Louisiana is a southeastern state on the Gulf of Mexico. There are three distinct regions in Louisiana, and they include lowlands, terraces, and hills. Louisiana's subtropical climate means hot and humid summers and mild winters. However, the state can experience tropical storms and hurricanes between January and November, so it is best to plan trips with the weather in mind.
The Creole and Cajun cultures reflect the state's history as a melting pot for American, African, and French cultures. Louisiana is well-known for its delicious Cajun cuisine and influence. Louisiana's big cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport tend to get much of the limelight however numerous small towns in the state deserve just as much attention and are worth visiting.
Natchitoches, pronounced Na-kuh-tuhsh or Nack-a-tish) has a population of 36,663. Founded around 1714, Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory.
The natural beauty in this area is astounding. The Rose of Sharon and Persian Silk trees bloom beautifully with flowers in hues of pink. Towering Southern Oaks dot the landscape throughout the state. The Cane River National Heritage Area offers scenic drives along the Heritage trail. Cane River runs south to expansive plantations within the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. The 18th-century Oakland Plantation is a fine example of one of the several in the region.
The National Historic Landmark District includes incredible attractions, including the Minor Basilica with lovely stained-glass windows, French Creole townhouses, and the city's oldest general store, the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile. Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site boasts reconstructed replicas of the fort to explore.
Sports fans might enjoy a trip to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. The town has a nice skating rink and a beautiful golf course.
Visitors can find museums, annual festivals, guided walking tours, and enjoy a relaxing Cane River Queen River Boat cruise. The River Carriage Company is the place to go for an awesome horse and carriage tour throughout Natchitoches. The Natchitoches Film Trail brings you to the famous filming sites that put the area on the map with the movie Steel Magnolias.
Breaux Bridge is a small town in St. Martin Parish. This southern Louisiana town is known as the "Crawfish Capital of The World." Here, travelers can experience quintessential Cajun culture. Breaux Bridge offers a relaxing atmosphere with its quaint downtown streets and traditional Cajun and Zydeco music heard throughout.
Head out for a Cajun Country Swamp Tour or spend an afternoon at Lake Martin. Walking tours allow tourists to get up close views and first-hand experiences with the rich history and culture of the town. Some Interesting Historic Sites include the Frank Pellerin Building and Begnaud's Hardware Store (the first brick structure in Breaux Bridge, circa 1899). Points of interest include Lake Martin, the Atchafalaya Basin, and incredible scenic byways. The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway is a popular and lovely area to visit.
Thirteen miles south of Breaux Bridge on the Bayou Teche is the small town of St. Martinville. This adorable small town in Louisiana is quite charming and full of history. The Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site is a must-visit site to learn about the area's diverse peoples and cultures. The Acadian Memorial and Museum is a heartfelt monument to the 3,000 Acadian men, women, and children exiled from Acadie by British forces and found refuge in Louisiana. Within the memorial and museum, guests can view the wall of names, a mural, an eternal flame, and much more.
Adults can enjoy the local nightlife at a cocktail bar or sports bar. Various restaurants throughout the town serve Cajun cuisine, fast food, seafood, and everything else.
Lake Fausse Point State Park offers 6,000 acres to roam and explore, with exceptional fishing, canoeing, boating, and history lessons. Ready to retire for the evening? Head to the Old Castillo Bed and Breakfast or the Bienvenue House B&B for a relaxing slumber.
Donaldsonville is the Parish seat of Ascension Parish and a part of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan area. This small town has a population of about 6,841, but there is much to see and experience. The area boasts one of the best historic districts in Louisiana.
The Houmas House Plantation and Gardens is a spectacular historic plantation telling the story of the Sugar Barons of the 19th century. The 38 acres of gardens make for a peaceful afternoon exploratory stroll with sitting benches to rest and admire the indigenous Louisiana native plants and the exotics. The gardens also host fountains, ponds, and statuary. Inside the Houmas House, guests will find museum-quality furniture and art.
The River Road African American Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting artifacts, arts, and buildings. Learn about the history of the people's culture through the extensive interpretations of the pieces within the museum. Crescent Park is a fine place to relax and unwind. The park features a pavilion, paved seating areas, beautiful flowerbeds, and walkways.
Abita Springs is one of the prettiest towns in Louisiana. This small town is in St. Tammany Parish, with a population of less than 3,000.
Some incredible points of interest around town include the Abita Mystery House/UCM Museum, the 31-mile Tammany Trace Bike Trail, the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum, and the Abita Brewing Company. The Brewing Company was founded in 1986, and within its first year, it produced over 1,000 barrels of beer. Today, those numbers are pretty expansive, with over 120,000 barrels of beer and 13,500 barrels of soda being made yearly.
The Children's Museum of St. Tammany is a fun way for kids to learn about the area's history. The Town of Abita Springs Trailhead and Park is located along the Abita River and has a splash pad, picnic tables, a pavilion, and a museum. If headed here in the spring and fall, take some time to enjoy the Abita Springs Opry.
Covington, Louisiana, is home to 200-plus-year-old live oak trees. These massive trees are a sight to behold. Outdoor enthusiasts can discover The Tammany Trace Bike Trail and the Covington Trailhead, which can also be found here. Experienced riders could ride this trail from Covington to Abita Springs if desired. It is a little less than a four-mile ride.
Covington was ranked among the U.S. favorite small towns in Louisiana. Maybe it has something to do with the artistic energy or Southern charm, but likely it is the combination!
The Bogue Falaya Wayside Park is a historic site and a beautiful place to enjoy the sensational nature surrounding the area. Columbia Street Landing and the Columbia Street Healing Garden are incredible areas to be one with nature. For those looking for a beautiful playground for the kids, the Fountainbleau State Park has some of the best greens in the area. For thrill-seekers, head to Escapology, the town's escape room.
Additionally, H.J. Smith and Son's General Store and Museum displays hundreds of items from the 1870s through the early 1900s.
Bastrop is one of the small towns in Louisiana that comes alive in the fall. Chemin-A-Haut State Park overlooks the Bayou Bartholomew from a high bluff, making it an excellent location for a scenic view. There are two playgrounds in the day-use area, a swimming complex with a wading pool, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. The picnic area in the park offers a hard-surfaced trail along the scenic banks, perfect for sightseeing and pictures. Paddling the trail at Bayou Bartholomew is a unique way to enjoy the scenery.
The town boasts Craftsman and plantation-style homes. Snyder Museum, the Creative Arts Center, and various historical tours are a few of the points of interest. Have you ever been on a paddle trail? If not, you have a chance to enjoy one in Bastrop. Bastrop also features an array of restaurants featuring everything from homecooked food and burgers to Italian and Mexican cuisine.
Along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, Lutcher is a welcoming small town that charms all who visit with its small population of about 3,041.
The Festival of the Bonfires is one of the area's and state's most popular events. This multi-day Christmas season event is famous for the large bonfires that burn atop the Mississippi River levees at night. Art and cultural activities and attractions provide a keen insight into the city's history, traditions, and artwork. With everything from cultural performances to historical monuments, there is something for everyone to enjoy; outdoor activities are abundant, with access to two rivers, several parks, and green spaces to explore.
Eunice is a city in Acadia and St. Landry's parishes. This lively town actively celebrates the area's history and French culture. The Prarie Acadian Cultural Center and Cajun Music Hall of Fame are excellent points of interest worth visiting. Savoy's Music Center has Cajun jam sessions every Saturday morning; this 40-year-old tradition is still going strong.
Downtown Eunice is beautiful, and something is always going on, from cultural events to live music. Eunice's Mardi Gras "Courir de Mardi Gras" is a significant event that takes place every year.
The Crawfish Cook-Offs showcase the area's thriving crawfish industry and local chef's talent. For fans of Cajun cuisine or crawfish, head to this area! Eunice is an excellent small town in Louisiana for a weekend escape. Eunice is one of those towns where once visitors have been, they do not want to depart!
Louisiana is home to many infamous things, namely Cajun food, crawfish, swamps, alligators, and a blend of cultures that are rich and diverse. While folks tend to visit the larger cities in states, these small towns offer much to do, even with their smaller size. Whether travelers are looking for a wild ride or a relaxing float on a peaceful river, there is something in the state for everyone.