Top Ten Things to Do in Acadia Parish
From antiques and candy shops to historic opera houses and Cajun food, get ready to explore a simpler side of Louisiana.
Acadia Parish, home to Crowley, Rayne, Iota, Church Point and other towns located directly between Lake Charles and Lafayette, will greet each visitor with historic charm and deep culture still expressed via food, music and festivals. Check these places off your list and see what else you can discover in Acadia Parish.
This driving trail is part of the Louisiana Trails & Byways initiative and the Zydeco Cajun Prairie Byway is among the top trails for music lovers and those looking for a cultural experience unlike any other. This byways jonts through neighboring parishes however stop in Crowley, home to the Historic Rice Theatre and Rice Interpretive Center, an auto museum and the J.D. Miller Music Museum. The loop ends in Church Point, where you can see Le Vieux Presbytere (Old Rectory), which dates to 1887.
2. Antique Stores
The town of Rayne is known as the Frog Capital of Louisiana, home to one of the state’s best fests (the Rayne Frog Festival, taking place May 10-12, 2018). Rayne is also a laid-back, traditional Louisiana town with awesome, off-the-beaten-path antique shops. Worthmore’s 5-10-25 Cent Store, built in 1936 and hardly changed since, is a trove of memorabilia and vintage goods. Antiques on the Avenue has souvenirs from yesteryear that you’ll want to take home from your travels. Art Deco objects, vintage cameras and furnishings — you name it. Not only that, but Antiques on the Avenue also sells locally made items including jewelry. Stop by and see what’s in store.
3. Golf Courses
Check out golfing, Cajun style, at Bayou Bend Golf & Health Club. This challenging 18-hole, par-71 course offers visitors a chance to see the outdoors and more, with an on-site fitness center, pool, tennis court, restaurant and bar. Or head over to Cajun Pine Golf Club for a fun round or two at this 9-hole golf course.
Louisiana’s year-round warm weather means that any season is good for hand-dipped ice cream from Candyland Cottage. This small-town business has just about everything you’d need to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Fifty-plus flavors of jelly beans, handmade fudge, saltwater taffy, truffles, ice cream and vintage candies that you’ll remember from when you were a kid, make this a favorite stop for families.
How many cities can claim to have their city hall inside a former car dealership? Crowley can. The city government is headquartered within a former Ford Motor Company dealership dating back decades, and is photo-worthy in itself. Inside the building, in addition to Crowley City Hall, you’ll find no fewer than four attractions, including the Rice Interpretive Center, the History of Crowley Museum, the J.D. Miller Music Recording Studio and the Ford Automotive Museum.
No trip to Acadia Parish would be complete without dining at its Cajun restaurants. Cajun Claws ranks among the best. The Duson restaurant (with other locations in Rayne and Breaux Bridge) specializes in boiled crawfish, though boiled crabs and shrimp are also on the menu along with other Cajun seafood dishes. If you’re looking to spice up your trip, this is one place you won’t want to miss.
The Grand Opera House of the South certainly lives up to its name. The immaculately restored performance hall, built in 1901 from Louisiana cypress, pine and oak, once welcomed local Crowley residents as well as visitors passing through town by train. The attention to detail given to the Grand Opera House’s architecture makes it a destination unto itself, down to the hand-painted angel medallions that look down upon guests. Performances range from Louisiana Music Hall of Fame artists and Grammy winning Cajun and zydeco musicians, to family-oriented magical and theatrical performances. Behind-the-scenes tours are offered; check the Grand Opera House’s website for details. Read more about the Grand Opera House of the South.
The town of Crowley is so deeply immersed in the rice industry that it even has a theater named after the grain. The Historic Rice Theatre’s gorgeous Art Deco marquee, ringed with neon lights, is one of the town’s most photo-worthy stops. The venue hosts a wide variety of country, zydeco, Cajun and gospel acts and is open for tours by appointment.
The Moutons are Cajun music royalty. The family began hand-building accordions in 1960 and haven’t stopped since, and at Mouton Accordions & Music, you can touch, feel and play their handicrafts yourself.
The historic house museum known as Le Vieux Presbytere’s story dates to 1883, when a new Roman Catholic parish was established in Church Point. The parish’s 27-year-old priest, arriving from France, built this presbytere (the name for a pastoral home) in 1887. This house is authentically French Creole. It was constructed of bousillage, the name given to a mixture of dried mud, Spanish moss and animal hair that formed the walls of homes from this period. Very few bousillage homes exist today in well-preserved condition. La Vieux Presbytere, open to the public for tours, is one of them.
BONUS! Festivals in Acadia Parish
Mardi Gras is already legendary, but have you experienced a Cajun Courir De Gras? These Cajun Mardi Gras traditions bring a whole new perspective to Mardi Gras. Get the full scoop on Cajun Mardi Gras.
And this spring, head to Rayne, the Frog Capital of Louisiana, for their annual Frog Festival packed with live music, food and drink, signature frog racing and jumping contests, Arts & Crafts show, Frog Cookoff, Frog Eating contest, Dance contest, Accordian contest, and the Grand Parade. In the fall, Crowley hosts the annual Rice Festival packed with events, live music, arts and crafts, carnival rides and more.
So pack up the bags and head to Acadia Parish! Learn even more about the attractions, shopping, dining and places to stay.