VIew of the riverbank and a bridge in Natchitoches, Louisiana

8 Most Charming River Towns in Louisiana to Visit in 2024

Louisiana is a state in America’s Deep South with many interesting cities and towns worth visiting. While New Orleans often gets all the attention, this state is also home to many towns, many of which are positioned by the shores of mighty rivers like the Mississippi River. These river towns are incredibly charming and exciting as they often hold some of the top historical and natural attractions in the state. Some of these towns even have rivers flowing through them, offering people easy access to endless water adventures. From Natchitoches to Donaldsonville, here are some of Louisiana's most charming river towns to visit in 2024.

Pearl River

Bridge over Pearl River in Louisiana.
Vintage bridge over the Pearl River near the town of Pearl River, Louisiana.

Pearl River is a postcard-perfect, stilly town in Tammany Parish positioned on the banks of the river of the same name. This river is the town’s most famous attraction, where visitors are always welcome to indulge in exciting water sports like kayaking and canoeing. Pearl River is also adjacent to Honey Island Swamp - a remote and exciting area that hosts diverse wildlife species, including the American alligator, raccoon, red-tailed hawk, and bobcat. For those visiting with family, the Pearl River Water Park is worth visiting as it is beautiful and features a splash pad and playground that kids love.

Meanwhile, history lovers can learn about the town's early days as a logging and railroad settlement at the Pearl River & Honey Island Museum and Research Center. With interpretive exhibits and tons of interesting information, it is a trip back in time. While the museum is available year-round, those visiting in 2024 can also look forward to the array of events in Pearl River. From the Generations 2024 Car Show in May to the Crowe Brothers performance in June, there is something for everyone.

New Roads

Boat House along the coast of False River in New Roads, Louisiana.
Boat house along the coast of False River in New Roads, Louisiana. Editorial credit: William A. Morgan /

New Roads is a gorgeous historic town between the False River Lake and Mississippi River. To get the best experience here, visitors can visit the 10.5-mile (16.9 km) False River to fish, boat, kayak, and stroll by the river banks for sunset views. Those interested in local history need not stray far as the Point Coupee Parish Museum lies on the west bank of the river, near Parlange Plantation. It is home to a Creole-type house featuring rare log cabin construction that tourists adore. After a long day out, visitors can head back into town to enjoy some tasty pizza and boiled crawfish at Buck's Crawfish Shack. Before leaving, shop for antiques and souvenirs at the False River Antique Mall to remember your river town experience in Louisana.


Rustic cottage in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.
Rustic cottage in the historic district of Donaldsonville, Louisiana.

The town of Donaldsonville lies at the intersection of the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche, where much of its natural beauty remains unsullied. Visitors can go to the Bayou to appreciate the natural beauty of a flowing river. Similarly, the nearby Lake Verret is a great place to relax and stroll on the private pier to admire the sunset and fish in the waters. Visiting these outdoor sights is perfect before heading inland to explore other attractions like the River Road African American Museum, where stories of African Americans are told via artifacts and exhibits. Or, combine delicious African-inspired cuisine with an art gallery experience at the Grapevine Cafe and Gallery.

West Monroe

View of a bridge in Restoration Park, West Monroe, Louisiana.
View of a bridge and stream in Restoration Park in West Monroe, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Hegearl /

West Monroe is the other half of the twin cities separated by the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish. While it is the smaller version of the Monroe cities, the town is big on attractions and recreational activities for tourists. A thrilling starting point would be at the charming Cheniere Lake Park, where visitors can enjoy camping, picnics, hunting waterfowl, and fishing on the 3,000-acre lake adjacent to the park. Next is the Restoration Park, featuring a wetland, forest, and a small scenic lake. Outdoor enthusiasts can walk around this park and savor the natural views of the cypress trees around the lake. However, a quintessential West Monroe experience is incomplete without visiting the Lazarre Park by the banks of Ouachita River, where the Ouachita RiverFest Big Bass Classic is held annually in June. The park also features an 18-hole disc golf course, boating and kayaking ramps for exploring the river, and picnic pavilions.


Aerial view of houses in Covington, Louisiana.
Aerial view of houses in Covington, Louisiana.

Covington is a beautiful small town located at the fork of the Bogue Falaya River and the Tchefuncte River, where it radiates in natural charms. Once here, visitors can immerse in any of the town's alluring attractions, starting with the Bogue Falaya Wayside Park, which features community events, a playground, picnic tables, and a boat ramp for easy access to the river. Nearby, visitors will find the Columbia Street Landing Park, boasting picnic tables and a pavilion facing the river, where tourists can relax against the backdrop of nature and enjoy community events. Nature and plant lovers can head to the Lake Ramsey Preserve, just five miles from the town and home to a small stream forest and over 20 rare plant species, including the Carnivorous Pitcher Plant. After the adventures, the best way to end the day is with some local and French-inspired cuisine at The Glorriete.


Rustic houses in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Historic slave houses in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Thibodaux lies on the banks of Bayou Lafourche, where it brims with picturesque natural charms and history. This town is home to many historical attractions, including the E.D. White Historic Site, which was the residence of Edward Douglas White, once the state governor, and his son Edward Douglass, who became a US Supreme Court Justice. The Laurel Valley Village is another historic site in town which is now regarded as the largest surviving 19th and 20th century sugar plantation in America.

Thibodaux also features the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, where visitors can learn more about the area’s early history through exhibits, photographs, and artifacts dating back more than 100 years. Away from history, visitors to Thibodaux can dip in the Thibodaux Municipal Pool to ward off the heat or head to the Bayou Lafourche to enjoy rides on a riverboat across the river.

St. Francisville

Entrance to the Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Lush foliage covering the entrance to the Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

St. Francisville is a rustic town, prominent for its geography, as it sits on a two-mile long and two-yard wide ridge overlooking the Mississippi River. On arrival, visitors are spoiled with scenic views of the Mississippi River almost at every turn. The town also features several outdoor destinations, like the Afton Villa Gardens, with lush and elegant oak trees alongside rows of blooming azaleas. Similarly, the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge features hardwood forests, bald cypress trees, migratory waterfowl, and other native species. If this isn’t enough, the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area is just north of the town and is also worth visiting as it is home to bluffs, a forest, hills, hiking, biking trails, and campgrounds.

While there is no end to the natural beauty of St. Francisville, the culture is just as vibrant in town. For a dose of history, the town hosts the Audubon State Historic Site, featuring a plantation, slave cabins, and many other relics reflecting a bygone age. Meanwhile, those willing to roam further can witness the town’s 200-year-old past through plantations like the Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Butler Greenwood Plantation, and the Cottage Plantation. For a different perspective on local culture, visit during the end of April to participate in various events like Barbeque and Bourdon at 1796 and the Angola Spring Rodeo.


Boat docked along the Cane River banks in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Red boat along the banks of the Cane River in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Editorial credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon /

Natchitoches is a quaint town by the Red River, famed as the oldest in Louisiana. While history is one thing, visitors are just as entertained by the town’s scenic attractions, like the iconic downtown riverwalk. This walkway includes Front Street with wonderful viewpoints overlooking the river and boasts several quirky boutiques and shops. Visitors can stroll on the riverwalk to admire the cascading water and rent boats for a more immersive experience.

For historians, Natchitoches features the Cane River National Heritage Area, home to historic sites dating back to 1714, making it the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. This massive area includes plantations featuring Creole architecture, historic houses, churches, cemeteries, and the beautiful Cane River Lake. For more history, visitors can head to Melrose Plantation to learn about the people who once worked there.


Several elements converge to make Louisiana inviting and outstanding, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi River, as well as historic sites, mixed cultures, stunning cuisine, and wildlife. These incredible features, however, feel different in the quaint and charming river towns spread across the state, and the reasons are not far-fetched. These towns are unsullied by human traffic, which keeps their rivers pristine, their air fresh, and their histories untainted. While the big towns and cities reign in their rights, these small towns are worth experiencing for unique adventures and unforgettable memories in 2024.

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