Grand Isle, Louisiana: Stilt houses with long docks

6 Cozy Towns to Visit in Louisiana

Louisiana, a state renowned for its vibrant culture, unique Creole and Cajun heritage, and stunning natural landscapes, is where every parish tells a story. These parishes, equivalent to counties in other states, serve as the foundation for local government, each possessing its own distinct character and charm from the charming small town of Abita Springs, where visitors can explore quirky attractions and enjoy craft beer at the Abita Brewery, to the historic streets of Franklinton, where the annual Washington Parish Free Fair celebrates local culture and tradition.

In Breaux Bridge, known as the "Crawfish Capital of the World," visitors can savor Cajun cuisine. Grand Isle shines with its pristine beaches and world-class fishing opportunities, while Cameron showcases Louisiana's gorgeous Gulf Coast. In Eunice, visitors can immerse themselves in Cajun music and culture. Discover cozy towns to visit in Lousiana, the Bayou State.

Abita Springs

Abita Springs in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, USA, featuring John Preble's UCM Museum, also known as Abita Mystery House.

Abita Springs in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs /

Abita Springs is a small, quirky town of less than 3,000 residents in St. Tammany Parish. In the center of town, visitors can learn about its history at the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum. It also serves as the community hub where musicians perform every Sunday from 11 AM to 3 PM during the Abita Springs Art & Farmers Market. The town also hosts a monthly Cajun Dance, a Busker Festival, a Whole Town Garage Sale, and a kooky Push Mow Parade. For more eccentric fun, the Abita Mystery House is a must-see. Once known as the UCM (“you-see-em”) Museum, it is a collection of more than 50,000 objects found, from bottle caps to paint-by-numbers to old “brick” mobile phones.

The Abita Springs Brewery, home of the award-winning Abita Beer, is one of the largest and most renowned craft breweries in the southern United States. Take a tour of the Abita Brewing Company and Tap Room or a family-friendly Craft Soda Tour. Finally, get outside and enjoy the 31-mile Tammany Trace hike and bike trail—Louisiana’s only rails-to-trails conversion. Along the way, visit the beautiful Fontainebleau State Park.

Breaux Bridge

Statue near the public library building in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, USA.
Statue near the public library building in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Since 1960, the vibrant town of Breaux Bridge, known as the "Crawfish Capital of the World," has invited visitors from around the world to its annual Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival to celebrate Cajun culture for three days every May. But there’s still plenty to celebrate in this lively town the other 362 days of the year, like exploring the historic downtown area, filled with charming shops, boutiques, and art galleries. There’s no shortage of po'boys, gumbo, and seafood at restaurants like Chicken on the Bayou & Boudin Shop, or try Buck & Johnny’s for a Cajun twist on Italian fare, or Café Sydnie Mae for brunch favorites like shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles.

Stroll along the picturesque Bayou Teche, which runs through Breaux Bridge, and enjoy scenic views. Visitors can also go birdwatching or take a guided swamp tour with Cajun Country Swamp Tours to learn about the local flora and fauna. Once the sun sets, head over to the Bayou Teche River for a cold beer and live Cajun music at La Poussière, an authentic Cajun dancehall.

Grand Isle

Grand Isle, Louisiana at sunset, with shrimp trawlers silhouetted in the background.

Grand Isle, Louisiana at sunset, with shrimp trawlers silhouetted in the background.

Louisiana's only inhabited barrier island, Grand Isle, is a haven for beach purists who love white sand beaches and crashing waves and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, birding, and crabbing opportunities. The cozy island is in Jefferson Parish at the southern tip of Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico. For a day trip, head to the public beach access at Grand Isle State Park, which features a 400-foot fishing pier, nature trails, and an observation tower for stunning beach views.

Besides the beach, Grand Isle is renowned for its world-class fishing, both inshore and offshore. Visitors can fish from the beach or piers or charter a boat for deep-sea adventures at a local outfitter like Laid Back Charter or Hard Times Fishing. With more than 280 fish species and four seasons of fishing, anglers can expect to catch speckled trout, redfish, or flounder. Grand Isle also hosts the oldest fishing tournament in the United States—the Grand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo on July 25 - 27, 2024.

The island is a birdwatcher's paradise, making it a prime location for birdwatching. The island's diverse habitats attract numerous bird species, including herons, egrets, pelicans, and migratory songbirds. Every year, the island celebrates the return of its avian inhabitants at the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival.


Louisiana, Cameron Parish, Creole Nature Trail, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

Louisiana, Cameron Parish, Creole Nature Trail, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

Cameron is the closest thing visitors will find to a “beach town” along the Gulf Coast in the southwestern part of the state. Thirty miles from the Texas state line, Cameron is a stop along the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail, also known as "Louisiana's Outback." The Creole Nature Trail was one of the first National Scenic Byways in the area. The road takes visitors through wild, rugged terrain, once home to the notorious French pirate Jean Lafitte.

Start the trail with a visit to the Creole Natural Trail Adventure Point. In this free, fun attraction, visitors can learn about Louisiana’s unique culture and discover the best spots for seeing alligators and migratory songbirds. The roadway travels through the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge and the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, which allows visitors to walk out over the marshes to see animals in their natural habitat. Sample fresh seafood dishes at seafood markets, food trucks, and convenience stores along the way until reaching Holly Beach, the westernmost point of the “Cajun Riviera”—Louisiana's 30-mile stretch of coastline dotted with clusters of colorful houses on stilts overlooking the water.


Franklinton Middle School (formerly Franklinton High School), Louisiana

Franklinton Middle School (formerly Franklinton High School), Louisiana. By Z28scrambler, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Franklinton is a charming town in Washington Parish known for hosting the annual Washington Parish Free Fair—one of the oldest and largest free fairs in the United States. The yearly event features livestock shows, carnival rides, live music, arts and crafts, and various food trucks. The town is home to Bogue Chitto State Park, which offers hiking, biking, picnicking, and horseback riding opportunities. Aquaphiles can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the Bogue Chitto River with Louisiana River Adventures or head over to White Sands Beach, a family-friendly lake beach known for its white sand. Rent a shaded cabana to enjoy throughout the day while indulging in fun activities at the onsite aqua park with trampolines, water slides, and more, or rent a kayak or pedal boat.

Take a stroll through Franklinton's downtown historic district and admire the architecture of old buildings like the Washington Parish Courthouse, a historic landmark dating back to the early 20th century. For home-style Southern cooking, visit one of the town’s three cafés: the Bogue Chitto Café, the Red Brick Café, or Café Bouchee.


Eunice, Louisiana: Three Cajun Mardi Gras horseback riders

Eunice, Louisiana: Three Cajun Mardi Gras horseback riders. Editorial credit: Elliott Cowand Jr /

Eunice is a lively town deeply intertwined with the history of Cajun music. A key attraction is the 1920s art-deco Liberty Theatre, one of Louisiana’s most iconic concert halls, currently undergoing renovations. Still, music enthusiasts can visit Marc Savoy's Music Center to purchase handcrafted accordions and enjoy impromptu performances featuring fiddles, steel guitars, and pianos. The Cajun Music Hall of Fame offers a deep dive into the history of Cajun music with its extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

Eunice also hosts the largest Courir de Mardi Gras, which is celebrated annually two weeks before Mardi Gras with traditional events, parades, and music embodying the lively Cajun spirit. Downtown Eunice offers charming shops, boutiques like Beaucoup, art galleries, and cafés like the New Ronnie’s Cajun Café, set among historic buildings. The Eunice Depot Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains exhibits and collections in a restored railroad depot. The museum provides insights into the city’s historical significance as a transportation and commerce hub, featuring exhibits on local history and culture.​

Experience the Unique Charms of Louisiana's Small Towns

These six cozy towns capture Louisiana's sights, sounds, and flavors. Abita Springs captivates with its eclectic charm in a quirky roadside attraction filled with oddities, while Eunice is alive with the soulful sounds of Cajun music. Savor the flavors in Breaux Bridge at its famous Crawfish Festival, and taste the salty tang of the sea in Grand Isle. "Laissez les bons temps rouler” (a Cajun expression meaning “Let the good times roll”) with a visit to Louisiana’s small towns.

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