Louisiana — Overview
There’s no doubt that The Big Easy (New Orleans) is the epicenter and finest representative of Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage. But curious travelers can delve even deeper into the fascinating Creole traditions of the region by exploring Cajun country and its unique Francophile towns.
New Orleans is the star attraction of Louisiana thanks to special spots like the lively historic French Quarter and the charming Garden District. This is a city that bleeds music, loves food and demands everyone have a good time. It can feel a tad touristy and like party central at Bourbon Street, but the quality is there to be discovered. Balancing out New Orleans are the interesting towns and parishes where a French dialect is the norm and you'll be transported into another world and time.
It’s hard not to have a good time in Louisiana, and that’s largely thanks to the friendly folks who live here. Though New Orleans can pricey for amenities like hotels in the French Quarter especially during Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest, overall the state is a bargain travel destination. Food in particular is incredibly delicious, filling and cheap. Outside of New Orleans the options for posh lodging greatly diminish, though historic bed and breakfasts or plantation houses can often be found in the countryside.
Besides the rich cultural attractions Louisiana offers, the state is also a fantastic destination for outdoor recreation. Water sports like fishing and boating are highlights thanks to the abundance of water in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the lakes, rivers and swamps that cover the entire state. Golfers will also be pleased at the range and quality of Louisiana’s courses, and the balmy subtropical climate ensures that conditions are pleasant to be outside all year round.
If you only plan to stay in New Orleans, then you are actually better off without a car. This city is ideal for walking, and is supported by a cool streetcar network and plenty of taxis. For travel deeper into Louisiana, you will definitely want to have your own wheels. There is simply no other way to explore Cajun country or poke around the coastal communities without a car. The state’s roads are all in fine condition and well-marked, with good interstate highway access to move quickly around the state.
- Put on your party shoes and head to New Orleans in February to participate in the unbeatable circus that is Mardi Gras
- Catch a traditional brass band or legendary jazz musician at a tiny packed bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter
- Drive around Cajun country and experience the rich cultural diversity that is Louisiana Creole
- Explore the bayous (swamps) of Louisiana either quietly in a canoe or with some verve aboard an air boat
- Experience the grandeur of Louisiana’s plantation era at wonderfully preserved sites like Oak Alley and Nottoway
- Toss the diet out the window and indulge in marvelous Southern cuisine
- Bar hop along Bourbon Street, carrying your drinks with you in the infamous to-go cups