Louisiana, the land of spicy Cajun food, peaceful bayous and boisterous Mardi Gras, is one of the best places in the United States to vacation, not only because of its many attractions, but because there are multiple things to do that won’t drain the wallet.
These five tips can help you explore this beautiful state, learn more about its culture and develop an understanding why those who live here are proud to call Louisiana home.
Take a Swamp Boat Ride
One of the best ways to learn more about the culture and heritage of Louisiana is to hop on an airboat. Airboat tours explore Louisiana’s back country through peaceful bayous filled with exotic plants and wildlife. Tour guides can explain the various native plants and you could even come up-close-and-personal with an alligator or two. There are tours designed for photographers, birders or those who just want a “behind-the-scenes” look at Louisiana.
Sip a Mint Julep at Oak Valley Plantation
There is nothing that brings the feeling of Louisiana than a cool mint julep while relaxing in southern style and hospitality. Oak Valley Plantation is a working sugarcane plantation that has been in the Stewart-Mayhew family since 1925. There are tours of the plantation available and an award-winning restaurant serves some of the finest local cuisine. Be sure to make a stop at the Spirits Bar which serves locally distilled spirits and brews. The plantation is located in Vacherie.
Visit Poverty Point World Heritage Site
Poverty Point has been called an engineering marvel and monument to ingenuity. Over 3,000 years ago, Native Americans built the monuments by hand, using baskets full of soil to create 72-foot-tall mounds in enormous concentric half-circles. Archeologists say that the reason for the mounds is still a mystery, but they are working to identify millions of artifacts found at the site. The site was abandoned around 1100 BC but occupied for a short time around 700 AD. The site is now one of only three archeological UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States. The site is located near Pioneer.
Hike, Bike or Ride Tammany Trace
Tammany Trace is Louisiana’s only rails-to-trails conversion, a 31-mile path that connects five communities. It provides a way to explore civilization and nature combined. The Trace was originally a corridor for the Illinois Central Railroad, but now consists of asphalted paths and remodeled railroad trestle bridges. The Trace is open to those out for a leisurely stroll, power walkers, cyclists and horseback riders. Points of interest include the Covington Trailhead which resembles an old-fashioned railroad station and Abita Springs Trailhead with the Abita Mystery House. The government-owned Trace can be found in Mandeville.
Get Lost in the Music of Frenchmen Street
Bourbon Street is one of the best-known streets in Louisiana, but if you want to hear the true music of the bayou, you need to take a trip to Frenchmen Street. There are no bright, neon lights, only plain wooden signs, but local establishments like Blue Nile, Spotted Cat and The Apple Barrel have hosted the authentic sounds of the streets of Louisiana forever. You may even rub shoulders with some of Louisiana’s biggest music names. Many visitors to Frenchmen Street never step into the clubs as the street is filled with artisans reading poems, showing off amazing Hula-Hoop skills and brass bands performing for anyone walking by.
These are just a few of the low-cost options available in Louisiana. The state is rich with culture, heritage and some of the finest cuisine available.
You can enjoy a fun, adventure-packed trip without breaking the budget.