Louisiana has a lot to take in, for sure. We wouldn’t want you to miss a bit of what’s so appealing about the Bayou State, either — oh, heavens no — and thankfully, numerous local businesses, museums and tourism bureaus feel the same way. Sure, you can read books or watch documentaries about visiting Louisiana before your trip, but consider also the many virtual tours offered throughout the state as well.
Here are some sneak peeks of some of our favorite Louisiana destinations, which you can visit virtually before seeing them for yourself on your Louisiana roadtrip.
North Louisiana - Sportsman’s Paradise
The Sportsman’s Paradise region covers the northernmost portion of Louisiana, bounded by the Arkansas state line and reaching almost as far south as Natchitoches. Shreveport and Bossier City, joined by the Red River, are the metro hubs of north Louisiana, and are where you’ll find most of the virtual tour options. Fairfield Studios is offering live-streaming concerts, Sci-Port Discovery Center has special online programming for children, and primate rescue center Chimp Haven offers free and fun educational content on its website as well.
Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau has also compiled a wonderful list of virtual tour activities to get visitors and visitors-to-be excited about their next trip to northeast Louisiana.
Central Louisiana - Crossroads
The Crossroads region makes up the central portion of Louisiana, full of rolling hills and bounded by the Mississippi River and the beautiful, massive Toledo Bend Lake. The Crossroads region’s largest city, Alexandria, is home to a world-class art museum with a focus on virtual tourism. On the Alexandria Museum of Art’s Facebook page, you’ll find art tutorials made by local Louisiana artists, online tours and virtual yoga sessions.
Destination.Tours offers virtual tours of numerous Natchitoches attractions, highlighting the historical downtown commercial district and its cultural attractions. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, part of the Louisiana State Museum network, should be on any sports fan’s list of Louisiana destinations to visit (virtually or in person). Los Adaes State Historic Site and Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site tell of Louisiana’s early years as a frontier outpost, and are open for virtual tours. More than a dozen small businesses are also tour-able on this site as well.
Southwest Louisiana - Cajun Country
Cajun Country is a region rich in cultural and geographic diversity. It covers nearly all of the Louisiana coastline, stretching up to the southern-central “Cajun Prairie” area of the state near Opelousas. This is where you’re likely to hear Cajun French accents, hear the sounds of zydeco and taste the flavors of boudin, couvillion, andouille and grillades.
Start exploring on Avery Island, home to the world-famous TABASCO© hot sauce. Take a 360-degree tour of the hot sauce factory, you can tour the nearby nature preserve (started by TABASCO’s founding family) known as Jungle Gardens. Take a virtual driving tour of Jungle Gardens, available in both English and French.
Out near Lake Charles is the headquarters of one of Louisiana’s proudest exports, Bayou Rum. This Lacassine distillery makes Louisiana sugarcane rum which you can find throughout the state at bars, restaurants and stores. Watch this video for how the rum is crafted and take 360-degree tour of its gift shop and museum.
Finally, you can almost feel the wind in your hair, taste the boiled crawfish, dance to live Cajun music and march in a Mardi Gras parade with these virtual tours of the Lafayette area, thanks to this series of video tours from the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission.
Central Louisiana - Plantation Country
Plantation Country covers the central-east portion of Louisiana, where sugar plantations were once established along some of the windiest portions of the Mississippi River. It’s also where you’ll find the state’s capital, Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge is one of the state’s cultural capitals, as well. See what we mean by taking a 360-degree tour of the LSU Museum of Art, located on the campus of Louisiana State University. The permanent collection, located in the Shaw Center for the Arts, is a repository for some of the finest Louisiana art found anywhere in the world, plus an enviable collection of Chinese jade.
Y’all hungry? Louisiana is famous for its mouthwatering Creole and Cajun cuisine, and now you can learn how to make it at home. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board takes you inside the kitchens — virtually — of some of the state’s top chefs, including Baton Rouge chef Jay Ducote (of Gov’t Taco) among others.
Southeast Louisiana - Greater New Orleans
Greater New Orleans is home to its namesake city, as well as Louisiana’s Northshore (the portion of the state north of Lake Pontchartrain) and the fishing villages of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes south of New Orleans.
Being the largest metropolitan area in the state, New Orleans has hundreds of attractions that include everything from museums to aboveground cemeteries that are open to the public for tours. The National WWII Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate museum and the nation’s official museum of all things related to World War II, has a wealth of online info and virtual tours.
New Orleans, being a city below sea level, has had to come up with creative solutions for its unique geography. Case in point: aboveground cemeteries. You can see these “cities of the dead” on a virtual tour of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, or through the New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries’ website, which offers 360-degree tours of numerous cemeteries.
Continue your journey in New Orleans at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas’ virtual tour. On this 360-degree exploration you’ll get a fish-eye view of what lurks beneath the water’s surface in the Gulf of Mexico, and also explore the Great Maya Reef and the Amazon Rainforest.
The New Orleans Museum of Art is home to undisputed masterpieces, and more than 40,000 individual works. You can take a 360-degree tour of the museum known locally as NOMA’s collection.
Step outside NOMA, which sits inside New Orleans City Park, to see the Crescent City’s great outdoors. City Park is a massive natural area where you’ll find the New Orleans Botanical Gardens, Carousel Gardens (which the little kids love!), the Besthoff Sculpture Garden and multiple golf courses. Take a virtual tour of New Orleans City Park and plan out where you want to spend the afternoon, or the whole day!
Want to know what’s going on north of New Orleans? In addition to the charming downtowns of Covington and Mandeville, there’s the mysterious and scenic Honey Island Swamp. Cajun Encounters offers virtual explorations of these waterways, as does Pearl River Eco-Tours.