© Courtesy Fotoluminate LLC - Fotolia.com
From historic city inns near famous attractions to quiet country B&Bs, there are many beautiful romantic getaways to choose from when planning a Louisiana vacation. Stay in a former home of a famous French impressionist in New Orleans, check into a cozy loft in Lafayette or spend a few days in a house in Natchitoches which was featured in the award-winning film "Steel Magnolias." For a more quiet escape, check into one of the country inns where you will be surrounded by lawns, trees and lakes. Here are the romantic weekend getaways & Louisiana destinations.
1.Degas House, New Orleans
© Degas House
Degas House in New Orleans, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the historic home of Edgar Degas, the famous French impressionist. Guests can stay in one of three suites, each of which sleeps up to four people, or one of two rooms, each of which can accommodate two guests. There are four additional rooms in the Garret with space for two or three people. All guestrooms have their own bathrooms, and some feature antique claw-foot tubs, Jacuzzi tubs, or private balconies.
In the morning, guests receive a homemade breakfast that is cooked to order and has items such as Bananas Foster, Pain Perdu, omelets, and French Waffles, as well as a Mimosa or Bloody Mary. A tour is also included in your stay as a guest, with all tours led by one of Degas’s descendants. There is also a walking tour of the neighborhood that is available to guests. Rooms start at $159 per night.
2306 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119. Details
2.Buchanan Lofts, Lafayette
© Buchanan Lofts
Buchanan Lofts in Lafayette consist of retro-chic accommodations in a refurbished downtown warehouse within walking distance of downtown attractions. Instead of having identical rooms, each of the 9 lofts in the building has a unique personality, layout, and decor. They all contain modern amenities such as TV, internet, phone, and Blu-Ray DVD players, as well as Egyptian cotton sheets. Some lofts also have full kitchens with a dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, and range, and there are options for 3, 4, or 5 guests. The lofts also feature sitting areas with couches and armchairs, and small dining areas, depending on the one that you select. Although there is no restaurant within Buchanan Lofts, its location in the heart of downtown Lafayette a range of restaurants featuring international and local cuisine within walking distance. Lofts start at $130.
403 S Buchanan St, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501, 337-534-4922
© Maison D'Memoire
Maison D'Memoire is designed for romantic getaways and is just 15 minutes from Lafayette, in Cajun country. You should plan a stay at Maison D’Memoire in advance as there are only four cottages, with three that can sleep two, and one that can fit between two and four guests. Every cottage has a full kitchen and there are also Jacuzzi suites and private porches. The Sweet Surrender Cottage, for example, has a heart-shaped Jacuzzi, an electric fireplace, and lake views from the porch. Each cottage is a hundred years old or more and has been fully restored to include modern amenities such as ceiling fans, DVD players, central heating and air conditioning. If you are looking for romantic cabins in Louisiana, this is a great place to stay.
The bed and breakfast also features a private lake right on the property and multiple spots for secluded interactions. Breakfast is included with all stays and it is delivered right to your door so that you can have a romantic and private meal. There are also multiple local restaurants in Rayne to dine at for lunch or dinner. Cottages start at $159 per night.
8450 Roberts Cove Rd, Rayne, Louisiana 70578, 866-580-2477
© Jazz Quarters
Jazz Quarters is centrally located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, with charming brick courtyards, sculpted gardens, and Creole cottages that date back to the 1800’s. The majority of guest rooms have faux antique or antique furniture and high ceilings and there are 10 rooms and suites to select from. This includes 3 king suites, 1 king cottage, 2 queen suites, 3 queen suite cottages, and 1 queen guest room. Each room comes with high-speed internet, secured parking, a refrigerator in room, a flat screen TV, private bathroom, and coffee service in room.
There are also beautiful courtyards on site and the staff can work with you to schedule a private yoga class, in-room massage, flowers, champagne, or area tours. Your stay includes a complimentary hot breakfast in the Garlands Dining Room, which features coffee with chicory, Amy’s breakfast couscous, and items like bananas foster, French toast, grillades and cheese grits, and sweet potato soufflé. Cottages start at $144 per night.
1129 St Philip St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116, 504-523-1372
5.The Steel Magnolia House
© The Steel Magnolia House
The building of The Steel Magnolia House dates back to the 1830’s and is right along the Cane River in Natchitoches. It features Civil War history and became famous as the backdrop for many scenes in 1989’s “Steel Magnolias.” Guests can stay in the Shelby Room, Jackson Room, M’Lynn Room, Clairee Suite, or Truvy’s Carriage House. Throughout the rooms, you will notice antique furniture, Egyptian cotton sheets, private baths, fireplaces, full Teaster Beds, original oil paintings, and more. Those who are familiar with “Steel Magnolias” will recognize areas of the rooms and building from the film.
The Carriage House is separate from the main building, where the other rooms are found. The main house also features a living room with French marble mantles and an Italian mirrored coffee table that is hand painted. The home also has a family room with items from around the world. Guests can enjoy a complimentary gourmet breakfast, lush grounds, and a pool.
320 Jefferson St, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457, 318-238-2585
6.Barrow House Inn
© Barrow House Inn
This romantic bed and breakfast is on a historic property and is perfect for getting away from it all on your Louisiana vacation. Famous actors and actresses have stayed here and one of the buildings, the Printer’s House, is the oldest home in the St. Francisville Area, dating back to 1780. There are three suites to choose from in the Printer’s House, and three rooms plus one suite to select from in the Barrow House, which dates back to 1809.
Decorations and furnishings vary by room, but some highlights include reclining easy chairs, LCD HDTVs, Blu-Ray DVD players, mid-Victorian parlor sets from the 1860s, full canopy beds, private baths, antique wicker chairs, and various other furnishings from the 1800s. Every morning, you can enjoy breakfast prepared by the owner and innkeeper, Shirley Dittloff, who has shared recipes in cookbooks. There is the choice of a continental breakfast or three New Orleans variations of eggs. Rates start at $115 for two nights. Read more
9779 Royal St, St Francisville, Louisiana 70775, 225-635-4791
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7.1896 O'Malley House
© 1896 O'Malley House
1896 O'Malley House gives guests a chance to stay in a Colonial Revival bed and breakfast in the middle of the city. There are eight suites, each of which is unique, and all have private baths, cable TV, telephones with voicemail, guest robes, hair dryers, and free wireless, while many also have Jacuzzi tubs as well as granite countertops and the Concierge app. Two of the rooms feature king sized beds.
Guests have access to free snacks, soft drinks, wine, and beer as well as daily breakfast with Community Coffee which is roasted locally. The breakfast is home-cooked and involves a different hot entree every day, served on specially-made china and gold chargers. Some options include eggs sardou and creole-grilled potatoes, eggs benedict, blueberry waffles, and bananas foster. Breakfast also includes coffee, juice, biscuits, muffins, and fruit. Guests can relax in the courtyard where there is a soothing fountain as well as tables and chairs. Rooms start at $165.
120 S Pierce St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70119, 504-488-5896
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8.Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast
© Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast
Centrally located in the New Orleans Garden District, the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast is a short walk from the French Quarter and dates back to 1893. This bed and breakfast has been fully restored to include period furnishings mixed with modern amenities. There are six rooms and two suites available to choose from, each of which has a private bath with a shower, personal controls for central heat and air, cable TV, a telephone with voicemail, wireless internet, an ironing board, and hair dryer. The rooms are named after historic Louisiana plantations and have custom-made mattresses topped with a feather mattress.
Every morning guests receive a continental breakfast that you can eat in the sunny dining room or on the porte-cochere balcony and it includes sweet pastries, breads, toast, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, coffee, tea, and juice. The bed and breakfast can make arrangements for allergies and special dietary requirements. Guests can relax in the Victorian parlor, library, dining room, or on the balcony.
2727 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, 504-895-1104
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9.The Stockade Bed & Breakfast
© The Stockade Bed & Breakfast
The Stockade Bed & Breakfast in Baton Rouge gets its name from the Union stockade on the ground throughout the Civil War. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inn has six guest rooms in the Hacienda-style house which feature original artwork and a private bath. Guest rooms have antique furniture, wireless internet, a flat screen TV, DVD player, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, and mini-fridge as well as free access to the fitness center across the street.
All rooms come with a hot breakfast featuring traditional Southern dishes, with a rotating menu of items such as muffins, fresh fruit, biscuits, croissants, French toast, pancakes, hickory-smoked bacon, French omelets, egg soufflé, and garlic cheese grits. There is also coffee, tea, and juice and multiple egg dishes. Various packages include extra items such as wine or spa services at the local luxury spa. Rooms start at $150 per night.
8860 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808, 225-769-7358
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10.The Fairfield Place
© The Fairfield Place
The Fairfield Place has the distinction of being the first Bed and Breakfast in Shreveport, built around 1870. The courtyards and patios create a relaxing atmosphere while the rooms still offer modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, private baths, and cable TV. There are a total of seven rooms, each with unique furnishings and a relaxing atmosphere. All rooms can sleep two guests and some have features such as a separate entrance, claw foot tub and shower, bidet, original hardwood floors, a fireplace, or a two-person spa tub.
The building has a New Orleans-style patio to relax and enjoy the weather. A full breakfast is included, featuring orange juice, tea or coffee, French toast or eggs, cold or hot cereal, fresh fruit, sausage or bacon, and fresh biscuits or croissants. Wine is complimentary.
2221 Fairfield Ave, Shreveport, Louisiana 71104, 318-848-7776
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11.Cajun Country Cottages
© Cajun Country Cottages
Cajun Country Cottages offer guests the opportunity to relax and enjoy some solitude in the Cajun Country while staying in a historic cottage. The bed and breakfast is on a secluded property with a private 5-acre lake that is fully stocked and is on the former site of the Magenta Plantation. There are five cottages for guests to choose from: Evangeline, Little Cypress, Magenta, Playhouse, and Schoolhouse, each of which has its own decor. All cottages have typical hotel amenities, such as heating and air conditioning, and many also have full kitchens, large front porches, and their own wooden swings. You can also select a room with a fireplace, tub, private deck or pier, sitting room, two-person Jacuzzi tub, and/or high ceilings.
Guests can rock on the porch swings, fish in the lake, go for a walk, or read a book surrounded by nature. There are also canoes and boats that you can borrow for free. A full breakfast is delivered every morning right to the door of your cottage. Rates start at $165 per night.
1138 Lawless Tauzin Rd, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517 337-332-3093
12.The Savoy Bed & Breakfast
© The Savoy Bed & Breakfast
The Savoy Bed & Breakfast is bilingual, appealing to English and French speakers, and it is right in the center of Cajun Country, giving guests a private atmosphere they can only find surrounded by nature. The Guest Room is a two bedroom suite in the main house and has a patio entrance, tub and shower, and king-sized bed as well as high speed internet, a refrigerator, TV, and air conditioning. Guests can also stay in the Cajun Cottage which has a queen-sized bed, private patio, Jacuzzi, fully equipped kitchen, and billiards room as well as flat panel TV, recliner, and coffee maker.
Breakfast is served every morning at the dining table and there are numerous attractions in the area to enjoy, including art galleries, plantations, and markets. The bed and breakfast is only five minutes from Lafayette.
533 Rue Bon Secours, Scott, LA 70583. 337-237-0835
13.The Green House Inn
© The Green House Inn
The Green House Inn is designed for adults and is pet-friendly and historic, dating back to the 1840s. It is right in New Orleans, in the Lower Garden District, making it perfect for sightseeing. There are three rooms on the first floor, six on the second floor, and a suite on the third floor. Every room has individual climate controls, clock radios, TVs, deluxe king size beds, private bathrooms, and access to wireless internet. Many also have direct access to a balcony or the garden.
There is a library on site, lush gardens, a relaxing saltwater pool with waterfalls, and an oversized Jacuzzi hot tub. By the pool and gardens you will find chairs, tables, and chaise lounges. Continental breakfast is available every morning, including coffee, tea, orange juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, muffins, croissants, breakfast bars, boiled eggs, Nutella, and jellies. There is also a spring water cooler, and fresh fruit, microwave popcorn, candy, and nuts available at all times. Rooms start at $179 per night.
1212 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-525-1333
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14.Butler Greenwood Plantation & Bed and Breakfast
© Butler Greenwood Plantation
Butler Greenwood Plantation dates back to the 1790s, giving guests a historic and picturesque building to relax in and enjoy their stay. There are eight cottages that guests can stay in, each of varying sizes and styles. The Cook’s Cottage is from the 19th century, while the Old Kitchen is from 1796. All cottages have double Jacuzzis, full kitchens, full private baths, decks or porches, wireless internet, cable TV, and four-poster beds. Five of the cottages have fireplaces and layouts include one or two bedrooms. There is also a swimming pool available to all guests, and you can bring your children and guests with you.
Around the house are 50 acres of grounds, including beautifully-landscaped areas, Spanish moss, formal gardens, cast-iron benches, and unspoiled woodlands. While walking around the grounds, you will see wildlife and birds, such as chipmunks, bobcats, foxes, white-tailed deer, and herons. Rooms start at $135 per night.
8345 US-61, St Francisville, LA 70775, 225-635-6312
15.Samuel Guy House Bed and Breakfast
© Samuel Guy House Bed and Breakfast
Samuel Guy House dates back to 1850, and when it was built by Samuel Eldridge Guy it was the center of a functional plantation. The Greek Revival building was dismantled, moved, and reassembled until it arrived at its current location in Natchitoches. You will find seven guest rooms in the house as well as eight bathrooms. Each room or suite has a different theme and color scheme, but they are all designed to feel homey and relaxing. Each room has high speed internet, a large private bath with a Jacuzzi, central heating and air, ceiling fans, cable TV with DVD players, microwaves, and hair dryers.
A full Southern breakfast is served every morning, with juice and coffee, fruit and pastries, as well as a choice of delicious dishes such as praline French toast casserole, vegetarian quiche, stuffed French toast, scrambled eggs and French pancakes. Guests have access to the grand pavilion, elaborate gardens, brick pathways, the gazebo, and rocking chairs and benches. The garden features more than 100 plants and there are multiple collections displayed throughout the bed and breakfast, such as the Original Snow Village. Rooms start at $135 per night.
309 Pine St, Natchitoches, LA 71457, 318-354-1080
16.Grand Bayou Noir Bed & Breakfast
© Grand Bayou Noir Bed & Breakfast
Grand Bayou Noir originally belonged to frontiersman Jim Bowie and covers four acres with live oaks, trees, and a 7,000-square-foot home in the Georgian-style. Here you will find two guest rooms as well as the private suite, each of which has a private bathroom with a shower and bathtub, original oak floors, high-speed Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a personal mini-fridge.
A full, hot breakfast is served daily and includes fresh-squeezed orange juice and options such as fresh fruit platters, beignets, and banana pancakes, typically made with the property’s own fruit, vegetables, and eggs. Throughout the property, there are rocking chairs, hammocks, swings, ducks, chickens, and fruit trees. The main building also has a screen porch terrace, formal dining room, a living room, a vintage piano, and an outdoor patio with a hot tub. Rooms start at $130 per night.
1143 Bayou Black Dr, Houma, LA 70360, 985-804-0303
© The Caldwell
The Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast is right in the middle of downtown Abbeville, making it the perfect location to explore. This building is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to 1907 with original hardwood floors, pressed tile ceilings, transoms, wainscoting, beaded board ceilings, and pocket doors. The Caldwell House is made up of five guest rooms and six full bathrooms that you can rent individually or altogether. The rooms each have private baths, TVs, and wireless internet, while some also have a Jacuzzi spa or gas fireplaces.
There is a gourmet breakfast every morning, served on gold-rimmed china in the dining room. There is a rotating menu with items such as sweet potato stuffed French bread, breakfast casserole, and pecan praline French toast. There is always access to tea, coffee, water, and soft-drinks as well as complimentary snacks placed in the room daily. Guests have access to the west garden pavilion, shaded porches, a parlor, bar, formal dining room, and modern kitchen.
105 E. Vermilion Street, Abbeville, LA 70510, 337-281-0807
18.Ashton's Bed and Breakfast
© Ashton's Bed and Breakfast
Located just far enough from the French Quarter to be away from the noise but still close enough that you can walk to all the French Quarter action, Ashton’s B&B is in an ideal destination for a memorable weekend in New Orleans. This historic luxury bed and breakfast is snuggled in the romantic Esplanade Ridge Historic District, and it offers four elegant guestrooms in the Main Mansion, with a formal parlor and a bright, sunny breakfast room for the guests’ pleasure.
Four more equally beautiful rooms are located in the Patio Wing, a former kitchen, the servants' quarters, and the wine hollow. Being in New Orleans, you can expect a memorable breakfast with such delights as sweet potato French toast loaded with mouth-watering pecan honey-butter, Bananas Foster waffles, or Mardi Gras eggs benedict drenched with Cajun tasso sauce hollandaise.
2023 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116, 504-942-7048
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© Southern Hotel
Located in the heart of the quaint town of Covington in Louisiana, the Southern Hotel exudes grace and charm, making it the perfect escape for couples wanting a touch of romance. Dating back to the early 1900s, the hotel has a rich history highlighted in its beautiful décor and ambiance. Combining comfort, creativity, and culture, the Southern Hotel offers a stay like no other.
The beautifully restored property features 40 luxurious guest rooms and two lavish suites, each of which is individually decorated and boasts individual and unique charms. Stylish décor, modern amenities, and lovely views greet guests in each of the suites, and complimentary wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel. Guests can dine in style at the upscale southern bistro, Oxlot 9, which serves a seasonal menu of regional cuisine, or enjoy a drink at the sultry Cypress Bar.
428 East Boston Street, Covington, Louisiana 70433, 844-866-1907
More Louisiana vacation ideas: 25 Best Romantic Weekend Getaways from New Orleans.
25 Best Romantic Louisiana Weekend Getaways & Destinations
- Degas House, New Orleans, Photo: Degas House
- Buchanan Lofts, Lafayette, Photo: Buchanan Lofts
- Maison D'Memoire, Photo: Maison D'Memoire
- Jazz Quarters, Photo: Jazz Quarters
- The Steel Magnolia House, Photo: The Steel Magnolia House
- Barrow House Inn, Photo: Barrow House Inn
- 1896 O'Malley House, Photo: 1896 O'Malley House
- Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast
- The Stockade Bed & Breakfast, Photo: The Stockade Bed & Breakfast
- The Fairfield Place, Photo: The Fairfield Place
- Cajun Country Cottages, Photo: Cajun Country Cottages
- The Savoy Bed & Breakfast, Photo: The Savoy Bed & Breakfast
- The Green House Inn, Photo: The Green House Inn
- Butler Greenwood Plantation & Bed and Breakfast, Photo: Butler Greenwood Plantation
- Samuel Guy House Bed and Breakfast, Photo: Samuel Guy House Bed and Breakfast
- Grand Bayou Noir Bed & Breakfast, Photo: Grand Bayou Noir Bed & Breakfast
- The Caldwell, Photo: The Caldwell
- Ashton's Bed and Breakfast, Photo: Ashton's Bed and Breakfast
- Southern Hotel, Photo: Southern Hotel
- Cover Photo: Courtesy Fotoluminate LLC - Fotolia.com
More Louisiana Destinations: New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is famous for jazz, history, and great food, and the wonderful selection of activities available in the city will ensure you never have a dull moment. To soak up the atmosphere you can start your visit in the fabulous French Quarter, which dates back to 1718 and is packed with historic buildings, churches, and jazz clubs. If time is of the essence, you can choose a tour that will highlight your personal interests such as the 11-stop tour of the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, a specialized Architecture and Courtyard Tour offered by the Historic New Orleans Collection or a cycle tour from Free Wheelin' Bike Tours.
If you are planning on taking a self-guided tour, be sure to include the wonderful mansions and gardens of the New Orleans Garden District, the New Orleans Museum of Art (including the Sydney and Walda Besth off Sculpture Garden), and the New Orleans Glassworks and Printmaking Studio.
Nature lovers can enjoy golf, tennis, walking, or cycling at City Park or glide along the waterways (bayous) on a guided kayak tour from Kayak-iti-Yat.
Other must-do activities include listening to soulful music at a jazz club like the Spotted Cat Music Club or Maison Bourbon and learning to cook southern-style at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Next read: Best Time to Visit New Orleans & Other Travel Tips and Romantic New Orleans Inns.
More Louisiana Vacation Ideas: Lafayette, LA
Lafayette, which lies in the heart of Cajun country in southwestern Louisiana, offers a great mix of outdoor and historic attractions plus delicious Cajun cuisine. Many people do not realize that the Cajun communities of Louisiana originally came from Canada - you can find out how they ended up in the south and learn about their culture at the Acadian Village, the Acadian Cultural Center, and the Vermilionville Historic Village where you can see replica Cajun homesteads and artisans at work.
Other interesting attractions you will not want to miss include the Lafayette Science Museum and the famous McIlhenny Tabasco Company on Avery Island where you can take a factory tour and explore Jungle Gardens and Bird City. Art lovers can visit the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, and families can take their children to engage in interactive fun at the Children's Museum of Arcadiana.
To explore the famous Cajun bayous, you can take to the waters with Champagne's Cajun Swamp Tours, which will take you through the Lake Martin Cypress Island Preserve where you can spot a variety of wildlife - special bird-watching tours are also available.
Of course, no visit to Cajun country would be complete without trying the food - a Cajun Food Tour will take you to several local eateries to get a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine.
More Places to Visit & Louisiana Destinations: Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana's capital city has a host of interesting and fun activities for all ages and is the ideal place to spend a weekend or family vacation. Get your bearings from the observation deck on the 27th floor of the fascinating and impressive State Capitol Building, which offers sweeping views of the city. If you enjoy history you can also visit the gothic-style Old State Capitol, (now the Museum of Political History), the Old Governor's Mansion, and the Louisiana State Museum. To see some interesting military and naval exhibits you can tour the Old Arsenal Museum and the USS Kidd Veteran's Memorial.
Patrons of the arts can feast their eyes on the wonderful collections housed in the LSU Museum of Art and the Louisiana Art and Science Museum or enjoy a show at one of several theatres in the Shaw Center for the Arts.
Downtown Baton Rouge is the place to go for shopping, dining and a lively atmosphere, or you can attend a game at the LSU Tiger Stadium (football) or the Alex Box Stadium (baseball).
Families can visit the Baton Rouge Zoo, which houses thousands of animals and includes a walk-in aviary, the Enchanted Mansion Doll Museum, and the LSU Rural Life Museum. Visitors canalso spend hours having outdoor fun at the Blue Bayou Waterpark and the Dixie Landin' Amusement Park.
Shreveport and Bossier City are situated in northwestern Louisiana surrounded by scenic lakes and bayous, national parks, and plenty of outdoor recreational areas. In addition to opportunities for outdoor fun, the area has several interesting and educational museums you can visit, starting with Sci-Port Museum in Shreveport, which has many hands-on exhibits and boasts a planetarium. You can learn about Louisiana life in the 1940's at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, and those interested in transport and aviation can visit the Barksdale Global Power Museum at the Barksdale Air Force Base and the Vivian Railroad State Museum.
The arts are represented at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, the Southern University Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, and the Eastbank Gallery in Bossier City. The historic Strand Theatre in Shreveport is the official State Theater of Louisiana and is the place to go for live entertainment and movies.
Outdoor activities you can enjoy include fishing, boating, and water sports on the Red River, which links Shreveport and Bossier City, walking and picnicking in Betty Virginia Park, and hiking, biking, and swimming at Lake Bistineau State Park.
Families can visit the Gators and Friends Alligator Park and Exotic Zoo, where you can try a thrilling zip-line ride over the alligators or learn to fly board with Ark-La-Rex Flyboard at the Cypress Black Bayou Recreation Area.
Lake Charles, LA
Lake Charles is situated in the heart of southwestern Louisiana, a scenically rich area that offers great outdoor activities coupled with good museums, fabulous Southern food, and some great entertainment, including head-line shows at the local casinos.
If you have come to embrace the great outdoors you can spend a wonderful day exploring the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road, which winds through four wildlife refuges (with boardwalks for short hikes) and 26miles of unspoiled Gulf Coast beaches. At the Sam Houston Jones State Park and South Toledo Bend State Park, you can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, and boating, and if you like hunting and shooting you can visit the American Sportsman Resort.
The French Settlers arrived in Lake Charles around 1760 and have left a rich architectural legacy that you can explore in the Charpentier Historic District (tours available). The 1911 Historic City Hall Arts and Culture Center features regular events, and the Central School Arts and Humanities Center (which is home to the Children's Theatre Company, the Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra, and the fascinating Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu) produces concerts and plays.
No visit to the area would be complete without tasting some delicious Creole and Cajun Foods - you can visit the Charlestown Farmer's Market or go on the famous South West Louisiana Boudin Trail to try a really unique local specialty.
Grand Isle, LA
Grand Isle is located on a barrier island off the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and offers nature-lovers an idyllic place to enjoy fishing and birding together with wonderful seafood and exceptional views out over the Gulf of Mexico.
On Grand Isle the emphasis is on the countless miles of pristine beaches and fun beach activities. At Grand Isle State Park you can rent a serviced RV site or set up a tent right on the beach to really take in the atmosphere of the island. You can rent canoes, surf-bikes, and paddle boats or go hiking along two miles of trails. You can also spend some time catching Louisiana blue crabs for dinner. The Bridge Side Marina is where all the fishing action happens; you can rent a cabin or campsite and fish directly off the shore or charter a fishing boat to take you farther out to catch a big one.
Grand Isle offers excellent bird watching, and enthusiasts can go on a self-guided hike along the Grand Isle Birding Trail, which passes though five separate birding sites, giving you the opportunity to spot many endemic and migratory birds.
For a change from fishing and birding you can take a short boat trip to explore Fort Livingston, an early 19th century defensive structure, or visit the Grand Isle Butterfly Dome to see upwards of 139 species of butterflies.
Historic Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-a-tish) is the oldest settlement in Louisiana, dating back to 1714, and it is proud to offer visitors a host of historic, cultural, and entertaining attractions.
You can learn about the turbulent history of the area, which has seen everything from conquest and colonialism to slavery and freedom, on a free guided walk of the National Historic Landmark District (33 blocks of historic homes, churches, and other buildings that now house shops and restaurants) and in the Cane River National Historic Area. Learn more about the plantation era on a visit to some historic plantations such as the Melrose Plantation and Oakland Plantation.
Outdoor pursuits are many and varied - you can explore the Cane River by boat on a Cane River Lakeboat Tour, hike through the extraordinary gardens of the Briarwood Nature Preserve, or visit the Bayou Pierre Alligator Park.
Other interesting attractions include the American Cemetery (the oldest in Louisiana), the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and North West Louisiana History Museum, and the National Heritage Art Gallery. The popular 1989 movie Steel Magnolias was filmed in Natchitoches, and fans can take a tour of the sites used for filming. Brave visitors can put their valor to the test at the Dark Wood Haunted House.
Avery Island, LA
Avery Island is home to everyone's favorite pepper sauce, the world-famous McIlhenny Tabasco Company, but there is more to the island that you might think, making it a great place to explore on a day trip.
The best place to start is at the Visitor's Center, from where you can go on a self-guided tour of the factory. The tour covers ten stops and includes the Tabasco Museum, where you can learn all about the illustrious history of the condiment, and the Greenhouse, where you will see peppers at various stages of growth. From here you will continue through all the stages in the production process until you reach Restaurant 1869, where you can taste authentic Cajun and South Louisiana foods. Along the way you will learn about the history of Avery Island and Tabasco Sauce, walk though a reproduction of an Avery Island underground salt mine, and visit the store to buy some souvenirs.
After touring the factory you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The Jungle Gardens, for example, cover 170 acres of tropical vegetation along Bayou Petit Anse and contain a wonderful variety of local and exotic plants, many bird species, deer, and alligators. Within the Jungle Gardens you can visit Bird City, a huge protected rookery that provides a nesting area for thousands of migrating white egrets, which were once critically endangered in the area.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, LA
The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is unique in that it is spread across six completely separate sites, each of which is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of the Acadian people in Louisiana. At the Barataria Preserve outside Marrero you can see the wild Louisiana wetlands that greeted the first Acadian settlers who came from Canada. There are ranger-guided wetland tours and self-guided wildlife trails. Children can sign up for the Junior Ranger Program (also available in all the other sites) to earn a badge.
At Chalmette Battlefield, where the last battle of the War of 1812 took place, you can climb the 122 steps to the top of Chalmette Memorial and listen to twice-daily ranger talks. You can stroll through the adjoining Chalmette National Cemetery, where soldiers from several wars were laid to rest. At The French Quarter Visitors Center in New Orleans you can learn about the contributions French settlers made to Louisiana.
The remaining three sites are the Acadian Culture Center in Lafayette, (where you can go on ranger guided boat tours along the Bayou Vermilion), the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice (which offers kids craft workshops, cooking classes, and music and dance lessons), and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, where you can go on walking tours of historic Thibodaux and boat tours on Bayou Lafourche.
Houma is situated in the heart of the Louisiana bayou wetlands and is a great destination for an action packed weekend getaway or family vacation. Before you set off to explore the wetlands, you can learn about the history of the Houma region by touring a few historic sites such as the Southdown Plantation and Terrebonne Museum, the Regional Military Museum, and Historic Downtown Houma.
A Swamp Tour will take you deep into the bayous, where unique flora and fauna will surround you, including large alligators. You can see it all from a canoe, airboat, or pontoon. To further explore the unique wetlands and waterways, you can visit the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge, the Marguerite Moffett Audubon Sanctuary, or the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area, all of which offer excellent vantage points for bird watching.
Houma is widely known for its outstanding fishing, and you can charter a boat from one of dozens of outfitters and try your hand at freshwater fishing, deep-sea fishing, and fly-fishing.
If you love art you can wander around more than 100 sculptures in the Chauvin Sculpture Garden & Nicholls State University Art Studios, or visit the Downtown Art Gallery. Houma also offers excellent shopping at the Martin Luther King Boulevard Shopping District, the St. Charles Shopping District, and at Southland Mall.
Driving Distances from New Orleans
|New Orleans, LA To ||Driving Time|
|Lafayette, LA||2 hours and 5 minutes|
|Rayne, LA||2 hours and 15 min|
|Natchitoches, LA||4 hours|
|St Francisville, LA||1 hour 45 min|
|Baton Rouge, LA||1 hour 21 min|
|Shreveport, LA||4 hours and 45 minutes|
|Breaux Bridge, LA||2 hours 10 min|
|Breaux Bridge, LA||2 hours|
|Folsom, LA||1 hour and 10 minutes|
|St Francisville, LA||1 hour 45 minutes|
|Houma, LA||1 hour|
|Abbeville, LA||2 hours 26 minutes|
|Covington, Louisiana||51 min|