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Louisiana roadtrip: 7 must-do activities in bayou country

Although located in the United States, Louisiana has a unique cuisine, culture and history.

Land of bayous and marshes, Spanish moss and lush vegetation, it’s also a magnificent landscape that awaits visitors who stray a little from New Orleans.

Louisiana can be discovered under the shadow of hundred-year-old oaks which, if they could speak, would tell us about the arrival of the Acadians expelled from their lands during the “Grand Dérangement”, the life of the Creoles and the dark years of slavery.

So why not extend your stay in New Orleans by a few days to include a little roadtrip?

Here are 7 activities not to be missed on a Louisiana roadtrip.

In this article

1. Visit the plantations

The house up close
Oak Alley and its avenue of oak trees

Unfortunately, Louisiana’s slave-owning past cannot be ignored.

There are many old plantations along the Mississippi, on what is known as the Plantation Route, and most of them can be visited today.

If the dark story is repeated from one plantation to the next, each has its own particularities.

Here are our suggestions of plantations to visit in this article, along with our tips for organizing your visits.

2. Travel back in time to Vermilionville

House in Vermilionville - Louisiana

In the Lafayette and Houma region, even though French is no longer spoken (or hardly anymore), the Acadian presence is still very much felt.

And for a taste of life in the Cajun era, a visit to Vermilionville is a must.

A complete village has been recreated on the site.

There are several reconstructions and original houses, a school and a church.

Vermilion town church

But there’s more to Vermilionville than the Cajun era.

During your visit, you’ll learn more about the history and culture of the Amerindians, Acadians, Creoles, people of African descent and Aboriginals who lived in the Attakapas region until the late 1800s.

Vermilionville - When it was forbidden to speak French
There was a time when the use of French was forbidden in Louisiana.
A person in Vermilionville

Inside the buildings, people in historical costumes await visitors to explain their occupations and daily lives.

300 Fisher Road, Lafayette

3. Take a Cajun cooking class with Spuddy

During the Cajun cooking class at Spuddy's
Lots of fun during cooking class with Spuddy

Learn how to cook jambalaya, gumbo or andouille sausage with the energetic and very friendly Spuddy.

These 3-hour classes give you the chance to get hands-on and learn more about the different recipes and ingredients of Cajun cuisine, punctuated by anecdotes about the history of these dishes and the region.

Located in Vacherie, you can combine a visit to a plantation with a cooking class on the same day, and have lunch at the same time, as you’ll have the pleasure of eating the dishes prepared during the class.

To give you an o verview of the classes, know that Spuddy also does cooking demonstrations online, via his Facebook page.

Spuddy’s Cajun Cooking Experience – Website
2644 LA-20 – Vacherie

4. Excursion to the bayou

Bayou in Lake Martin Louisiana

A swamp tour is an essential part of any Louisiana roadtrip.

Several boat tours are available from Lac Martin, Jean Lafitte National Park, Honey Island Swamp, Bayou Teche or Atchafalaya, and more. Some companies also combine the tour with the visit of a plantation.

But a boat tour isn’t the only way to explore the bayou. You can fly over it in a zipline or get a closer look in a kayak.

Find out all about the different ways to visit the bayou in this article.

5. Visit the Tabasco factory and Avery Island gardens

Avery Islands - Buildings - Louisiana

Sightseeing tours of factories can sometimes be disappointing, but that’s not the case with the Tabasco factory, whose reputation extends beyond our borders.

The tour includes an exhibition on the history of the family and the creation of the sauce, a visit to the greenhouses and warehouses where the sauce is fermented, and a look at the bottling and labeling line.

Tabasco sauce is still made on this small island by the McIlhenny family, and has been for 125 years.

Barrels sealed with salt.
Barrels sealed with salt.

But it’s also a magnificent sanctuary for flora and fauna.

Don’t miss a visit to Avery Island Gardens, a salt dome that can be explored on foot and/or by car.

Gardens at Avery Island - Louisiana

You’ll walk by splendid Southern oaks, see some alligators and turtles, palm trees, numerous species of trees and a bamboo forest.

Baby Alligator - Avery Island
A cute baby alligator
Japanese Gardens - Avery Island
Japanese Gardens – Avery Island

This is also where Edward McIlhenny created a sanctuary to help save the egrets from extinction.

Since then, the egrets have returned every spring and it’s quite an impressive sight to see and hear.

Birds - Avery Island

In between visiting the Tabasco factory and the gardens, don’t miss a meal at the restaurant.

Crawfish etouffee

The food is good and affordable, and we had some of the best crawfish étouffée of the trip there!

Of course, don’t miss a stop at the boutique to stock up on sauces and spices!

Avery Island
Hwy 329, Avery Island

6. Discover the small towns of Cajun country

Breaux Bridge, the "capital" of crawfish
Breaux Bridge, the “capital” of crawfish

Houma, Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, Saint Martinville, New Iberia… all pretty little towns where you can stop and wander through their historic centers, following in the footsteps of Louisiana’s Cajun history.

In Saint Martinville, for example, you can see the Evangeline Oak, symbolizing the deportation of the Acadians during what is politely called “Le Grand Dérangement”.

In downtown Houma
In downtown Houma

The town of Houma, meanwhile, offers a short walking tour that will take you past the town’s most emblematic buildings, including theAcadian Deportation Cross and the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum.


As for Lafayette, it has its unique cathedral, a lively city center with numerous restaurants and boutiques, and Moncus Park, ideal for picnics or family afternoons.

Lafayette is also a great place to stay for a few days and explore the region.

7. Listen to zydeco and dance!

Zydeco show at the Grouse
Zydeco show at the Grouse Room

With its characteristic sound of washboards, accordion and fiddle, you’ll easily recognize Zydeco music.

You’ll hear this music everywhere, in bars, restaurants and at various events. A true return to Cajun roots, it’s a pleasure to see young and old alike get together on the dance floor for a few dance steps.

In Lafayette, you can stop by the Grouse Room or the Blue Moon Bar, where zydeco shows are held regularly. Alternatively, if you visit Vermilionville on a Sunday, take the opportunity to attend the Sunday Ball.

There are also numerous Dance Halls, a full list of which can be found on the Lafayette Tourism board website.

Practical info

Where to eat? Some restaurant suggestions

Here are a few restaurant suggestions in LaPlace, Houma and Lafayette.


Hub City Dinner
Inside Hub City Dinner

Hub City Dinner: Colorful and retro, Hub City Dinner is the place to go for brunch in Lafayette. In a 50s-style dinner setting, you can enjoy omelettes, pancakes and doughnuts. They also serve lunches and dinners.

Whiskey & Vine: Recent addition to Lafayette’s culinary scene, Whiskey & Vine is the place to enjoy live jazz 7 days a week while enjoying a meal featuring Southern cuisine. An extensive menu of cocktails and spirits completes the picture.

3 lb steamed crawfish - Louisiana culinary specialties

Crawfish: the short crawfish season, the famous mud bugs, generally runs from January to June, with March, April and May being the peak months.

If you’re in the area at this time of year, take the opportunity to eat crawfish at one of the crawfish shacks open during this period.


Frenier Landing
Frenier Landing restaurant in LaPlace

Frenier Landing: Located directly on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, Frenier Landing offers a breathtaking view of this vast body of water from the terrace. The menu features fish and seafood dishes, po-boys, steaks and salads.

Chung’s Heavenly Cafe: Chung’s Heavenly Café is the place to go for breakfast, coffee to go or a quick lunch. Take the opportunity to chat with the charming owner, Chung, who is a real ray of sunshine.


Restaurant Cristiano - Houma
Restaurant Cristiano in Houma

Cristiano Ristorante: How would you like to enjoy Italian cuisine in Houma? Cristiano Ristorante is an excellent option. The large courtyard, where you can sit outside, is splendid, as is the interior of the restaurant. The menu features the great Italian classics, antipasti, polpette, fresh pasta and grilled meats, not to mention their excellent baked oysters.

Where to stay


Lafayette is an excellent base from which to spend a few days exploring the region. There are several accommodation options to choose from

Drury Inn & Suites Lafayette LA: It’s hard to beat the quality/price ratio, especially when it comes to suites with enclosed bedroom, living room and small kitchenette. For reservations


Grand Bayou Noir - B&B à Houma, Louisiane
Grand Bayou Noir – B&B in Houma, Louisiana

For a taste of Southern hospitality, staying in a bed and breakfast is a must.

Grand Bayou Noir: The house dates back to 1934, but was converted into a bed and breakfast in 2001. Surrounded by large gardens, you’ll quickly feel at ease, welcomed by the owner. It’s quiet and comfortable, almost like being at home. The venue also hosts weddings, but the rooms are not rented out on these evenings to ensure this tranquility.

If you can, opt for the spacious bachelor pad outside the house. You’ll have more privacy and your own entrance.

Accommodation in Houma

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