Columbia Street, Covington, Louisiana, USA. Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs /

7 Picturesque Small Towns in Louisiana for a Weekend Retreat

It is not uncommon to associate Louisiana with The Big Easy, the famous Baton Rouge, and Mardi Gras, but the state's picturesqueness extends beyond the cultural hub to the satellite towns, where the Cajun culture is concentrated. From lakes and state parks to local markets and the friendliest people you will ever meet, Louisiana is home to legends, both people and stories, as well as legendary Creole and Cajun cuisine.

In Minden, visitors can experience the German and Scottish settler heritage. Exuding retreat vibes, these towns welcome visitors with authentic southern hospitality, rich history, and fun festivals, with always something Cajun on the menu and many charming inns—the state staples. The small waterfront town of Ville Platte is home to the Louisiana State Arboretum, the oldest in the country, as well as charming lakeside cabins to jet-set explore.

Breaux Bridge

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

Hovering at around 8,300 residents, Breaux Bridge is picturesque, much like its name suggests, with an illustrious French heritage. Offering a vibrant mix of culture, Cajun cuisine, and many waterways through town thanks to the unique Lake Bigeaux configuration and Atchafalaya River to the east, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” Whether that be fishing or eating all the sea delicacies, the nearby Lake Martin has stunning wildlife to explore and picnic along the banks. Don't miss the "Fruit Stand," a famous market where every experience feels picturesque in its warm, local ambiance. Bayou Teche is an irresistible waterway in the summer for kayaking, birdwatching, and soaking in the sun over natural vistas, while nearby, Atchafalaya invites adrenaline junkies for swamp tours.

Offering an unparalleled culinary scene year-round, the Crawfish Festival gathers foodies from near and far to celebrate its rich gastronomic traditions. Breaux Bridge's heartline, the downtown, is painted with vivid murals, narrating tales from the past in between local boutiques and handcrafted treasure shops, with smells wafting from Cajun eateries serving sinful pleasures. This passionate town is full of flavor, including Poche’s Fish-N-Camp, with spacious RV spots for a tranquil retreat on a rendezvous with nature along its well-maintained fishing ponds in the genuine embrace of Louisiana’s landscapes. Country Charm Bed & Breakfast is a highly reputable stay-in-town.


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

Just north of New Orleans, this delightfully charming city of about 10,000 locals is a beloved town to visit for many reasons. Its arteries, Columbia Street or Lee Lane, pulse with local boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants, like H.J. Smith and Sons, one of the state's oldest general stores. The Chimes-Covington is a destination restaurant, while the Southern Hotel is a highly reputable hotel with excellent access to the good stuff: Covington's star attraction, its Arts District. Nestled within the historic downtown, it is a stellar spot to explore for culture lovers and photographers.

From street art to art galleries of every medium, size, and style, visitors can browse and observe local artists in their studios for a dose of creative inspiration, which the picturesque location caters to. Starting with the three rivers and waterfronts, with the fresh breath from the waters through the town, its tree-lined streets inspire a scene from a painting. It is a truly scenic route to explore with picnics at the parks, like Bogue Falaya Wayside Park, with an epic playground where the parents can relax right along the beautiful views of the Bogue Falaya River. Don't miss the famous Movie Tavern, while O'Keefe Feed & Seed has an impressive collection of seeds to grow any flower and call it "Covington" back home!


First Baptist Church of Farmerville, LA.
First Baptist Church of Farmerville, LA. By Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The small town of Farmerville bursts with Louisiana countryside beauty along the Bayou D'Arbonne Lake, an immense reservoir built in 1963 for municipal, industrial, and agricultural purposes, as well as a vast source of water for public recreation. The snaking lake, at 15,280 acres and an average depth of six feet, offers a shoreline of over 100 miles. Stocked by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department, it is an outdoorsmen's fantasy, including many campsites and summer homes with access to the water. Its commercial landing, as well as an airstrip near the scenic dam, tell of the thriving town's popularity as a quint escape in Louisiana. The waterfront of Lake D'Arbonne State Park features tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a fishing pier with picture-perfect views to recreate in the fresh air.

The beloved town wouldn't be the same without its one-of-a-kind Watermelon Festival every year on the last weekend of July. As juicy as it sounds to beat the summer heat, the family-friendly events include watermelon eating, seed-spitting contests, and the best-dressed watermelon competition. Surrounded by bodies that feed the lake and boat launches, Farmerville is a real wet playground to explore via vessel, including Corney Bayou and Middle Fork Bayou. The fun Farmerville Recreation Center features green spaces and adorable bunnies for a fun family day out, while the island at Lake D'Arbonne is just south of downtown for the best water views. Away from the hustle, Edgewood Plantation B&B is a highly reputable stay, and the famous D'Arbonne Lake Motel offers a pool.

Grand Isle

Stilt houses with long docks in the low-lying town of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Stilt houses with long docks in the low-lying town of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The small town of Grand Isle, on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, is a grand escape, indeed, in a picturesque corner of the state. The unique setting doesn't feel like Louisiana anymore, but it is home to friendly locals; it aspires to be where you belong. There is something for everyone along the expansive sandy shores and trails with beautiful beaches all around, like fishing, bird watching, swimming, and beachcombing at the fantastic Grand Isle Beach. Still recovering from Hurricane Ida in 2023, but with plenty of lodging available for beach lovers, there are nearly 10 miles of public beaches to find tranquility, as well as, for seafood enthusiasts, the many waterfront restaurants.

So, why not do both yourself and the island a favor, from sunbathing along the shores to lazy strolls in between local businesses, like the popular Starfish Restaurant? The pristine landscape protected within Grand Isle State Park, one of the state's best, offers campsites, trails, and the nearby Grand Isle Marina for your boating pleasures, set to reopen in the near future. Louisiana's only inhabited barrier island, the town actually covers two distinct strips of land connected by Grand Isle Bridge/Hwy 1. Imagine the breadth of restaurants, attractions, and preserves like Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge and Elmer's Island Beach on the portion near the mainland to explore, while deeper in, Blue Dolphin Inn & Cottages is a top choice among tourists for its adorable cottages on stilts in the lake breeze.


Photo of downtown Minden, Louisiana.
Downtown Minden, Louisiana.

Nestled in a piney forest's embrace in Northwest Louisiana, Minden is a picture of perfection that even Hollywood couldn't resist! Its charm-ridden starry face is part of the Northwest Louisiana Film Trail, with over 20 local filming sites highlighted. Offering a fun hunt around town for the cinephiles, the historians among them will appreciate old architecture sights and stops for local history at Dorcheat Historical Museum and the Germantown Colony Museum on the area's flavorful settlement. Having welcomed its first settlers in the early 19th century, the German Utopian Movement played a role in its layout and some of the first businesses in town.

The Villas at Spanish Court is definitely a top-choice accommodation in Minden, and for outdoorsy thrills, look no further than the famous Recreation Park and the Muddy Bottoms ATV—it is kind of a thing here. The pretty town really likes to get down and dirty, including for the annual Bayou Mudfest, with showers available along the park's 5,000 acres of trails. The Scottish Tartan Festival in April reveals the town's other childhood trait, complete with authentic treats like a coo burger made from Scottish Highland beef. Locals and visitors, many wearing kilts, can relax in lawn chairs and mingle with drinks during the fun celebration commemorating Scottish independence.

New Iberia

 Antique Roseville in New Iberia, Louisiana, USA.
 Antique Roseville in New Iberia, Louisiana, USA. Editorial credit: ccpixx photography /

New Iberia, the beating heart of Acadian culture, is a unique Cajun town, just a hop from the expansive Vermillion Bay to the south. Exuding bayou charm, it is the child of Louisiana’s history in the sugarcane industry, with remnants at the Shadows-on-the-Teche plantation and its beautiful manor house from 1834 high up on the banks of the bayou. Jefferson House offers a dreamy stay for historians, breakfast and a bottle of wine in cottage-style rooms included by night, and exploring the nearby beautiful Rip Van Winkle Gardens by day. With fancy, free-roaming peacocks entertaining families among its three-century-old oak trees, the picturesque set was formerly owned by the Rip Van Winkle actor, who performed thousands of times on stage. The top-rated New Iberia City Park features an excellent playground for the kids while the parents stroll the trails and the adjacent Dog Park.

For lunch, even if you are not staying at the inn, try the crabmeat au gratin in their courtyard for an authentic Louisiana experience. Avery Island, just outside of town, is for those who love to live on the edge—well, kind of. Having invented Tabasco Sauce, you can be sure that even your morning poached eggs will be liberally doused with the red pepper sauce that tastes fantastic with traditional Louisiana po’boys. It is a whole daytrip worth of heat with a visit to the factory, museum, and garden for a self-guided bird tour with an on-site restaurant. October is a great time to visit as the town starts carving pumpkins under the best weather while preparing for the scores of attendees to its World Championship Gumbo Cookoff, where patrons have over 100 varieties to savor.

Ville Platte

Bald cypress trees in autumn with rusty-colored foliage and Nyssa aquatica water tupelo, their reflections in lake water. Chicot State Park, Louisiana, USA.

Bald cypress trees during autumn, Chicot State Park, Louisiana, USA.

Not just the coolest waterfront getaway near the picturesque Lake Chicot and the smaller Millers Lake, Ville Platte is an illustrious puzzle piece in Louisiana's already flavorful history. Founded by Marcellin Garand, a former cavalry officer in Napoleon's army, this city in the northern reaches of the Cajun country offers a bout of traditions, modern-day culture, wet attractions, and serene lakeside cabins. Remembering its infancy through an October celebration, the thundering hoofs offer an insightful spectacle in honor of his equestrian legacy. The Louisiana Tournoi, a one-of-a-kind horseback tournament along a rustic racing track, features riders in capes and costume armor vying for the most gold rings. In conjunction, the Louisiana Cotton Festival is a fruitful celebration of the area's agricultural bounty, including festival queens, a ball, and a parade through downtown.

As a Cajun food heaven and swamp pop music queen, Ville Platte is full of reasons to visit year-round, straddling El Camino Real with its historic district. Here, visitors can stroll along the Spanish colonial-era trail, which extends from New Orleans to Natchitoches, while the nearby Chicot State Park's wooded acres and the painting-like rolling hills with meandering, cypress-studded waterways make you want to sit down with your own sketchbook. The state park really is the place to get away from it all, just east of town, with waterfront cabins with access to nature trails, canoeing, and, most notably, the Louisiana State Arboretum, the oldest in the country. The Best Western Hotel is just down the road, away from the downtown hustle.

Discover the Enchanting Small Towns of Louisiana

Discovering these small Louisiana charms feels like a special treat in a pretty wrapper you've been anticipating on a revered weekend escape. The state, historically thriving through agriculture, is home to towns surrounded by bayou beauty and those that celebrate the area's agricultural bounty in a festival. Visitors get a personalized, authentic Louisiana experience, with historical sights, movie fandom, and rolling hills straight from a painting, as well as some of the best food in the Bayou State.

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