Experiencing wanderlust? The next time you hit the road for an extended trip, consider visiting Louisiana. This beautiful state has a rich history, incredible nature, and delicious food. Many people travel to Louisiana to experience its rich Cajun culture and the colorful atmosphere found in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other major cities.
Other visitors come to hunt alligators, eat crawfish, or delve into the unique history of this area. Whether you want to tour a plantation from the 1800s or enjoy the nightlife in New Orleans, Louisiana is a fantastic place to make memories on your next vacation. Here are five must-sees on your next trip to Louisiana.
Visit a Plantation
Lousiana has several noteworthy plantations where you can learn more about life in the 1800s. Some of the most famous include Oak Alley Plantation, Laura Plantation, and the Melrose Plantation. Each of these locations focuses on a different aspect of life in the 1800s, giving you a unique window into history.
Oak Alley Plantation is best known for the 300-year-old oak trees that frame the house. You can actually stay the night here if you wish. The Laura Plantation was a sugar farm and is situated on the Mississippi River, only 4 miles away from Oak Alley Plantation. The Melrose plantation is located in Natchitoches and was owned and run by free African Americans.
Tour the Old State Capitol
Baton Rouge is home to Louisiana’s original capital building, a neo-gothic work of architecture that dates back to the mid-1800s. During the Civil War, Baton Rouge was occupied by the Union Army and the building was used as a garrison. Two fires at this time destroyed the interior of the building.
In the early 1880s, the building was restored and improved. Although the state government moved to a new capitol building in the early 1930s, the original statehouse is still used for events throughout the year. You can learn more about the building’s history by attending a free theatrical production narrated by the historical figure Sarah Morgan Dawson.
Eat Cajun Food
The state of Louisiana is also well known for its amazing Cajun cuisine. The term Cajun describes a specific group of people living in the southern part of the state. When the British took control of Canada, they removed the Cajuns from French Acadia in the mid-1700s. This people group made its way to Louisiana and established a unique culture there.
Cajun food is a mix of French cuisine, Creole recipes, and Native American cooking techniques. It’s very spicy and is often seasoned with cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Some popular dishes include jambalaya, crayfish, gumbo, and sausage. Before leaving Louisiana, you definitely have to visit an established restaurant to get an appreciation for the local atmosphere and cuisine.
Explore the Wetlands
This part of the United States is also well known for its beautiful wetlands. Birds, alligators, and snakes abound in this area. While you’re in the state, be sure to explore some of the local wetlands. You can follow a walking trail in one of the wildlife refuge areas or take a boat ride into the bayou to observe wildlife more closely.
Be prepared to see alligators and other creatures during your adventures. Although these animals aren’t usually aggressive, it’s important to respect their space. Always take enough water, as the weather in Louisiana can be quite hot. Use a map and consider going with a guide. Two good places to explore are the Atchafalaya Basin and Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.
Dance in New Orleans
If you only have time for one stop in Louisiana, New Orleans is a good place to go. It’s near Oak Alley Plantation and has access to many beautiful lakes and bayous. The French Quarter is the oldest part of the French Quarter, dating back to the early 1700s. It’s filled with signature New Orleans homes and is famous for its vibrant nightlife.
There are several notable museums and restaurants in this area as well. You can find jazz bars and delicious Cajun food throughout the French Quarter. The good food, drinks, and music create the perfect conditions for a night of dancing and fun. Many visitors come to New Orleans specifically for concerts and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras.
Louisiana is a beautiful state with a rich history and a fascinating culture. Consider these five must-sees and try to experience as much of this beautiful state as you can on your next vacation. Whether you’re a history buff, experienced eater, or lover of nature, Louisiana has something exciting for you to explore.
Unless you’ve planned a long trip, it may be difficult for you to visit all the beautiful places that Louisiana has to offer. Start with one location and try to incorporate nature, good food, and a healthy dose of history for a well-rounded trip. You can always explore more of this amazing state on your next trip!