Content Produced in Partnership with Louisiana Travel
There's nothing quite like heading out on an open road to see what possibilities lie ahead. Unlike air travel, a road trip allows modern explorers to truly embrace a destination, discovering every nook and cranny until their heart's content. It's just one of the reasons why Louisiana is one of those states that's best explored from behind a wheel. Much like the twists and turns of the Mighty Mississippi that flows through it, Louisiana is a maze of extraordinary customs, traditions and folklore. Brimming with possibility and easy to do during a weekend or even longer, here are four unique ways you can cruise the best of the Pelican State this year:
Louisiana Culinary Trails
You’ll learn quickly stopping at a fast food restaurant during you drive through Louisiana is practically a cardinal sin. There are simply too many authentic, local restaurants to enjoy, so much so that you can plan an entire road trip dedicated entirely to all the great food the Pelican State has to offer. Fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico can be found throughout the Seafood Sensation Trail, while the Red River Riches and Delta Delights to the north specialize in fresh water fish and locally grown fruits and vegetables (Ruston peaches being especially sought after in the summer months).The Bayou Bounty trail around Lafayette will pack a little heat — thanks in large part to Avery Island’s TABASCO peppers — and Capital Cravings in Baton Rouge will surprise you with a mix of Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurants.
Great River Road History Tour
Using the Mighty Mississippi as your guide, you can navigate Louisiana’s rich history to better understand its unique customs, traditions and folklore. Just outside New Orleans, you can plan a series of plantation tours, beginning at the magnificent Oak Alley Plantation before turning to the colorful Laura Creole Plantation and onward to St. Francisville’s Myrtles Plantation, one of the most haunted places in the entire state. From there, you can delve further into the state’s history in its capital city of Baton Rouge with stops at the tallest state capitol building in the United States and the nearby Louisiana State Museum before heading north toward Natchitoches or Monroe.
Music, culinary, culture — what’s your celebration style? With the state boasting more than 400 unique festivals throughout the year, we guarantee you can experience several during your trip, especially if you time it for the fall or spring. As the azaleas begin to bloom, springtime promises crawfish boils galore. Though you’ll find several across the state, the leader of the pack is the small town of Beaux Bridge just outside Lafayette. Located just off the shores of Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge is easy to spot thanks to its local bridge with a giant crawfish on it. Meanwhile, the cooler fall months promise a range of arts and crafts festivals and several major culinary festivals, including the NOLA Beignet Festival, Crowley’s Rice Festival, Bridge City’s Gumbo Festival and the Boudin Wars in Sulphur.
Sportsman’s Paradise Road Trip
Whether it be the still marshes or the sleepy swamps, no other state exhibits hiking, biking and boating trails like Louisiana’s. Kisatchie National Forest, the only national forest in Louisiana, lies just outside Alexandria in the central part of the state. Featuring five distinct ranger districts, the more than 600,000 acres of the national forest borders a series of cities, making for an easy launching point to the rest of the state. Meanwhile, downstate, you can discover “America’s Foreign Country.” Better known as the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, a region beloved by paddlers from all over for its bald cypress trees and backcountry waterways. Travelers from Baton Rouge to Lafayette can enjoy both Atchafalaya and Lake Martin in one go — just don't forget your fishing pole.