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Exploring the bayou by canoe in Lake Charles, Louisiana
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Louisiana Road Trips: Travel Through the Land of Unforgettable Places

Discover off-the-beaten-path attractions and authentic experiences you’ll have to see to believe in cities and towns all across the Bayou State.

It’s hard to put into words what makes Louisiana so special. From the artsy streets of New Orleans and the historic buildings of Baton Rouge to the rousing dancehalls of Lafayette and Creole comforts of Lake Charles, every corner of the Pelican State offers one-of-a-kind wonders to travelers seeking authentic experiences full of quirky charm. You’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the most uniquely beautiful landscapes the USA has to offer as you travel through Louisiana’s signature swamps and marshlands. You’ll also delight your palate as you taste a delectable blend of Creole, Cajun and Acadian dishes.

As you meet colorful locals and learn about deep cultural roots, you never know what you’ll discover next in Louisiana. Will you explore a hidden playground made of musical instruments? Will you take an exhilarating airboat ride to the heart of the bayou to spot alligators and black bears? Will you come face-to-face with a musical legend? Expect delightful surprises around every turn as you take an unforgettable road trip through this jewel of the Southeastern USA.

Must-See Spots

A trumpeter plays on a balcony in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana
Chris Granger

French Quarter

The beating heart of New Orleans is the French Quarter, a magnificent historic district packed to the brim with premier eateries, live music and colorful Victorian architecture. Just off the main thoroughfares, you’ll find a world of curious oddities to explore. Visit the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum to see fascinating relics from the city’s past and discover how it became a gathering place for practitioners of this mystical and intricate religion. Learn about notable Voodoo priests and priestesses, like Marie Laveau, whose tomb you can visit on a tour of the famous St. Louis Cemetery.

Live music at Music Box Village in New Orleans, Louisiana
Chris Granger

Music Box Village

Feeling inspired by the talented musicians you can hear all over New Orleans? Indulge your own creative side with a trip to Music Box Village, a rustic sculpture garden that invites you to play and tinker with the musical instruments hidden in its whimsical structures. Play a drum set made of pots and pans, ring human-sized windchimes and get to know local artists at special community workshops. At night, Music Box Village transforms into a dynamic music venue, where entertainers, both local and world-famous, play inspiring shows among the oak trees.

Taking an airboat tour of the Atchafalaya Basin in Henderson, Louisiana
Tim Mueller

Atchafalaya Basin

Venture out onto the majestic swamps of South Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. Hop aboard a swamp tour boat for a chance to spot native critters, like American alligators and black bears, that call these wetlands home. For a more fast-paced tour, take to the water on an airboat, a rugged vessel designed to travel to the furthest reaches of the swamp. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to be moved by the unique beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin, whose biodiversity and cypress tree-lined landscapes are like nowhere else in the world.

The stained-glass ceiling and sophisticated architecture of the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Joe York

Old and New State Capitols

A must-see for history buffs, Louisiana’s Old State Capitol has kept watch over the city of Baton Rouge since 1849. Stepping inside is like stepping into Louisiana’s past, with an eclectic blend of Gothic and Victorian stained-glass windows to admire and fascinating attractions like the award-winning 4D film The Ghost of the Castle to experience. Down the street, you’ll find the new State Capitol, Louisiana’s current seat of government and the tallest capitol building in the USA. You’re invited to ride the elevator up 137 meters to the Observation Deck for incredible views of the city.

Enjoying a stroll through Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Visit Baton Rouge

Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center

Wander boardwalks surrounded by natural wonders, see hatchling alligators and tortoises in a state-of-the-art nature center, and learn more about efforts to conserve Louisiana’s swamps. Enjoy programming like craft workshops, art shows and birdwatching hikes, or take a self-guided tour of educational exhibits on Louisiana’s native wildlife. Think you’ll have to travel to a remote corner of the state to see this natural paradise? Think again: The serene trails of Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center are conveniently located in the capital city of Baton Rouge.

Touring the TABASCO Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana

Avery Island

Visit the home of one of Louisiana’s hottest exports – TABASCO pepper sauce! This iconic brand has its roots on Avery Island near Lafayette, and you can tour the factory where it’s made. Explore the warehouse on a self-guided tour, then stop by the tasting room to sample a selection of TABASCO sauce varieties. Aspiring chefs can sign up for the Acadiana Culinary Experience to learn about the history of Avery Island through delicious traditional dishes. No visit to Avery Island is complete without a walk through the botanical wonderland of Jungle Gardens.

Performers at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, Louisiana

Blue Moon Saloon

You might not know it just by looking, but the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette has made a name for itself as one of the top venues for roots music in the USA. Housed on the back porch of the historic Blue Moon Guesthouse, the saloon hosts performances by acclaimed musicians in a bustling honky-tonk atmosphere. The spot is also revered as a local hang out, regularly hosting events like open mic nights and crawfish boils. Grab a craft cocktail or a local beer and settle in to get a taste of authentic South Louisiana culture.

An alligator along the Creole Nature Trail in Lake Charles, Louisiana

Creole Nature Trail

What’s a road trip without a view? Take your time cruising the beautiful beaches and marshlands that line the Creole Nature Trail, a nationally designated scenic byway spanning 290 kilometers of picturesque South Louisiana. Stop at recreation areas along the way to enjoy fishing, seashell collecting and animal-spotting in the untouched wilderness. If you work up an appetite doing all that exploring, never fear – there are dozens of locally-owned eateries along the trail. Stop into one and enjoy Louisiana specialties like gumbo, a rich seafood stew, and jambalaya, a spicy rice dish.

Boudin to-go at B&O Kitchen and Grocery in Lake Charles, Louisiana
Visit Lake Charles

Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail

By definition, boudin is a Cajun-style sausage made of pork, vegetables and rice, seasoned to spicy perfection; to Louisiana natives, it’s a necessity for any community gathering and the perfect addition to any meal. Louisianans love the stuff so much they’ve established the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, a network of locally owned grocery stores, restaurants and specialty markets that make and sell the most delectable boudin the region has to offer. Enjoy this classic Cajun treat in a po-boy sandwich, simmered in a stew or all by itself.

A bronze statue of singer Elvis Presley outside the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

It’s hard to overstate the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium’s role in the history of American music – the grand art deco building was home to a weekly talent showcase called the Louisiana Hayride from the 1940s to the 1960s, and world-renowned talents like Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash got their start on this historic stage. Today, admire the bronze statues of music icons that line the walkway outside the building. Inside, you can still catch a diverse line-up of exciting performers in the storied auditorium, from rock concerts to ballets to comedy shows.