy, mashed 'taters, beans, and veggies. And don't forget the desserts, for land's sake. We counted four of them, all of the mysterious cakey variety slathered in syrupy fruits, pudding, or something that ends in "whip." (Is it Dream or Cool? Who cares! it's pretty dang good.)

Joni Williams
This all-you-can-eat, rib-stickin' fare is fast and cheap: $8.99 for lunch, $10.99 for dinner, and $4.99 for kids anytime.

But if all you really want is a cup of joe, skip across the hall to TA's jam-packed convenience store -- which stocks just about everything under the sun -- where you'll find a snazzy coffee bar offering several types of brews, creamers, and sweeteners. It isn't exactly Starbucks, but for a truck stop -- uh, we mean travel center -- it's rather impressive. We think a large java runs around two bucks, but we're not sure. And neither are the employees. We asked two of them, and both confessed they were clueless about the price.

Oh well, just one more reason to love this convenient and quirky place.

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My Voice Nation Help

I like the entertaining writing style and the tips are right on (have been to three of these joints).


Alligator is spelled wrong in your header.

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