Row of colorful houses built on high stilts on the coast of Louisiana, Holly Beach. Image credit Heidi Besen via Shutterstock

Louisiana's Most Charming Beach Towns

The state of Louisiana in the United States has a vibrant culture and rich history. It is home to many beautiful beach towns which offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast, as well as the graciousness of the people of Louisiana. Visitors can enjoy a lively adventure or a quiet holiday, exploring wildlife or learning about the towns. Each of these beach towns offers its own distinct vacation experience. Visitors can taste some great local seafood cuisine, and cajun food or experience one of the many festivals or events that happen throughout the year. Having an unparalleled blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and hospitality, visiting these beach towns gift tourists with a memorable experience.

New Iberia

A bridge over the river in New Iberia, Louisiana
River running through New Iberia, Louisiana.

New Iberia is set in the Acadiana region in southern Louisiana. Tucked between the Atchafalaya River and Vermillion Bay, the town offers many opportunities for beach excursions. The closest beach is the Cypremort Point State Park, located 25 miles south in Cajun Country on Vermilion Bay. On the Louisiana Gulf coast, Cypremort Point is one of the few places accessible by road. The meaning of Cypremort in French is dead cypress. The park serves as a public recreational area covering an area of 185 acres and is set against an alluring backdrop of coastal marsh with a man-made beach that stretches about a half-mile. The area has a fishing pavilion, a boat launch area, and picnic sites. Other nearby beaches include; Hackberry Beach, 94 miles away, and North Beach, 46 miles away.

What sets the area apart are its unique beachfront parks, and stretches of sand enclosed by barrier islands and bays. It is a great spot for crabbing and fishing with the possibility of catching fat flounder or redfish. Around the area, tourists and locals may come across the big rodent called nutria, alligators, muskrats, lots of birds, black bears, deer, and foxes. The park has about six cabins that are available for overnight stays. Those touring during the day can enjoy sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, and kayaking while at Cypremort Point. Nearby attractions include Cypremort Point Yacht Club, Grevemberg House Museum, and Jeanerette Bicentennial Park & Museum.

Grand Isle

Aerial view of beaches and homes on Grand Isle Louisiana
Sandy beaches of Grand Isle.

Grand Isle is a remote oasis in Jefferson Parish nestled within Louisiana’s enormous coastline. Located at the entrance of Barataria Bay, where it meets the gulf, it is set on a barrier island of the same name in the Gulf of Mexico. The beachfront is a mile-long stretch on the easternmost end of the island. Adventure lovers will enjoy Grand Isle, renowned for fishing and birding, with unfiltered views of the Gulf, fascinating wildlife, and long stretches of beaches. With over 280 species of fish living in the waters surrounding this sandy spur, the 400-foot-long public fishing pier with a fish-cleaning station nearby attracts anglers to pursue fishing. For birders, Grand Isle hosts the Annual Migratory Birding Festival, which is a fun event. Palms, ferns, oleander, crepe myrtle, and windblown oak trees on chenier ridges attract migrating birds in season. During springtime, bird lovers can enjoy the sounds of songbirds in oak-hackberry woods, waders on beaches and marshes, and shorebirds.

Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, boating, crabbing, and relaxing in the sun during summer. The mouthwatering variety of seafood adds to the charm of vacationing at Grand Isle. Up to a hundred families can stay in the camping area with nearby boathouses equipped with running water and a dump station. Camping on the beach is also permitted.


Scene of Coastal Louisiana at Holly Beach in Cameron Parish
Sandy beaches and flowers at Holly Beach.

Cameron is an idyllic beach town, nestled on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Holly Beach, or the Cajun Riviera, is in Cameron Parish, located 10 miles west of Cameron, and 12 miles east of Johnson Bayou. It is about a three to four-hour drive from Baton Rouge or New Orleans, and over two hours drive from Houston, Texas. Holly Beach is not the typical resort beach with fancy restaurants and grand hotels but has an appeal of its own, with many who consider it one of the best. It is an ideal spot for shellers, crabbers, and fishermen with no requirement for a license, and those who love to practice meditation or enjoy long, peaceful walks along the beach. Visitors can also enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and taking in scenic views and fresh sea air. Despite Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008 causing mass destruction, the town was restored, and visitors explore this place again for a relaxing getaway.

The area is rarely crowded and allows for RV camping. The town is famous for the festivals it hosts throughout the year, including Crab Festival, Music, and Food Festivals. Other beaches close by are Little Florida Beach, a 20-mile drive along the coast, and North Beach, a 55-mile drive away on Lake Charles.

Jean Lafitte

swampy waters of the Bayou of jean lafitte national park in louisiana
Bayou of Jean Lafitte National Park in Louisiana.

Situated in Jefferson Parish, Jean Lafitte is a town on Bayou Barataria, one of the most prolific estuaries in America. The town takes its name after the notorious pirate Jean Lafitte, famous for his smuggling activities along the Gulf Coast during the early 19th century.  Although the town is small, the beautiful beaches stretching along the Gulf of Mexico attract many visitors. This historic fishing village lies about 30 minutes from New Orleans city and offers scenic views of the Bayou, swamps, and Highway 45, which leads into the wetlands of Louisiana. The nearby Lake Salvador is ideal for fishing, and a variety of water sports, and the gulf coast with endless sand beaches is only a short drive away.

Jean Lafitte’s rich culture and history with historic sites and museums highlight the area’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Some of these great places include Lafitte Barataria Museum and Wetland Trace Boardwalk. The Tourist Information Center offers information on the life of Jean Lafitte. The Jean Lafitte Harbor offers cabins and fishing boats on hire. Tourists can also explore the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which offers fishing opportunities, swamp tours, and hiking trails. Also, famed for seafood cuisine, there are several seafood restaurants all over the town that serve fresh seafood such as shrimp, crawfish, and oysters caught from the Gulf of Mexico.

Lake Charles

Aerial drone photo Golden Nugget Casino Resort Lake Charles Louisiana
Golden Nugget Casino Resort Lake Charles, Louisiana. Image credit Felix Mizioznikov via Shutterstock

Set in the southwest region of the state, Lake Charles is a bustling tourist destination that takes care of a variety of tourists, from those who enjoy partying at casinos to those who prefer to limit themselves to award-winning golf courses. There are festivals that tourists can explore, like the Louisiana Pirate Festival, Mardi Gras, the Cajun Music and Food Festival, and more. From hunting and fishing opportunities, museums, theatre, and music to family-friendly picnicking areas, there is a lot to enjoy.

The beaches in Lake Charles are perfect for water sports, sunbathing, and swimming, thus attracting many tourists. Nearby Prien Lake, connected by the Calcasieu River, also offers Prien Lake Park, another great spot for fishing, boating, and picnics. Recreational water sports lovers can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and jet skis. Cultural attractions include beautiful architecture and cultural landmarks such as the Mardi Gras Museum, and the 1911 Historic City Hall. The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is another great attraction offering tourists hiking trails, scenic drives, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Locals and tourists can enjoy live performances at local venues. Visitors can feast on traditional dishes at local restaurants that specialize in Cajun and Creole cuisine, including hot favorites like jambalaya, gumbo, and crawfish étouffée.


Sunset over the Lake Pontchartain in Mendeville
Lake Pontchartain in Mendeville at sunset.

Mandeville sits picturesquely on the north shores of Lake Pontchartrain, the second-largest inland saltwater body in the US. The Fontainebleau Beach pier is set in the beautiful Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, with the pier extending out into the water. The enticing natural scenery makes it a perfect spot for outdoor recreational activities. The park is popular for camping, hiking, and biking and has amazing historic buildings that tourists can explore. Visitors can visit the nature center, dip into the park’s splash park, tour along the Tammany Trace derived from an old railroad track, or marvel at the ruins of a 19th-century sugar mill.

The beach area is ideal for swimming and sunbathing in its shallow waters, where children can have a great time. Picnics and barbeques can be set up with a designated space for tables and grills on the spot. The beach pier also allows fishing for anglers to hook a variety of fish, including bass, redfish, and catfish. The benches, rod holders, and other fishing amenities in the area make fishing a more enjoyable experience. Another beach that is close to Mandeville is the Northshore Beach in Slidell which is about 24 miles away.


The deserted beach at Rutherford Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana, on the Gulf of Mexico, with blue sky and gentle surf.
 Rutherford Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico.

Situated in central Cameron Parish, south of Lake Charles, Creole is famous for offering a laid-back beach experience, stunning views, and outdoor activities. Its location near the old mouth of the Mermentau River allows for shallow-water estuary canoeing and kayaking. The beautiful stretch of the sandy Rutherford Beach, which is only 4 miles from the town, attracts tourists to explore this less crowded spot. The beach is great for swimming, sunbathing, and beach combing for seashells. Tourists can watch the waves, soak up the summer sun, walk along the beach, and camp at the beach for a relaxed holiday experience.

Fishing is a popular activity at Rutherford Beach, with some ideal spots along the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can either fish from the beach or the pier or take a fishing charter. Hiking and biking trails are also offered in the area, visitors can explore the nearby wetlands that have amazing wildlife, spot a variety of birds, or catch a glimpse of dolphins and other marine animals in the waters off the coast. Not far from Cameron, other nearby beaches include Holly Beach and Little Florida Beach.

Whether you choose to explore the peaceful, less crowded beach town of Creole or the great ambiance at Grand Isle, or enjoy the natural scenery at any of Louisiana’s other charming beach towns, they will not disappoint. You can experience a variety of activities or relax on the beaches while destressing from the hustle of daily life. While relaxing at these beach towns, do not forget to taste the local cuisine, and attend at least one of the big festivals or events to feel the Louisiana vibe.

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