Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

10 Offbeat Towns To Visit In Louisiana

Having a coastline along the Gulf of Mexico in the south and bordered by the US States of Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi in the west, north, and east respectively, the incredibly beautiful state of Louisiana is situated in the Gulf Coast region of south-central United States. Although a majority of holidayers who plan their vacay to the Pelican State mostly include major cities such as New Orleans, Lafayette, Shreveport, and the state capital Baton Rouge to their itineraries, the uncountable picturesque towns in the state too deserve such tourist attention like the urban metropolises. These off-the-beaten-path towns boasting splendid sceneries, fascinating Cajun histories, unique attractions, and loads of Southern hospitality are must-visits for those who wish to enjoy an authentic Louisiana experience.

Breaux Bridge

A recreational area in Breaux Bridge, Louisiania.
A recreational area in Breaux Bridge, Louisiania. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators /

Officially designated by the State Legislature as the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” Breaux Bridge forms a part of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area in Louisiana’s St. Martin Parish. Tourists must walk down the town’s charming downtown streets and peruse the pretty boutiques, antique shops, and restaurants serving peculiar dishes like Crawfish Étouffée. A well-known stop along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway, Breaux Bridge offers excellent views along with opportunities to observe the rich flora and fauna of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Nature lovers are especially attracted to the swamp tours at the neighboring Lake Martin, considered one of the principal bird-watching spots in the country. The renowned weekend-long Crawfish Festival every May celebrates the town’s distinctive Cajun heritage with parades, Cajun & Zydeco dance contests, artisan craft fairs, Cajun music, and delectable crawfish cuisines.  

Abita Springs

John Preble, UCM Museum, Abita Mystery House
John Preble, UCM Museum, Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs /

This tranquil retreat in St. Tammany Parish named after the neighboring medicinal springs captivates holidayers who wish to unwind away from the crowded cities. Situated immediately adjacent to Covington, Abita Springs invites vacationers to tour its notable attractions like the Abita Mystery House/UCM Museum, Abita Springs Art & Farmers Market, the Splash Pad of Abita Springs Trailhead & Park, and Abita Springs Trailhead Museum, besides checking out the performance timings at the Town Hall auditorium for the fall and spring concert series of Louisiana roots music.

Abita Springs hosts a variety of events throughout the year like the Push Mow Parade, Busker Fest, Abita Springs Water Festival, Whole Town Garage Sale, and En Plein Air Art Exhibition.


Downtown Covington, Louisiana.
Downtown Covington, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators /

St. Tammany Parish’s seat of government, Covington is situated along the fork of the Tchefuncte River and Bogue Falaya, about 41 miles from New Orleans via the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Covering the town’s original portion to the east of the U.S. Route 190 highway, the walkable 100-acre Division of St. John Historic District comprises countless stately mansions, shops, art galleries, museums, and diners like Del Porto Ristorante, Mattina Bella, English Tearoom, etc. The HJ Smith & Sons General Store & Museum, Bogue Falaya Wayside Park, Southern Hotel, and Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery are some of Covington’s well-known places of interest.

Tammany Trace, a 31-mile recreational hike-and-bike trail that runs along the northern banks of Lake Pontchartrain and connects Covington with other St. Tammany Parish towns, can be easily accessed from the Fontainebleau State Park.


Light trails at the Minor Basilica in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Light trails at the Minor Basilica in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

First settled in 1714 as a part of French Louisiana by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, this town in west-central Louisiana’s Natchitoches Parish is the oldest permanent European settlement within the limits of the Louisiana Purchase Territory. A significant portion of the town is encompassed by the Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District, which features numerous French Creole homes, Art-Deco commercial properties, and Queen Anne-style mansions. The 33-block Front Street stretch parallel to the Cane River has scores of locally-owned shops, clothing boutiques, and eateries like Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant and Cane River Candy Company.

Furthermore, take a self-guided tour of the Cane River National Heritage Area, the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the Northwest Louisiana History Museum, and a large number of shooting locations of the “Steel Magnolias” movie. Merrymakers would not want to miss the Natchitoches Christmas Lighting Festival, regarded as one of the earliest community-based holiday celebrations in the US, which begins on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and ends on the Epiphany.  

Grand Isle

Aerial view of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Aerial view of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Statistically a part of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area and placed at Louisiana Highway 1’s southern edge, this beachside community in Jefferson Parish occupies its namesake barrier island at the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico’s Barataria Bay. Begin your trip by touring the Grand Isle State Park, the sole state-owned beach on the Bayou State’s Gulf Coast at the island’s eastern extremity. With over 280 fish species inhabiting the abutting waters, Grand Isle is a favored destination for enthusiastic fishermen.

The Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo hosted by the town every July is one of the country’s leading saltwater fishing rodeos, where visitors get to witness in awe the prize-worthy catches and consume some appetizing seafood. Other than fishing activities, the annual three-day Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival in April offers birdwatchers opportunities to traverse through the varied habitats of the island that draw thousands of migratory avian species.

St. Francisville

Rosedown Plantation, St Francisville Louisiana
Rosedown Plantation, St Francisville, Louisiana.

Founded in 1807 by John H. Johnson and originally called the “Villa of St. Francis,” this adorable town in West Feliciana Parish is placed at the top of a narrow ridge overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. Home to 1,589 inhabitants as per the latest US Census, the former largest antebellum river port between Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana, has enticed heritage buffs and vacationers over eons. Wander down the idyllic streets of the town’s historic district and tour the West Feliciana Historical Society Museum, Grace Church of West Feliciana Parish, some old residences, and numerous meticulously maintained plantations like the Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Butler Greenwood Plantation, Myrtles Plantation, Oakley Plantation, Cottage Plantation, and the Audubon State Historic Site.

Nature fanatics should head to the Afton Villa Gardens, Cat Island Natural Wildlife Refuge, and Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area. In addition to being the home course for Southern University’s athletic teams, different sporting activities are offered by the 250-acre West Feliciana Sports Park. 


Aerial view of Minden, Louisiana. 

Minden – “The Friendliest city in the South,” christened after its namesake German city, is situated roughly 28 miles east of Shreveport in Webster Parish of Northwestern Louisiana. The exquisite red-bricked streets of the town’s historic Main Street District are packed with Victorian-era buildings, gift stores, vintage shops, boutiques, small parks, and top-class diners. A short drive to the north, the Germantown Colony Museum provides insight into the daily life scenes of an early 19th-century hamlet.

Outdoor enthusiasts should participate in multiple recreations at the neighboring Dorcheat Bayou, Caney Lakes Recreation Area, and Lake Bistineau. Additionally, Main Street serves as a perfect venue for many annual events including the Webster Parish Fair & Parade, Greater Minden Chamber Duck Derby, Minden – Fasching Karneval “Mardi Gras” & Parade, Vintage Car Club Shine & Bike Show, Minden Christmas Parade, Main to Main Trade Days, Grilling on Main BBQ Cook-Off.


A scene from Eunice, Louisiana.
A scene from Eunice, Louisiana. Image credit: Louisiana Travel via

Eunice, named in honor of Eunice Pharr Duson, the beloved spouse of the town founder Cornelius C. Duson, is spread across St. Landry and Acadia parishes. The town’s location close to the center of Cajun country, has made Eunice a hotbed of Cajun & Creole cultures and traditional Cajun & Zydeco music, enabling it to rightfully uphold its motto: “Louisiana’s Prairie Cajun Capital.” Downtown Eunice’s prominent sites include the Cajun Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Savoy Music Center, the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park & Preserve’s Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, Eunice Depot Museum, and Liberty Theater

Every year, Eunice hosts a spectacular Mardi Gras celebration known as ‘Courir de Mardi Gras,’ and a World Championship Crawfish Étouffée Cook-Off.


Barns in Thibodaux, Louisiana.Editorial credit: JWCohen /

Dubbed the “Queen City of Lafourche,” this parish seat of Southeastern Louisiana’s Lafourche Parish is situated along Bayou Lafourche’s banks around 49 miles southwest of New Orleans. Labeled after Henry Schuyler Thibodaux and initially a trading post between the Bayou Teche Country and New Orleans, Thibodaux’s glorious past is well reflected in the downtown district’s many well-preserved antebellum structures.

The notable points of interest include St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Bayou Country Children’s Museum, Laurel Valley Sugar Plantation, Edward Douglas White Historic Site, St. John’s Episcopal Church & Cemetery, Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, and the Nicholls State University campus.  Also, savor the lip-smacking Cajun cuisines at the town’s different eateries like Spahr’s Seafood Downtown Thibodaux, Fremin’s Restaurant, the Jambalaya Shoppe - Thibodaux, etc.


Beautiful Downtown Bastrop, Louisiana
Beautiful Downtown Bastrop, Louisiana. Image credit: J. Stephen Conn via

The parish seat of Northeastern Louisiana’s Morehouse Parish, Bastrop is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 165 and U.S. Highway 425, approximately 24 miles northeast of Monroe. Established by Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, a Dutch nobleman, the town functions as Morehouse Parish’s industrial and trading hub, and is situated within an area of the parish that is promoted to tourists as the “Sportsman’s Paradise Region of Louisiana.”

Bastrop welcomes wanderers to its Craftsman and plantation-style buildings in Downtown, besides other impressive attractions such as Snyder Museum & Creative Arts Center, Rose Theater, and the recently renovated historic Morehouse Parish Courthouse. Nature enthusiasts must not miss the ample recreation activities at the adjacent 503-acre Chemin-A-Haut State Park that overlooks the meandering Bayou Bartholomew.

From Breaux Bridge – the “Crawfish Capital” to Eunice – “Louisiana’s Prairie Cajun Capital,” these gorgeous small towns are Louisiana’s true gems waiting to be discovered. Esteemed for their thriving cultures, colonial architecture, friendly locals, and delicious cuisines, a tour of these offbeat towns will make your trip to the Pelican State truly worthwhile.

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