Whether you’re craving small-town authenticity or big-city excitement, every region in the state is infused with #OnlyLouisiana character and flavor. Looking for activities in a particular parish? Check out these parish tourism resources.
The cities of Alexandria and Pineville straddle the Red River and form a hub for fine arts. Nearby, delve into the Louisiana History Museum or visit Kent Plantation House, a 200-year-old French colonial structure and outbuildings. The east-central part of the state is a must for exploring Native American heritage, from Marksville and Simmesport to Vidalia. The oldest complete sawmill complex in the South is located nearby. And in Ferriday, the Delta Music Museum pays tribute to legendary rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues performers.
Historic sites abound in and around the state capital of Baton Rouge. The beautifully restored Louisiana Old State Capitol building is one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in the country. Area museums interpret the history of steam locomotives, African-American art, early village life, the criminal justice system and more. Genteel communities such as St. Francisville and New Roads are known for a gracious living and historic plantations that reflect French Creole influences. Lovely hills around Jackson and Clinton make for scenic drives. Visit plantations, such as the grand dame called Nottoway in White Castle, for an architectural treat. Back in the capital city, visit the campus of Louisiana State University, the "red stick" on the bluffs of the Mississipi River at Southern University and enjoy fine dining, live music, a bustling riverfront and casinos.
The French Quarter in New Orleans (called Vieux Carré) is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Established in 1718 the area acted as the town center and a major trade hub. The district is bounded by Canal, Decatur, Esplanade Ave. and Rampart Streets. This fun and exciting neighborhood has everything from the party vibe of Bourbon Street to the elegance found on Royal Street. Enjoy views of the stunning architecture with balconies adorned with intricate ironwork to beautiful gardens and courtyards. Every street has something to offer from the famous landmark Jackson Square to boutique shopping, live music, restaurants, voodoo temples, Café Du Monde and the French Market. Come stroll the streets of this exotic neighborhood. View the tabs below to find things to do and French Quarter hotels.
The Greater River Road Area sits outside of Baton Rouge in Plantation Country. The towns of Gonzales, Darrow, Sorrento, Vacherie and more make up this region. The area showcases the history of River Road’s once highly influential landowners on a winding path that leads to the state’s political seat. Add to that the capital city’s downtown with award-winning restaurants and a thriving Arts and Entertainment District and you’ve discovered the area’s vibrant personality. The art of cooking was perfected inside plantation kitchens, where mansion restaurants today serve mouthwatering seafood paired with glorious sides such as Creole tomato risotto. From music festivals to antebellum plantations like Oak Alley, Houmas House, Laura Plantation: Louisiana's Creole Heritage Site and Evergreen Plantation to name a few, the Greater River Road offers a glimpse into this unique area of Louisiana.
In the eastern part of Cajun Country, enjoy the food, music and fun to be found throughout south Louisiana. In addition, take advantage of easy access to great fishing – inland or offshore – and get close-up views of the wildlife. Look for blue-winged teal and Caspian terns along a section of America’s Wetland Birding Trail. Visit Laurel Valley Village, in the Thibodaux area, to see the remains of a sugar plantation, a schoolhouse and a museum. In Houma, consider stops at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, Southdown Plantation House, the Terrebonne Museum and the Terrebonne Folklife Culture Center. Fishing is huge here. The Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo occurs annually at Port Fourchon, and just up the road is Grand Isle State Park. In October, head to Chackbay for the Louisiana Gumbo Festival.
In this area known as Acadiana, indulge in the excellent cuisine and entertainment at restaurants and music clubs. Hit the shops in Jefferson Street Market. In St. Martinville, the heart of Cajun Country, visit St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, founded by the Acadians who arrived in 1765. Check out the history of the Catholic Church at the Academy of the Sacred Heart school for girls in Grand Coteau. The Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center in Opelousas commemorates the arrival of the Orphan Train riders starting in the 1870s.
Welcome to the Lake Charles Area where a diverse Cajun culture offers everything from authentic culinary creations to glitzy casinos to abundant fishing and hunting grounds. Cajun Country folks are also known for throwing the best parties. See for yourself at any of the region’s famous festivals. Stop by a local dance hall for authentic Cajun two-stepping and sign up for a swamp tour to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. Enjoy some seriously delicious culinary delights. Lake Charles and the surrounding Cajun Country menus are highlighted with locally caught seafood—oysters, shrimp, crawfish, red fish and more. The towns of Sulphur, Westlake, Cameron, Lake Arthur, Iowa and more make this region.
This region is a true Sportsman’s Paradise. In parks and woods around Farmerville and Bastrop, follow a birding trail, cast a line in a crooked creek, hike the forested hills and lowlands, launch a canoe on a sprawling lake or bike along a winding path. Step back in history at a military museum or catch a glimpse of the state’s agricultural past at the Louisiana State Cotton Museum in Lake Providence. In Monroe and West Monroe, enjoy the dining, shopping and antiques browsing, as well as the symphony, ballet and Broadway-style shows. In Ruston and Grambling, enjoy the university-town atmosphere, including exciting college sports, along with art galleries, studios and museums.
Life along lovely Cane River Lake – a loop left behind when the meandering Red River changed course – has a distinctly genteel quality. Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. The city’s red-bricked Front Street is part of a charming scene that draws people to stroll and socialize along the river. Don’t miss the hugely popular Natchitoches Christmas Festival. In the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, browse historically significant buildings such as those at Oakland and Magnolia Plantation. Visit landmarks that reflect the area’s Spanish and Native American influences in Robeline, see historic landmarks in Marthaville and Melrose, and view Louisiana's colorful political past in a museum in Winnfield.
Sample the region’s unique cuisine, and be sure to taste cracklins, a Louisiana specialty. In New Iberia, visit Conrad Rice Mill, the country’s oldest working rice mill. And of course, fans of author James Lee Burke love to experience the setting of his Dave Robicheaux novels. Examine the history of Louisiana’s sugar cane industry at the Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum. Don’t miss nearby Avery Island, home to the McIlhenny Co.’s TABASCO® Sauce bottling plant. Three museums interpret the region’s history – the museum of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana in Charenton, the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum in Patterson and, in Morgan City, the International Petroleum Museum and Exposition.
One of the country's oldest and most interesting cities, New Orleans is known as a culturally rich and vibrant center of fun, festivity, fine dining and history. Landmarks and historically significant architecture abound, as do sights, attractions and activities for families. Discover the restaurants, clubs and centuries-old buildings of the world-famous French Quarter and the grand homes of the Garden District. Ride a streetcar along beautiful, oak-draped St. Charles Avenue. Take the kids to the Audubon Zoo and Aquarium, visit the National World War II Museum, and stop for amazing views of paddlewheelers and freighters on the mighty Mississippi River. Take a drive south to Venice, and charter an offshore fishing boat for a day of trophy fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. Or drive just minutes out of New Orleans to Chalmette and visit the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. Visit the area during Mardi Gras or during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to enjoy major international events you will never forget. If you're hungry for Louisiana seafood, you won't want to miss stops along the Jefferson Parish Oyster Trail in Lafitte, Kenner, Metairie, Gretna and Harahan.
Clear streams, piney woods and idyllic communities filled with antiques shops, galleries and restaurants are found throughout St. Tammany Parish, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Only forty minutes from the French Quarter in New Orleans, revel in Northshore art, cuisine, culture and the great outdoors.
There are about 80,000 acres of national wildlife refuge set aside in the parish, including Big Branch NWR and the Northlake Nature Center on Bayou Castine. Birdwatching is popular on the Northshore, and many endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers live here.
The Tammany Trace, a jewel of a bike trail threading through 31 miles of St. Tammany Parish, is a great way to enjoy the Northshore outdoors.
Kayakers, paddle-boarders, and canoeists find easy access along many of the bayous and rivers and on Lake Pontchartrain. Join a guided swamp tour of the pristine Honey Island Swamp in Slidell, or go fishing with one of over a dozen experienced charter captains in Slidell. Learn more about paddling in Louisiana.
Kids especially enjoy the swamp tours, and holding or even hatching baby alligators at Insta-Gator Ranch. Or, they can get up close and personal with giraffes, camels, llamas and more at the amazing Global Wildlife Center.
Exciting flavors inspire menus in elegant dining spaces and mom-and-pop seafood emporiums all along the Tammany Taste. Find happiness in perfectly fried shrimp or a mountain of spicy boiled crawfish. Enjoy wine-tasting at the Pontchartrain Vineyards or beer-tasting at Abita Brewery or the Covington Brewhouse.
The Northshore offers a range of accommodations. You can stay at a boutique hotel, in quaint cottages off the beaten path, familiar and convenient hotels, or go camping at two waterfront state parks, Fairview-Riverside in Madisonville and Fontainebleau in Mandeville.
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Ten Ways to Taste St. Tammany
Ten Things to Do With Kids on the Northshore
Go Visit: Louisiana’s Northshore videos
Sprinkled among the lakes and bayous in this northwestern part of the state are scenic state parks, excellent fishing and hunting grounds, and great nature-viewing areas, including portions of the Kisatchie National Forest, which spreads across some 600,000 acres. In the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City, seven casinos and a horseracing track entertain visitors. The Louisiana Boardwalk is a hub for outlet shopping, dining and recreation. African-American culture is featured in museums and along the self-guided African American Heritage Tour of Shreveport-Bossier.
Sample Louisiana’s diverse landscapes and cultures in the west-central area. Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park is revered for its bass fishing, boating and water sports. The region offers more than a thousand acres of great camping, hiking and birding. At Fort Jesup State Historic Site in Many, Col. Zachary Taylor in 1822 established a fort to secure the western border of the frontier. Nearby Zwolle celebrates its Dutch-Spanish heritage with the annual Zwolle Tamale Fiesta. At the Lois Loftin Doll Museum in DeRidder, admire more than 3,000 antique dolls.