May has the biggest barbecue event of the year: Memorial Day, when chefs fire up the grills and cook up tasty cuisine at campgrounds across the U.S. Backyard chefs will argue over which state has the best barbecue, but we don’t have time to engage in a debate. Instead, let us recommend two gorgeous states where the food is as spectacular as the scenery.
Get in the Bluegrass State spirit at these delicious destinations.
Explore Daniel Boone National Forest
Set within Daniel Boone National Forest, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is home to what locals affectionately refer to as “Niagara of the South.”
With a wide rock shelf more than 250 million years old, the Cumberland River tumbles over a horseshoe-shaped drop and plummets 65 feet into a large open river basin. At its seasonal peak (when the river is in “flood” status), the width of the falls stretch to upwards of 300 feet, but even at the river’s lowest point the falls span a 125-foot half-circle.
After the day’s adventures, take a table at Sonny’s BBQ, which has slow-cooked brisket, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, ribs and more since 1968.
Fire Up the Grill in Dry Ridge
Located in Kentucky’s northern river region, Dry Ridge puts visitors close to the region’s most dynamic cities. To the southeast on Interstate 71, Louisville is home to Mark’s Feed Store, which serves up hearty ribs, barbecue sandwiches, or the Kentucky classic burgoo (a spicy stew). While in town, don’t miss the Lousiville Slugger Museum and Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, set for May 7.
Directly south on Interstate 75, the town of Lexington has established itself as the “Horse Capital of the World.” Check out the International Museum of the Horse, with exhibits focused on the equines, the jockeys and the owners who made history at the Kentucky Derby. At the Kentucky Horse Park, you can learn about more than 50 breeds witness equestrian demonstrations in the 1,200-acre park. At the Blue Door Smokehouse, patrons can enjoy succulent pulled pork sandwiches and juicy combo plates.
Eat Prime Cuts in Paducah
Located on the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers, Paducah is home to longstanding folk art traditions, from mural painting to quilts. In fact, the city’s quilt tradition has made it a UNESCO Creative City and it’s also home to the National Quilt Museum. The barbecue isn’t so bad either: Check out Starnes B-B-Q, with its own sauce and tasty slabs of meat cooked over hickory smoke.
Choose from the following Kentucky RV parks:
|Laurel Lake Camping Resort, Corbin||Duck Creek RV Park, Paducah|
|Northern KY RV Park, Dry Ridge|
Have fun on the coast in the Old Dominion.
Dive into the Atlantic at Virginia Beach
In Virginia Beach, spring is a great time to kayak off the coast and see dolphins cavort in the ocean. Back on land, the nearby Pungo Agricultural District has 16 pick-your-own farms where you can pick your own bushel of fresh berries, produce or even a bouquet of wildflowers. Barbecue on the beach? Beach Bully Bar-B-Q serves up Carolina-style barbecue uses a vinegar-based sauce that is tangier than traditional BBQ. Try the Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich to start.
Froggies Smoke Tap House in Virginia Beach does everything right, patiently smoking the meat onsite and serving housemade sauces for brisket, chicken, pork and wings. There’s also a wide selection of beers and live entertainment.
Choose from the following Virginia RV parks:
|Americamps RV Resort, Ashland||Madison Vines RV Resort & Cottages, Madison|
|Lake Gaston Americamps, Bracey||Picture Lake Campground, Petersburg|
|Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, Cape Charles||North Landing Beach RV Resort & Cottages, Virginia Beach|
|Misty Mountain Camp Resort, Greenwood|