Even though it might best be known for the city of New Orleans and the Mardi Gras Parade, the great state of Louisiana has several beautiful small towns within its borders that are worthy of a visit as well. These beautiful small towns mix southern charm with quaint beauty to produce a picturesque, natural ambiance that permeates throughout the entire state. From Tallulah in Madison Parish to Abita Springs in St. Tammany Parish to Prairieville in Ascension Parish, these thirteen small Louisiana towns are filled with a type of wonder and beauty not always possible to attain in other parts of America.
Tallulah – Madison Parish
Hidden in the northeastern corner of Louisiana, just west of the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the town of Tallulah is a quaint place where the wonders of history meet the beauty of nature. The Southern Heritage Air Museum, featuring World War II as well as modern-day aircraft, provides a taste of history, while the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1980 to preserve the habitats of thousands of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, and reptiles, adds to the glory of nature.
There is also the Hermione House Museum, built in the mid-19th century, which was turned into a field hospital during the Civil War and is now a wondrous source of knowledge about Madison Parish and the town of Tallulah itself.
Minden – Webster Parish
On the other side of the upper half of the Pelican State, the off-the-beaten-path town of Minden, just outside of Shreveport, is home to several museums as well, including the Germantown Colony Museum, which tells the history of the first German settlers in northwestern Louisiana. There are also a variety of other places that add to the beauty and charm of Minden, like Academy Park, which offers visitors options for taking a relaxing stroll with someone special or enjoying a noontime picnic with the family.
Minden is also near Sugar Cane Trail, a six-and-a-half-mile loop, located in the Kisatchie National Forest, that circles a part of Lake Caney and takes approximately two hours to complete.
Anacoco – Vernon Perish
Home to South Toledo Bend State Park, the town of Anacoco offers several amenities in the range of camping, either in an RV, in a cabin, or in a tent, hiking a variety of trails, including the Lakeview Nature Trail, or grabbing some lunch with friends or family at one of many picnicking areas available.
If you prefer to eat inside, there are several restaurant options just outside of Anacoco, in nearby Leesville, like the Ranch House Café, the Jamaican Spot, and Toups’ Kajun Kitchen. There are also several options for out-of-the-woods lodging in the nearby town of Leesville as well, like the Holiday Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, and Comfort Suites.
Eunice – Acadia Parish
The adorable town of Eunice, located in both Acadia and St. Landry Parishes, is home to the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and the Savoy Music Center. It is also a part of the Cajun Food Bus Tour out of Lafayette. Several natural attractions are also in, or just outside, the town of Eunice, including Eunice City Lake and Lakewood Beach, offering swimming, fishing, and boating to visitors.
There are also several dining choices available in Eunice, including Cajun cuisine. The New Ronnie’s Cajun Café, located on Laurel Avenue, offers many different excellent varieties, including a delicious spicy Cajun chicken dish.
Abita Springs – St. Tammany Parish
Quite near to New Orleans, and yet far enough away to be comfortable if you don’t like the larger cities, as Abita Springs is above and New Orleans is below Lake Pontchartrain, the town of Abita Springs has a plethora of outdoor activities guaranteed to please the family. Other than the variety of amenities, like fishing, swimming, and boating, that are available out on the lake, there is the Abita Creek Flatwoods Reserve, which allows for pleasant walks through woodlands and swamps.
If you wish to stay in town, the Abita Mystery House and the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum are both worthy of a visit with family or friends and well worth the time spent.
St. Martinville – St. Martin Parish
About 13 miles south of Breaux Bridge, which is known for being the crawfish capital of the world, the town of St. Martinville has its own claim to fame. Along with the Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site and the Evangeline Tree, both relating to the classic poem written in 1847 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, St. Martinville also offers visitors a chance to visit Lake Fausse Point State Park, which has all the amenities of most state parks, including camping, fishing, and hiking.
There are also several other options for visitors in the town of St. Martinville, including the Acadian Memorial and the Acadian Museum, relating the story of those who first moved to southern Louisiana.
Winnsboro – Franklin Parish
Hidden in the northern part of Louisiana, not far from Tallulah, is the town of Winnsboro. A few miles to the east and visitors to Louisiana can check out the Big Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Tensas National Wildlife Reservation. A few miles to the west, you can check out the Boeuf Wildlife Management Area. Plus, north of the town, near Monroe, the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo offers excitement to all ages.
Opelousas – St. Landry Parish
The town of Opelousas, located in St. Landry Parish not far from the town of Eunice, is a great place to take friends or family if you are visiting Louisiana. While it is not especially large, as Opelousas has a population of less than 10,000 people, this town has a variety of attractions along its main streets meant for visitors.
From the fabulous choices for lodging and dining, like the Country Ridge Bed & Breakfast on Country Ridge Road and Crawfish House and Grill on Union Street, to the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum and the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center, the town of Opelousas is alive with cultural, historical, and modern amenities that will keep calling you back for more.
Thibodaux – Lafourche Parish
In between New Orleans to the northeast, Lafayette to the northwest, and Baton Rouge to the north, the pretty town of Thibodaux, in Lafourche Parish, is home to a plethora of natural attractions, including being situated right on the banks of Bayou Lafourche. Along with being able to check out the many wonders of the Bayou through personal or chartered swamp tours, visitors can also explore the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.
There is also the Laurel Valley Village, the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, and the Bayou Country Children’s Museum available to visitors, the latter offering education in Louisiana history for kids while still providing fun and excitement for every member of the family.
St. Francisville – West Feliciana Parish
Home to several plantations from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the quaint, idyllic town of St. Francisville is a pleasant blend of historical past meets modern-day style. From the haunting of The Myrtles Plantation, which lays claim to as many as ten murders, the historical background of Oakley Plantation’s connection with John James Audubon, and the modern amenities available to guests who are staying at Greenwood Plantation to the Imahara Botanical Gardens and the Afton Villa Gardens, the friendly town of St. Francisville provides a quality of beauty to everyone who experiences it.
Along with the plantations and gardens, there are several other attractions in and near St. Francisville that are worth checking out, including Woodriff Falls and Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is quite close to town.
Farmerville – Union Parish
On the northern edge of the Bayou D’Arbonne Lake, the town of Farmerville in Union Parish has a plethora of natural attractions that keep visitors coming back to Louisiana for more. Known best for the Louisiana Watermelon Festival, held around the end of July since 1963 and sponsored by the Farmerville Jaycees, the town of Farmerville is also known for its close proximity to Lake D’Arbonne State Park, offering several different amenities, including a variety of hiking trails, fishing piers, and picnicking spots.
The option to camp with the family overnight, either in a tent, an RV, or a rented cabin, is also a possibility, as Lake D’Arbonne State Park offers all three to visitors.
DeRidder – Beauregard Parish
The town of DeRidder, hidden in Beauregard Parish, is a perfect place to visit, whether the family is looking for history, ambiance, class, or nature. From the Kisatchie National Forest, which is just outside town and offers visitors and residents options for hiking, fishing, camping, and snapping some photographs of the animals native to that part of Louisiana, to Bryant Park in the border of DeRidder, nature is covered.
In relation to history, the town of DeRidder, which was named after Ella DeRidder, the wife of a Dutch immigrant, is steeped in history, from the coming of the Kansas City Southern Railroad in the early 20th century to the growth and expansion of the timber industry.
Prairieville – Ascension Parish
Hidden to the southeast of the city of Baton Rouge and to the northwest of the city of New Orleans, the quaint town of Prairieville is a gem among plain stones. There is a diversity of excellent cuisine, like Fratelli’s Italian Grill, Albasha Greek and Lebanese Café, and Galvez Seafood Company, to the close proximity of natural attractions, including the Bayou Manchac, to family-oriented activities, like the Prairieville Flea Market, which offers visitors and residents a variety of different options for sale (over 400 different booths), from trinkets, jewelry, clothing, soaps, and knick-knacks to almost every different type of food or drink one could think of.
While the larger cities in the great state of Louisiana, like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, offer a wide variety of options and opportunities, the smaller towns can offer just as much without the hustle and bustle of the big city. From Tallulah to Prairieville, these thirteen towns are only a few of the most beautiful small towns in Louisiana that you should take the time out of your busy schedule to visit.