10 Fun Things To Do In Louisiana | Karta

10 Fun Things To Do In Louisiana

Trip Ideas Jun 26, 2024

Louisiana is a treasure trove of cultural richness, blending French, Spanish, and Creole influences into a vibrant tapestry that offers an unforgettable experience for travelers. This enchanting state, often referred to as the "Bayou State," is renowned for its lively music scene, mouth-watering cuisine, and historical landmarks that echo the past.

Louisiana: Erlebe den Zauber des Südens
Source: Reisetipp USA

The purpose of this article is to guide readers through the top 10 things to do in Louisiana, ensuring your visit is packed with the best experiences this state has to offer. From exploring its dynamic cities to venturing into its serene countryside, Louisiana has something for everyone.

1. Explore the French Quarter in New Orleans

The French Quarter in New Orleans is an enchanting blend of history, culture, and vibrancy, making it one of the top-rated attractions in Louisiana. Wandering through its narrow streets, you'll be transported back in time by the stunning historic architecture that defines this iconic district. The French Quarter's buildings, adorned with intricate ironwork balconies and lush courtyards, reflect a blend of French, Spanish, and Creole influences, creating a unique aesthetic that is both timeless and captivating.

French Quarter: The Vieux Carre - New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: New Orleans & Company

A visit to the French Quarter wouldn't be complete without a stroll down Bourbon Street. Known for its lively atmosphere and nightlife, Bourbon Street is where the heart of the city's entertainment beats strongest. From jazz clubs and bars to eclectic shops, there's always something happening here, making it one of the most fun things to do in Louisiana. The vibrant energy is infectious, and you'll find yourself drawn to the rhythmic tunes of live music spilling out onto the street.

Jackson Square is another must-see in the French Quarter. This historic park, framed by the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, serves as a hub of activity and a gathering place for both locals and tourists. The square is surrounded by artist stalls, street performers, and vendors, all contributing to its bustling ambiance. The St. Louis Cathedral, with its striking spires, stands as one of the most recognizable landmarks in New Orleans and is a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage.

2. Visit the National WWII Museum

One of the most profound and engaging places to explore in Louisiana is the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. This top-rated attraction offers a deeply immersive experience that captures the essence of one of the most significant events in world history. Located in the vibrant city of New Orleans, this museum is a must-see for anyone interested in history, culture, and the sacrifices made during the Second World War.

New Orleans: The National WWII Museum Ticket
Source: Expedia

The National WWII Museum stands out among Louisiana tourist attractions for its comprehensive collection of exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs. As you step through its doors, you're transported back in time to an era that shaped the modern world. The museum's extensive collection includes personal artifacts, letters, photographs, and military equipment that provide a tangible connection to the past. These items, carefully curated and displayed, tell the stories of the men and women who served, the battles they fought, and the home front efforts that supported them.

One of the best things to do in Louisiana is to engage with the museum's interactive displays. These exhibits go beyond traditional displays by allowing visitors to experience history firsthand. For example, you can board a replica of a C-47 aircraft, feeling the rumble of the engines as you "fly" over Normandy on D-Day. This level of immersion brings history to life in a way that is both educational and emotionally impactful.

3. Tour the Swamps and Bayous

Exploring the swamps and bayous of Louisiana offers an unparalleled adventure into the state's unique wetland ecosystems. The landscape, teeming with life and mystery, promises a journey unlike any other. Imagine gliding through narrow waterways, surrounded by the dense foliage and the sounds of the wild. This is one of the best things to do in Louisiana, providing a firsthand experience of its natural beauty and diverse wildlife.

Bayou vs. Swamp - What's the Difference? - BayouSwampTours
Source: Bayou Swamp Tours

Louisiana's wetlands are an intricate network of swamps, marshes, and bayous, forming a vital part of the state's ecological fabric. These areas are not just picturesque; they play a crucial role in the environment, serving as habitats for various species and acting as natural flood controls. The swamps are often dominated by towering cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, creating a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for any tour.

Exploring the swamps and bayous is a must-see in Louisiana. It's an experience that combines adventure, education, and a deep appreciation for the natural world. From the rush of an airboat ride to the serene paddle of a kayak, there's something for everyone. The wildlife, the scenery, and the sheer uniqueness of the environment make it one of the top things to do in Louisiana.

When planning your Louisiana vacation, ensure that a swamp tour is on your itinerary. It's one of the coolest things to do in the state, offering a break from the urban attractions and a chance to dive into the wild heart of Louisiana. This adventure is perfect for adults looking for fun things to do in Louisiana and is a highlight of any road trip.  

4. Attend a Mardi Gras Celebration

Mardi Gras is an iconic celebration that captivates the essence of Louisiana’s vibrant culture, making it one of the must-see events in the state. With roots tracing back to ancient Roman times and evolving through French influence, Mardi Gras has become synonymous with elaborate parades, colorful costumes, and an atmosphere brimming with excitement. For anyone planning to explore Louisiana, experiencing Mardi Gras should be high on your list of things to do in Louisiana.

Mardi Gras 2023: Everything to Know About the Holiday
Source: People

Steeped in rich history, Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," marks the culmination of the Carnival season. This period begins on Epiphany, or January 6th, and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday, symbolizing a final day of indulgence before the Lenten season of fasting and penance. Louisiana, particularly New Orleans, has embraced this tradition with unmatched enthusiasm, turning it into a spectacle of grand proportions.

One of the top things to do in Louisiana during Mardi Gras is to attend the numerous parades that light up the streets with their dazzling floats and energetic music. The Krewe of Endymion and Krewe of Bacchus are among the most famous, known for their impressive floats and celebrity guests. For a more traditional experience, the Krewe of Rex, established in 1872, offers a glimpse into the historic roots of the celebration with its regal themes and grand displays.

5. Discover Plantation Homes

Exploring the historic plantation homes of Louisiana offers a unique glimpse into the antebellum South. Among the most iconic are Oak Alley, Nottoway, and Laura Plantation, each showcasing the rich cultural and historical tapestry of the region. These grand estates are more than just beautiful buildings; they are windows into a bygone era, reflecting the social and economic dynamics of their time.

Regional Spotlight: Plantation Country
Source: Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association

Oak Alley Plantation, often hailed as one of the top things to do in Louisiana, is renowned for its breathtaking alley of 300-year-old oak trees leading up to the grand Greek Revival mansion. Visitors are transported back to the 19th century as they explore the meticulously restored home and grounds.  

Nottoway Plantation, another gem among Louisiana’s historic sites, stands out with its impressive size and architectural beauty. As the largest antebellum plantation house in the South, Nottoway offers an immersive journey into the past. The mansion’s grandiose interiors, featuring original furnishings and intricate details, are a testament to the opulence of the era.  

Laura Plantation offers a slightly different perspective, focusing more on the Creole heritage that influenced much of Louisiana's culture. The colorful, French Creole-style house stands out against the verdant landscape, inviting visitors to explore its storied past.  

Each of these plantations provides valuable insights into the antebellum South, making them essential stops on any Louisiana road trip. They offer a combination of educational and recreational experiences, appealing to history buffs and casual tourists alike.  

6. Savor Cajun and Creole Cuisine

When thinking about things to do in Louisiana, savoring Cajun and Creole cuisine stands out as a must. These culinary traditions are more than just food; they embody the heart and soul of Louisiana's culture, a blend of French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences that have evolved over centuries.

Cajun vs. Creole Food: Best Restaurants in Louisiana Guide
Source: Choice Hotels

Gumbo is perhaps the most iconic dish in Louisiana. This hearty stew combines ingredients like okra, filé powder, and a variety of meats or seafood, all simmered together to create a rich, flavorful experience. Whether you're tasting chicken and sausage gumbo or a seafood version packed with shrimp and crab, each bite tells a story of the region's history and cultural fusion. Jambalaya, another staple, brings together rice, vegetables, and meats in a vibrant, one-pot meal. Its origins trace back to the Spanish paella, but it has developed a unique identity in Louisiana, often spiced with the holy trinity of Cajun cooking: bell pepper, onion, and celery.

7. Experience Jazz in its Birthplace

Louisiana, the heart and soul of jazz music, offers an unparalleled cultural experience for both locals and tourists. Jazz is more than just music in this vibrant state; it is an integral part of its cultural heritage. From the lively streets of New Orleans to the historic clubs that have hosted legendary musicians, Louisiana is a haven for jazz enthusiasts.

Louisiana's Famous Jazz Musicians
Source: Explore Louisiana

Jazz, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was born in New Orleans. This genre, a blend of African, Caribbean, and European musical traditions, reflects the diverse cultural influences that shaped Louisiana. The state’s history and the evolution of jazz are deeply intertwined, with the music serving as a soundtrack to the cultural and social changes over the years. Jazz has played a significant role in shaping the identity of Louisiana, making it a must-see aspect of any visit to the state.

For those wondering what to do in Louisiana, immersing oneself in its jazz scene is essential. Among the top attractions in Louisiana, Preservation Hall stands out. This iconic venue, located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, is a cornerstone of the jazz community. Established in 1961, Preservation Hall continues to host live jazz performances every night, showcasing both seasoned musicians and rising stars. The intimate setting and authentic atmosphere provide an unforgettable experience, making it one of the top rated things to do in Louisiana.

Another highlight for jazz lovers is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This annual event, often referred to as Jazz Fest, celebrates the rich musical and cultural heritage of Louisiana. Held over two weekends in late April and early May, Jazz Fest features performances by renowned jazz musicians, as well as artists from other genres, reflecting the diverse musical landscape of the state. Attending Jazz Fest is one of the fun things to do in Louisiana, offering visitors a chance to explore the vibrant culture and history through music, food, and art.

8. Visit the State Capitol in Baton Rouge

Visiting the State Capitol in Baton Rouge offers an enriching glimpse into Louisiana's history and stunning architectural beauty. As one of the top-rated tourist attractions in Louisiana, this site stands out not only for its historical significance but also for its impressive design and panoramic views.

The Capitiol Huey P. Long Built
Source: The Heart of Louisiana

The Louisiana State Capitol, an iconic landmark, is the tallest capitol building in the United States, standing at 450 feet with 34 stories. Its construction began in 1930, spearheaded by then-Governor Huey P. Long, who envisioned it as a symbol of Louisiana's progress and modernity. The building's architecture is a striking example of Art Deco style, featuring intricate sculptures and reliefs that reflect the state's rich history and culture. The exterior is adorned with a series of allegorical figures and scenes that capture the essence of Louisiana's heritage, making it a must-see for architecture enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Inside, the grandeur continues with opulent halls, marble staircases, and detailed murals depicting significant events in Louisiana's past. The Hall of Memorial features a poignant tribute to those who lost their lives in World War I, with inscriptions and artworks that add to the building's historical depth. Visitors can also see the Senate and House Chambers, where the state's legislative processes unfold. These chambers are designed with elegance and functionality, showcasing beautiful woodwork and historical artifacts that provide insight into Louisiana's political heritage.

9. Relax on the Gulf Coast Beaches

Relaxing on the Gulf Coast Beaches is one of the best things to do in Louisiana, offering a serene escape from the bustling city life. Grand Isle and Holly Beach are two popular beach destinations that provide a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

Grand Isle, often referred to as the crown jewel of Louisiana's Gulf Coast, is a haven for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Known for its expansive sandy shores, this barrier island offers plenty of space to spread out and soak up the sun. The clear, warm waters are ideal for swimming and wading, making it a family-friendly spot. Grand Isle is also famous for its fishing opportunities, attracting anglers from all over the region.

Florida Gulf Coast Beaches Within Driving Distance From Atlanta
Source: Atlanta Mom

The island hosts an annual Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest fishing tournament in the United States, which is a must-see event for fishing enthusiasts. For those who enjoy boating, the marinas around Grand Isle provide easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, offering chances to explore offshore and inshore waters. Beachcombing is another popular activity here, with visitors often finding unique shells and marine treasures along the shore.

Holly Beach, affectionately known as the "Cajun Riviera," offers a more laid-back and rustic beach experience. This destination is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a quieter atmosphere. The beach is well-known for its excellent fishing spots, with many visitors casting their lines directly from the shore or from nearby piers. Boating is also a favored activity, with the calm waters of the Gulf providing a great environment for both leisurely cruises and more adventurous excursions. Holly Beach's wide, flat sands are perfect for beachcombing, and visitors can often find beautiful shells, driftwood, and other coastal treasures. It's an ideal spot for a peaceful stroll, collecting keepsakes, and enjoying the natural beauty of Louisiana's coastline.

10. Explore Lafayette’s Cajun Culture

Lafayette, the heart of Cajun country, offers an immersive experience into the vibrant and unique culture that defines this region. Located in the heart of Louisiana, Lafayette is a must-visit for those eager to explore the rich history, lively traditions, and mouthwatering cuisine that make Cajun culture so special. When thinking about things to do in Louisiana, Lafayette stands out as a top destination where every corner is infused with the spirit of the Acadians.

What Is Cajun | Explore Lafayette Louisiana History
Source: Lafayette Travel

A visit to Lafayette isn't complete without a trip to Vermilionville. This living history museum captures the essence of early Acadian, Creole, and Native American life from 1765 to 1890. Walking through this sprawling village, you’ll encounter restored homes, authentic artifacts, and costumed interpreters who bring history to life with their stories and demonstrations.  

The Acadian Cultural Center, part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, is another must-see attraction. Here, you can delve deeper into the history of the Acadians, from their expulsion from Canada to their settlement in Louisiana.  

Lafayette's cultural richness is also celebrated through its numerous festivals and events. Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is one such event, drawing visitors from all over to celebrate Cajun music, food, and crafts. Held annually in October, this festival features live music from some of the best Cajun and Zydeco bands, cooking demonstrations, and a vibrant arts and crafts market. It’s a lively celebration that showcases the best of Cajun culture, making it one of the top things to do in Louisiana.

The Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge, just a short drive from Lafayette, is another highlight. Known as the "Crawfish Capital of the World," Breaux Bridge hosts this annual event in May, where you can enjoy crawfish prepared in every imaginable way, from étouffée to bisque. 

Conclusion

Louisiana offers an irresistible blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a destination that truly has something for everyone. From the lively streets of New Orleans to the tranquil bayous and historic plantations, Louisiana's diverse attractions promise unforgettable experiences.

As you plan your trip, consider the many tourist attractions Louisiana has to offer, from the mysterious bayous to the vibrant nightlife of New Orleans. The state’s unique charm lies in its ability to offer something for every traveler. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a deep dive into history and culture, Louisiana promises an experience that is as diverse as it is memorable.

In conclusion, Louisiana stands out as a must-visit destination in the United States. Its rich tapestry of attractions and activities ensures that every visit is filled with new discoveries and lasting memories. So, pack your bags and set out on a Louisiana road trip to explore this remarkable state. The unforgettable experiences awaiting you in Louisiana are sure to leave a lasting impression, inviting you to return again and again.

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FAQ

1. What are the best routes to drive to Louisiana?

The best routes to drive to Louisiana include Interstate 10, which runs east-west across the state, connecting major cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles. Interstate 20 is another key route for those coming from the north, providing access to Shreveport and Monroe.

2. What is the weather like in Louisiana throughout the year?

Louisiana has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures often reach the 90s, perfect for enjoying the state's rivers and lakes. Winters are mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing, making it ideal for year-round outdoor activities.

3. What are some unique traditions in Louisiana?

Louisiana is famous for its vibrant traditions, including Mardi Gras parades, jazz music, and Creole and Cajun cuisine. Festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Crawfish Festival celebrate the state's rich cultural heritage, blending French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences.

4. What is the cost of living in Louisiana?

The cost of living in Louisiana is generally lower than the national average, with affordable housing, utilities, and groceries. Major cities like New Orleans may have higher costs, but overall, the state offers a good quality of life with a range of options for dining, entertainment, and shopping.

5. How can I best explore Louisiana's diverse attractions?

Exploring Louisiana is best done by car, allowing you to travel from the lively streets of New Orleans to the serene bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin. Scenic byways like the Great River Road offer stunning views of the Mississippi River and access to historic plantations, while the Creole Nature Trail showcases the state's rich wildlife and natural beauty.

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Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily is a seasoned expert in planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, with a specialization in eco-tourism and adventure travel.