Louisiana has long been a tourist destination. For centuries, folks have flocked to the state’s many popular cities to take in the unique charm, culture, and good-times attitude. Today, the beautiful beaches as well as world-class fishing, hunting and birding, have visitors coming back year after year. Whether you are looking for a classy stay in a hotel, for privacy in the wild, a convenient all-inclusive, or a rowdy night on the town your vacation needs will be met. Here are 15 perfect Louisiana getaways.
It is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. Where some of the most notorious authors, poets, musicians, movie stars, and over all world changers have dwelled ingesting the intoxicating brilliance of the French and Spanish architectural space. It is located on some of the highest ground in the city, and has been a cultural hub for people of all walks of life since the birth of New Orleans in 1718. Folks can enjoy a stay at one of the many boutique hotels such as Hotel Monteleone or the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Hop on a horse-driven carriage along cobbled stone streets on your way to have a cocktail at the oldest bar in the nation, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, on historic Bourbon Street. Then take your pick from world-class affair, including Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street and Antoine’s on St. Louis Street. After stop by one of the many music venues in the quarter or catch some public transportation to nearby Frenchmen Street where local acts entertain nightly. By day, catch a coffee and a jazz set at Café Beignet, while perusing the vast art galleries from Royal Street all the way down to Jackson Square where you’ll also run into St. Louis Cathedral. Though locals always suggest enjoying the entirety of the city, the French Quarter in all its excitement, history, and unique atmosphere.
Everything under one roof. That is the motto at L’Auberge du Lac Casino & Resort in Lake Charles. The establishment certainly backs up their claim have fun weekend getaway activities of all types. For family fun, enjoy the Contraband Bayou Golf Club, exclusive shopping, arcade, or simply relax in the pool. The pool has cabanas all around for convenience, a poolside bar, and a fun lazy river! Adults can relax at Spa Du Lac or catch a cocktail at one of the many nightlife spots including Ember Grille & Wine Bar or Jack After Dark. The huge gaming floor boasts 80 game tables and 1,600 slot machines. Concert events often take place at the casino resort. Coordinate your trip to L’Auberge for a care free weekend.
People have been flocking to the beaches and bay of Grand Isle during the hot summer months since the early 20th century. Today, it remains the same as tourism increases the town’s population from a little over a thousand to the tens of thousands at the most popular times. World class fishing for tasty Gulf fish such as speckled trout, bull reds and in deep water red snapper along with many other fish. It hosts the biggest kayak fishing tournament in the world, Ride the Bull, along with the annual Tarpon Fishing Rodeo that was established in 1928. Birding is also a popular activity on the island with the Grand Isle Birding Trail having five bird watching locations along the oak-hackberry wilderness trail. Grand Isle State Park along with other parts of the island, has access to a wide beach that is never really too crowded and opens to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Splash in the waves or just relax on the beach soaking in the rays. By night, you can cook your own fresh, local seafood or venture to a nearby restaurant like the Starfish Restaurant or Lighthouse Restaurant for local cuisine. Bars such as Artie’s Sports Bar are open at night along with Meagan’s Snowball Stand where you can get yummy snow balls, ice creams, and a round of put-put.
For a woodland get away Bogue Chitto State Park is one of the best choices in the state. Its five Upland cabins overlook a beautiful 90-foot bluff, rare scene to find in the state. Over six miles of hiking trails are available in the park along with picnic tables, pavilion, amphitheater, community center, and water playground. Visitors get to experience a diversity of habitats and wildlife as the park is situated on one of the most scenic river systems in Louisiana. Kayaking, canoeing, and fishing can all be enjoyed for those wanting some time out in nature with a boat launch area to help get in the water.
This lake provides a weekend paradise to truly escape from the stresses of daily life. For fishermen, the freshwater lake is full of largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, channel catfish, and many more species. Having a surface area of 6,400 acres at full reservoir levels, the lake itself is a fine habitat. Besides fishing, guests can rent canoes or flat bottom boats for a nice paddle on the water. Situated on the inlet of the lake is the park’s sandy beach where recreational swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing can ensue all day long. It is protected from fishermen and water skiers, and the lakes clear water makes for enjoyable dips. In the woods the park holds the top two disco golf courses in the country as well as some easy hiking along the nature trails. Two bedroom cabins are nestled in the shade of pine trees making for a comfy weekend retreat.
The ultimate fishing vacation lies down in Port Fourchon right past Golden Meadow before you hit Grand Isle. This little haven in the marsh has gateways to the Gulf of Mexico, a host of bays including Terrebonne, Timbalier as well as Devil’s Bay, and the marsh itself where some of the worlds best fishing occurs. At the marina, motel rooms are available with two queen beds, television, Wi-Fi, and your own boat slip. Wake up and get your bait right at the bottom of the stairs. All supplies can be bought at the 24-hour store that has delicious menu items in its deli. From breakfast sandwiches to cheeseburgers and shrimp po’boys, it is down-home good cooking. Fishing guide trips include inshore trips, extended day blue water, offshore trips, and overnight trips by Captain Chris Moran himself. World renowned red snapper fishing is available offshore in May, other fish are amber jack, wahoo, blackfin tuna, and more deep water fish. In the marsh, there are loads of trout, flounder, red fish, crabs, shrimp, and more. The marina also hosts C. Moran’s relaxed fine dining restaurant as well as Fin’s Bar that has pool tables, live music, nice locals, and more entertainment. Fish on!
This little island is packed with adventure. This island is home to the famous Jungle Gardens, a wildlife and botanical habitat that stretches along Bayou Petite. Inside is a centuries-old Buddha statue along with timeless oak trees and other beautiful plants. In the spring, Bird City becomes the home of thousands of white Egrets and other bird populations. Mr. E.A. McIlhenny founded the bird colony in the 1890s with just eight birds that he raised to let migrate across the gulf in the fall. The birds still make the same trek today! Speaking of the family, the world-famous McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce is still originally made on the island. Visitors can take a tour of the Tabasco Museum, check out some of the factory, sample some of the sauces, eat in Restaurant 1868, or simply enjoy the scenery. They even have a re-creation of what it was like to walk through one of the islands salt mines! Stay in one of the many bed and breakfasts in the area including the 19th century mansion Old Castillo Bed and Breakfast, or the quaint A Touch of Country Bed and Breakfast right on Avery Island Road.
At Madewood Plantation House they simply ask their guests to join the party. Though it is not a normal gathering. Guests are led back into an old antebellum setting that would have been present during when the house was built in 1846. Being only 75 miles from New Orleans and 45 miles from Baton Rouge, the plantation is easy to access. Join fellow travelers for wine and cheese reception in the library at 6 p.m. Then dine in elegance under candlelight while enjoying some authentic Louisiana cooking. The menu included chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish pie or étouffee, smothered greens, cornbread, and pecan pie for dessert! There are five rooms to choose from in the main house along with the more informal Charlet House that used to be a river boat captain’s headquarters. The whole property represents the elegance that defined this region. The beauty will take your breath away, the comfort will take all your worries.
This magnificent 1850s sugar cane estate is today the south’s largest antebellum mansion. It is a AAA, four diamond property that is also a member of Historic Hotels of America. The grounds hold not only 200-year-old oak trees and lush gardens but a host of fun activities including tennis courts, outside pool and cabana, fitness center with lounge and pool table, and several restaurants to choose from like The Mansion Restaurant. The Island Golf Club is also only 10 minutes away! Guided mansion tours take place most days allowing guests access to the insider information regarding the 53,000-square-foot mansion. They can also learn about the founder John Hampden Randolph as well as his wife and 11 children who lived on the property. Guests have a choice between 40 overnight rooms, which range in style from being in the Mansion, Boys Wing, the Cottages, and other historic buildings on the property.
Nicknamed the Cajun Riviera by locals and visitors alike, this unique hideaway in Cajun country is surely a delight for any weekend. Located right off the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Louisiana this area is a delightful unincorporated beach side community. Swimming, fishing, crabbing, sun bathing and other water activities are favorites in this little town. However, there is also the Creole Nature Trail and Sabine National Wildlife Refuge nearby where tons of wildlife can be taken in and viewed from alligators to over 400 bird species! Rentals for the weekend include R.V.’s, as well as two-bedroom and 1.5-bedroom beach houses.
At this stately bed and breakfast in the country town of St. Francisville guests can relax and take in the historic town. The rooms are elegantly equipped with amenities such as an elegant chandelier that hangs in front of an 1870s French queen bed, or 1860s Victorian hand carved parlor set. Choose between the Camilla Leake Barrow House, The Printers House, Victorian Suite, Empire Suite or Hideaway Suite. Breakfast includes the option of a small pastry breakfast or a full on Cajun style benedict breakfast. Established in 1809, this historic town of St. Francisville is a lovely town to explore with nature all around its borders. The Magnolia Café is a favorite spot for down home cooking and live local music. The Bluffs are a breath taking scenic golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, Tunica Hills has a host of nature trails to hike through, and there are many historic plantations including Myrtle Plantation that have interesting guided tours along with other dining and cocktail options. Having had celebrities like Susan Sarandon, John Malkovich, and Mickey Rourke stay here you know the Barrow House Inn and the town of St. Francisville will not disappoint.
These authentic Cajun bed and breakfast cottages are located just 15 minutes from the Cajun capital of Lafayette. Being the fourth largest city in the state, Lafayette was founded as Vermilionville in 1821, and today hosts a number of Cajun historical places to visit along with a hip downtown area. Selected as “Best for Food” in the USA Today “Best on the Road Rally,” there is certainly no shortage of unique tastes in the city. From Louisiana Cajun delicacies to Spanish style tapas, the flavors are endless in this town and so is the availability of live music along with good cocktails. The Blue Moon Saloon and Guesthouse, not only operates as a premier roots music venue but also as an international hostel. Artmosphere is an artistic little venue that doubles as a hookah bar, and The Grouse Room has premier specialty cocktails. Still, the charming country setting of the Maison fully come alive with views of the private lake. Rentals are available with full kitchens, Jacuzzis, and peaceful porch views. It is the ultimate escape from the city with entertainment in the cultural city of Lafayette available at your fingertips.
This historic bed and breakfast is a treat for movie lovers as this was the house where the 1989 hit “Steel Magnolias” was filmed. Having such stars as Julia Roberts, Sally Field and Dolly Parton fans can be giddy in staying in the same house as the movies filming stars. The home can operate as your own weekend house allowing visits to the historic sites of Natchitoches, which in 1714 became the first French colony in the America’s, four years before New Orleans. Explore the National Landmark District, the 33 blocks take visitors into a shopping and dining paradise that are all located in the same town square that was established in the 1700s. Stretched along the beautiful Cane River, the city is picturesque with tons of activities including an Alligator Park, Beau Jardin Water Gardens, plantation tours, and more. Guests can walk along the Cane River tasting authentic Natchitoches Meat Pies, while staying in the same house as the Steel Magnolia cast!
Created by the father of forestry in north Louisiana, A.J. Hodges, in the 1950s this garden in the woods is perfect for a relaxing short vacation. The 225-acre crescent shaped lake offers relaxing fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The park also hosts a 5.3-mile loop road that with its hills and curves make for a good workout for any hiker or biker. The gardens are the truly unique treat within the park. They have rows of flower, trickling streams, and paths that wind throughout the gardens. Lodging is offered with family, single, and handicapped cabins available. Many of the cabins have relaxing porches overlooking the lake where guests can capture the sunset. Group camping is also available in the park.
This oxbow lake was once the main branch of the mighty Mississippi River until in 1722 seasonal flooding cut a shorter branch to the east. Today, the lake is properly named False River and provides for lots of boating, swimming, fishing, and neighborly fun. Cottages and lake side cams, as we call them down here, are available for rental all year long though the summer months are the most popular times to visit. Water skiing, wake boarding, tubing, jet-ski riding, and joy riding are all popular past-times at False River. Park the boats side by side and then hop into the refreshing water with a tube and beverage of choice. It is your classic cottage by the lake scene here. Where neighbors join in on evening barbecues of burgers or the catch of the day. Kids or adults alike can have fun swimming in the cool, clear waters all day by simply jumping right off the dock in the front of the camp. Lodging is available for rental at historic places like Morel’s Inn that started in 1926, or at the Fishful Thinking Vacation Cottages. Rent by owners of personal family homes is often available as well. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the lake for the weekend!