Celebrate Atchafalaya Month This October

Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area.

Small Louisiana: Feed Your Soul logo
The official Louisiana Travel blogging team.
Swamp Tour

McGees Swamp Tours

Rougarou Festival in Louisiana

Rougarou Festival in Houma Louisiana

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo

If you drive down I-10 through south-central Louisiana, you’ll notice big brightly painted highway signs for the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. The American-Indian word Atchafalaya (Think of a sneeze: uh-CHA-fuh-LIE-uh) means “long river,” after the Atchafalaya River, and the national heritage area includes 14 parishes that surround or are near it. This includes the Atchafalaya Basin, known as a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike for swamp excursions, crawfishing and Louisiana’s famous Cajun French culture.

But what you may not know is that the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area is home to a diverse population of European, African, Caribbean and Native-American descent. It is among the most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions in the U.S. and offers a myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities such as paddling, biking, birding, camping, hunting and fishing. It’s also a mecca for landscape and wildlife photography thanks to its bottomland hardwood forests, bayous, backwater lakes and swamps filled with Spanish-moss-covered baldcypress trees. Each bend in the river tells a story, making the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area an ever-changing landscape and earning it the nickname America's Foreign Country - an intriguing moniker that makes you want to explore every square inch of it!

October, designated annually as Atchafalaya Month in Louisiana, is the perfect time to visit the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. The weather is cooler and Louisiana’s official state tree, the baldcypress, turns rustic shades of brown and orange (or what we like to call “swamp chic”). The days are also shorter, so you don’t have to get up too early or stay out too late to catch majestic Louisiana sunsets and sunrises. And the pesky mosquitoes that are a burden to outdoor activities in the summer become scarce with the lower temperatures. Attending festivals during the fall is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Savor warm gumbo or étoufée, dance the two-step and learn the secrets to our local joie de vivre.

How to Celebrate:

Atchafalaya Nightmares in Henderson - Every weekend in October.

Rougarou Fest in Houma - Throughout October.

Cajun Creole Cookers in St. Martinville - October 3. 

Baton Rouge Arts Market - October 3.  

Virtual SugarFest - October 3-4.

Acadian Memorial Heritage Festival in St. Martinville - October 6.   

Table Francais at Tante Marie’s in Breaux Bridge - October 6, 13, 20, 27.

Cycle Zydeco in St. Landry Parish - October 7-11.  

Virtual Festivals Acadiens et Creoles - October 9-11.

Semi-Annual Antique Fair & Yard Sale in Washington - October 9-11.   

Into the Light 5K in Marksville - October 10.

Swamp Pop Music Festival in Gonzales - October 10-11.

Old Time Jam in Port Allen - October 11.

St. Mark Light & Lane Festival in Gonzales - October 16-18.

Mid City Makers Market in Baton Rouge - October 17.

Shake Your Trail Feather in Breaux Bridge - October 17.


*Events are subject to change without notice.