Throughout Louisiana, water is abundant. Rent a boat or kayak for a great way to explore the depths of a cajun swamp, charter a boat to go deep sea fishing or climb aboard for a guided tour up the river. The majority of the state parks offer bodies of water like lakes with easily accessible boat ramps, canoe and kayak rentals and dedicated swimming areas, while others offer wooded bayous and reservoirs that are perfect for fishing and enjoying a day out on the water.
The thunder of hooves heard in Ville Platte each October would presumably warm the heart of Marcellin Garand, a former cavalry officer in Napoleon's army who is credited with founding this city in the northern reaches of modern day Cajun country. Here, his equestrian legacy is remembered during the Louisiana Tournoi, a one-of-a-kind horseback tournament, where riders wearing capes and costume armor vie to lance the most gold rings while racing along a rustic track. The event is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Cotton Festival, which honors the area's agricultural bounty with a downtown parade, a ball and visits by festival queens. Throughout the year, visitors find Cajun food and swamp pop music galore, a historic district straddling El Camino Real, the Spanish colonial-era trail connecting New Orleans to Natchitoches and easy access to Chicot State Park with its many acres of wooded, rolling hills and meandering, cypress-studded waterways.