Hi Trent, Great you are coming to Croatia. Starting from Zagreb you will drive to Plitvice Lakes National Park. After that you drive to Zadar for a short visit and good lunch. You could stop for a day and take a full day trip to Kornati. After that drive to Šibenik. If you like the lakes and waterfalls you can visit Krka National Park. Then, on the way to Split there is Trogir and finally Split. After Split you drive south to Dubrovnik. You need minimum two days in Dubrovnik and take a short trip to Cavtat by car or by boat. I would suggest you leave the car at Dubrovnik Airport and fly back to Zagreb.
One more place is not to miss especially regarding your interest in food. It's Ston, 1 hr drive before Dubrovnik. Ston is famous for oystresses and mussels. Don't miss a meal there.
If you need a guide in Zagreb and more information write back and I'll give you my contact.
If you want an adventure in kayaks in Dubrovnik or more check www.outdoorcroatia.com
I would recommend Šibenik which is a beautiful coastal town
And Krka National Park which is lovely. Both have some amazing scenery.
Before you go road tripping through the Balkans, double check the refugee/border control situation and make sure you have all of your paperwork with you at all times. They are starting to shut down borders.
You will love Plitvice Lakes National Park - I was there two weeks ago and it's beautiful.
Hubby and I hired a huge van from Zagreb and drove (with 6 of our mates) south to Plitvicka Jezera, camped for 2 nights, drove through Mostar (where you can jump of the Stari Most (Old Bride)), stayed in the Kotor Old Town (the most amazing Old Town I have ever been in), camped at Lake Shkodra Resort, drove back north to Dubrovnik and camped just outside it in Orašac.
We did this epic adventure in 10 days, but it was a bit crammed. I've not yet been to Split, but I can say that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are beautiful places to explore. There are lots of things to do in Montenegro, white water rafting, kayaking, swimming, etc.
You can check out our epic holiday, including photos, costs and driving times on my blog: http://www.neverendinghoneymoon.net/
There are also some helpful guides for driving in the Balkans, Kotor Old Town and Dubrovnik there too.