Best Places To Visit in Louisiana
Louisiana is as beautiful as any other state in the USA. This southern state stretches all the way from the warm shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the northern ranches and grasslands of Texas and Arkansas, and in the east, the mighty Mississippi River gives it a natural border. It’s after all in Louisiana, that the Mississippi meets the Gulf of Mexico, making the most spectacular swamplands, marshes, and natural forests. But that’s not all, and there are so much to see and so many things to do in Louisiana that you might just make a week-long tour. Here is a Louisiana travel guide that covers top tourist attractions and places to visit in Louisiana:
Avery Island is famous for the manufacture of the hot and spicy sauce popular the world over as Tabasco sauce. You can actually go on a tour of the Tabasco factory, museum, warehouse, and see the production of this world-famous sauce brand. Just close to Tabasco Factory Tours, is the Jungle Gardens, where you can see birds, alligators, and other wildlife species.
Honey Island Swamp
Louisiana has some of the best bayous and swamplands of the United States, and Honey Island is certainly the best. You can go on the Original Honey Island Swamp Tour and watch the trees rising above the marshy grasslands, and huge swampy grounds. These swamps form a habitat for alligators, otters, egrets, herons, turtles, and other diverse forms of wildlife. You can also visit small villages to learn more about their culture. No wonder, it is one of the top places to see and tourist attractions of Louisiana that you can explore all around the year.
Oak Alley Plantation
The plantations of Louisiana are its famous places, and you should visit the Oak Alley Plantation for its magnificent century-old oak trees. This is a National Historic Landmark due to its wonderful green landscape and architectural heritage. If you are interested in US history, then you will find Oak Alley Plantation a lot more interesting as there is everything to be learned about slavery, the American Civil War, history of sugar plantations here.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Reserve
Preserving the natural, historic, and cultural heritage of Louisiana is the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. It is named after the famous French pirate Jean Lafitte, this park has fascinating wetlands of the Barataria Preserve and historical sites such as Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. If you like to know more about the unique culture of Louisiana, then visit Acadian Cultural Center, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, and Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. These landmarks are best if you want to get a close experience of the unique Cajun and Creole culture of Louisiana.
The largest swamp region in the US is situated right here in Louisiana tourist attractions. Atchafalaya Basin has the most bewildering range of wildlife like waterfowls, snakes, alligators, otters, and other unique species. Here you can go on a tour of Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, where you will find cypress trees rising out of the swampy marshlands, and you can do a lot of activities here like kayaking, paddle boating, fishing. No wonder, it is one of the top 10 places to visit in Louisiana all around the year.
Louisiana has some mesmerizing barrier islands at the mouth of the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf of Mexico. Grand Isle is definitely worth visiting due to its long beaches. You will find some exciting activities to do in Grand Isle like deep-sea fishing, camping, birding, boating. Grand Isle State Park is a treat for all wildlife lovers, and you will find some fantastic species of birds, reptiles, unique mammals. Do not miss out on Butterfly Dome, where there are hundreds of colorful butterflies hovering in the air. And you will get the juiciest seafood in restaurants and cafes.
You will find vintage architecture here in Natchitoches, and especially, if you visit the downtown area of Natchitoches, then it is even an exciting thing to do. Century-old buildings and houses speak volumes about the thriving culture that still prevails in Louisiana’s oldest cities. The art-deco buildings are a beautiful sight. There is so much to do here in Natchitoches, and you can visit the plantations nearby like Magnolia, Melrose, Oakland Plantations, and see the colonial history and plantation life that existed centuries ago. Taste the delicious meat pie here, and if you are going there at Christmas time, then you must take part in the Natchitoches Christmas Festival.
Baton Rouge is the capital city of Louisiana, and the Old State Capitol is one of its top historic landmarks. Another landmark you should visit is the Baton Rouge Zoo, which is a delightful place for kids and the whole family. There are museums like LSU Rural Life Museum, LSU Rural Life Museum, and others where you can immerse yourself in history, science, arts, and culture. Another famous landmark is the USS Kidd, the destroyer ship used during World War II, and you can visit its museum to know more about American naval history. Downtown Baton Rouge is situated along the Mississippi River, and you will find many restaurants, shops, amusement parks here.
This is the most famous city in Louisiana and if you like the best places in New Orleans then you should visit the French Quarter. This is where you will see historic buildings with fine art-deco architecture. Bourbon Street is the party hub of New Orleans and there are bars and live music. There are historic places like Congo Square, streets full of art galleries, curio shops, where you will find many of the best restaurants and cafes. New Orleans is famous for its annual Mardi Gras festival, and if you like some Jazz music, then you will find many places to hear that. St. Louis Cathedral and National WWII Museum are two of the best places in New Orleans.
Culture, cuisine, art, music, history…. There is a little bit of everything at Breaux Bridge, one of the smaller towns in Louisiana. Here you will be able to enjoy live Jazz music in restaurants, eat delicious Creole cuisine, and you should visit the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, where you can enjoy live music, beer, art, dance, and of course, juicy and delicious Crawfish. There are many bayous and swamps where you can visit Lake Martin for bird watching and fishing. You can also explore the amazing waterways at Atchafalaya Basin and see the wildlife that breeds here.
Vermilionville Historic Village
There’s everything unique and original here at Vermilionville Historic Village in Louisiana, from the traditional pastoral houses to the Creole food. You will find old architecture here, and some unique crafts that folk people here have been creating for many centuries. Things like quilts, clothing, textiles, have been preserved as it is, and house features have been carefully preserved too, to give you a feel of the centuries-old Native Indian culture that existed at this place.
The plantations in Louisiana are the best places to learn about the history, culture, and traditions of people who came to Louisiana and settled here centuries ago. In Laura Plantation, you will not only see the dark history of plantation workers but also learn about the unique Creole crafts, buildings preserved for centuries, cabins where slaves lived, and the sugar plantations where they worked. A tour is the best to know about Laura Plantation, and you will have to do a lot of walking, while you wonder at the beauty of the gardens and green open spaces.
Kisatchie National Forest
If you like the great outdoors, then one of the best places in Louisiana is Kisatchie National Forest. This is a protected forest, and it is a huge green space, full of pine forests, crystal clear lakes, hiking trails, and camping grounds. Kids, as well as adults, will enjoy being surrounded by natural beauty, and you can do many activities here like hiking, mountain biking, swimming, camping, fishing, horseback riding. Trails like the Longleaf Vista Interpretive Trail, Wild Azalea Trail, Sugar Cane Trail will take you to deep forests, ridges, streams, and you can just spot a quail, woodcock, squirrel going on through their daily lives.
Abita Springs is a little town in Louisiana, where the famous Abita Beer is made. Once, the spring waters at Abita Springs were believed to have therapeutic qualities. Today, you can know everything about the native tribes and their folk art at the Trailhead Museum. You can hire a bike and hit the Tammany Trace, or you can just have a leisurely walk here. You can catch some music at the Abita Opry or find farm-fresh veggies, fruits at Abita Springs Art & Farmers Market. Kids can enjoy themselves here too, as they splash about in the water at Abita Springs Park Splash Pad. Abita Mystery House is also worth visiting as there are vintage pianos, quirky collections of objects, houses, gift shops. You can also taste some freshly brewed beer at Abita Brew Pub.
Chauvin Sculpture Garden
You’ll find Chauvin Sculpture Garden one of the most unique tourist spots and places to visit in Louisiana. It is a vast area full of interesting sculptures, buildings, lifesize figurines, and these number up to a hundred. The Lighthouse is one such sculpture made entirely out of bricks. Others include windmills, dinosaurs, angels, waterfalls, etc.
Shreveport is one of the top metropolitan cities and top places to visit in Louisiana. Here you will find so many things to do and there are interesting places here that you can visit. You can watch marine creatures at the Shreveport Aquarium. You can immerse yourself in art in various art museums like artspace or R.W. Norton Art Gallery. You can have some serious fun at The Blind Tiger, one of the famous spots in Shreveport for nightlife. Casinos are also there if you want to try your hand at blackjack or roulette. You can go outskirts of Shreveport and enjoy outdoor recreation at Caddo Lake or Gators & Friends Adventure Park.
Lake Claiborne State Park
Situated in the northern part of Louisiana, Lake Claiborne State Park is a woodland area where you will enjoy top things to do in Louisiana such as boating, fishing, picnicking, golfing, and mountain biking, besides being in pristine wilderness. You’ll love the sandy beaches of Lake Claiborne, and indulge in water sports. You can hike on the Dogwood Nature Trail, or take your bike to do biking on the Whispering Pines Bike Trail. Restaurants and cafes are serving delicious food.
Louisiana has some wonderful wilderness areas, and Tunica Hills is a region full of hardwood forests, pine trees, lakes, waterfalls, and hiking trails. You can go deep into the hilly forests by taking any one of the hiking trails. You can go pitch a tent among the green environs, or go spotting wildlife, or ride a bike and explore the surroundings by yourself. You can visit Clark Creek Natural Area and see waterfalls cascading down the rocks. You can also spot some birds with your binoculars if you are lucky.
Louisiana is famous for its Mardi Gras, one of the most colorful cultural festivals in the USA, and even if you cannot take part in this festival, or are not visiting Louisiana at the time of the Mardi Gras, then be sure to visit the Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. At Mardi Gras World, you can go on a shuttle tour and visit the floats that are hand-made by artisans. You can see the colorful gowns, props, costumes, or visit studios where the floats are built. You can even interact with artisans or see a documentary about Mardi Gras.
Fontainebleau State Park
Situated on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, the Fontainebleau State Park is a scenic place where you can do several recreational activities such as kayaking, hiking, fishing, camping, etc. It is within driving distance of New Orleans, and once, there used to be a sugar plantation here. If you like sunbathing, or making sandcastles, then you can do so on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. You can spot birdlife among the greenery, and hit a hiking trail, and go explore the deep woods. You can paddle a kayak, or pitch a tent, or camp with your friends.
What’s next waiting for you?
Now you know where to go and what to do in Louisiana, you can plan your travel with utmost enthusiasm. Check out our other travel guides if you are planning to explore best places to visit near Louisiana.