Exploring Louisiana’s Highlights & Hidden Gems
There’s no better way to explore all Louisiana has to offer than by taking a road trip! Along the way, you’ll experience Louisiana’s most popular attractions along with quirky marvels.
Louisiana has 19 trails & byways, each telling their own unique stories. Variety spices up the Louisiana Great River Road Byway along the Mississippi River for more than 700 miles – stretching from Poverty Point World Heritage Site in northeast Louisiana, through Baton Rouge, down to New Orleans and beyond. Throughout your trip, lay your head in fascinating accommodations like the Inn at the Old Jail, built as a New Orleans police jail and patrol station in 1901.
The Creole Nature Trail Byway lies on one of North America’s largest bird migration routes. You’ll find attractions from the Charpentier Historic District and prime gaming at several popular casinos in Lake Charles, to Holly and Cameron beaches for ideal relaxation and sunset-watching.
Discover the Atchafalaya Basin’s bayous and cypress forests along the Bayou Teche Byway. Take a swamp tour, visit the TABASCO Factory and the onsite Museum, Country Store and Restaurant 1868. Plus History buffs will love the Wedell-Williams Aviation & Cypress Sawmill Museum in Patterson and the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site in St. Martinville.
How about a road trip to explore Louisiana’s state parks? With 21 total, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure. Check out the recently renovated Sam Houston Jones State Park, paddling at Chemin-a-Haut, glamping at Grand Isle, horseback riding at Bogue Chitto or fishing and watersports at North & South Toledo Bend State Parks.
And of course, Louisiana has plenty of small town charm nestled in Main Street Communities throughout every corner of the state. Downtown Hammond won the 2022 Great American Main Street Award. Focal points include Railroad Park, Jacmel Inn’s southern cuisine and the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum & Veterans Archives. The Louisiana Renaissance Festival is a big deal, with hundreds of artisans, entertainers, demonstrations, food vendors and more.
Several Louisiana communities have earned Main Street America’s top level of recognition—Nationally Accredited status! Among them are Monroe and West Monroe. Dine at popular area restaurants like Restaurant Cotton or Parish Restaurant, shop along Antique Alley, visit the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens and end the night with live music at Enoch’s Irish Pub & Cafe.
Nearby, start your day in Ruston at Railway Coffee, then partake in retail therapy at Dussé Boutique or Ivy & Stone and peruse local art at Ruston Artisans. Sundown Tavern provides an inviting pub-style experience with live music, and Heard Freighthouse Food Truck Park features a variety of cuisines. A visit here wouldn’t be complete without attending the Louisiana Peach Festival, celebrating the local bounty in many forms.
Check out the Denham Springs Historic District & Antique Village where there’s a lot more than antiques. The Historic District fills with hundreds of vendors, games, rides, food booths and more at the area’s Spring and Fall Festivals. You won’t have to stray far to visit the Old City Hall Museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For a great bite to eat, head over to Randazzo’s Italian Market and for drinks – Le Chien Brewing is a family-and-pet-friendly microbrewery serving up quality beers and sodas.
Minden Main Street had the honor of appearing on HGTV’s “Home Town Kickstart.” Included was Geaux Fresh Bistro & Bakery, offering fresh and healthy meals plus sinful desserts, and the Miller Quarters Community Park spanning plenty of space to enjoy. Learn the story of Webster Parish at the Dorcheat Historical Museum and the Germantown Colony Museum before winding down at the Huffman House Bed & Breakfast, a Queen Anne Revival home built in 1918 offering modern amenities.
Plan a visit to Crowley – the Rice Capital of the World – for the International Rice Festival and stay to explore the area. The Grand Opera House of the South is a beautifully restored historic theater that hosts shows and events, and the Crowley City Hall, Historic Ford Building is comprised of four interesting museums. Dine and drink at Reggie’s Downtown, a restaurant and microbrewery using Crowley rice and other locally-soured ingredients.
Where will you road trip? Start planning today at LouisianaTravel.com.
First published at Travel Industry Today