January 28 is National Plan for Vacation Day and the Louisiana Office of Tourism has partnered with Project Time Off to encourage Americans to take steps at the beginning of each year to plan their vacations. Planning your vacations in advance helps your employer and your coworkers while ensuring you won't leave unused vacation time at the end of 2020. And if you're an employer—remind your employees to take their vacations! This reduces burnout and makes for a more focused and happier workforce, consequently saving company time and money.
Once you've planned for when, the next step is deciding where. Louisiana offers an incredible array of diverse experiences in a small area—it’s more bang for your buck AND your sense of adventure! Whether you’re traveling on your own, with your partner or with the whole family, here are eight ways to maximize your vacation time and make some memories in #OnlyLouisiana.
1. Go back in time
Design your own fun field trip at a museum, plantation or historical site. Try the globally-recognized National WWII Museum in New Orleans or the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. Or, take a tour of one of the most intact Creole cotton plantations in the United States – Oakland Plantation – or make a stop on the African-American Heritage Trail. Many museums are free on select days, so plan your trip accordingly.
2. Take the long way
In Louisiana, just a half-tank of gas can change your scenery from fragrant pine forests to lush rolling hills to moss-adorned cypress trees. Let Robert Frost inspire you and take the road less-traveled with Louisiana’s Scenic Byways and these road trip ideas.
3. Stress-free festing
Many of Louisiana’s 400-plus festivals begin on the Thursday or Friday ahead of the more crowded weekend. Festival seasons peak in the fall and the spring and many offer free entry. Ruston’s Peach Festival, Houma’s Rougarou Fest and New Orleans’ Fried Chicken Fest are a few local favorites.
4. Indulge all-day
Start your day off with some beignets from Café du Monde or scope out a restaurant that offers a local favorite – zydeco breakfast. For lunch, go ahead and treat yourself to some crawfish étouffée, fried oysters or boudin (or all three)—you can use your free afternoon to happily doze away your food coma. Or visit one of the many farmers’ markets for fresh, local produce. If you’re ready to go back for another round, get dinner at one of the plentiful restaurants on Louisiana’s Culinary Trails.
5. Dust off your putter
The Audubon Golf Trail includes 18 courses across the state designed by golf masters including Arnold Palmer, David Toms and Pete Dye. Golf mid-week when the fairways are less crowded and you can save on greens fees.
6. The perfect cast
If you prefer fishing poles to golf clubs, Louisiana fishing is among the best in the world and Bassmaster has twice named Toledo Bend Reservoir the best in the nation. You can’t go wrong anywhere along the Gulf Coast or in the thousands of Louisiana lakes, rivers and bayous.
7. Dance the weeknight away
Zydeco or hip hop, jazz or Cajun, feel free to catch a late show when you don’t have to worry about bedtime. Throughout the state, venues are known to host local bands throughout the week. Study Louisiana’s unique sounds and check out the state’s top live music venues to get your hands clapping and toes tapping.
8. Any hour can be your happy hour
Follow the Louisiana Brewery Trail and find your favorite pint. Louisiana has breweries, wineries and distilleries that offer tastings and live music events worth checking out. At restaurants, order local beers, wines, or spirits from these establishments to go with your day-off meals–you’re on vacation after all!