Best Things To Do In Louisiana
New Orleans always steals the limelight when it comes to exploring Louisiana, but there is so much more that makes this one of the best states to visit in the U.S. Right from historical landmarks to old breweries, and from educational museums to sprawling plantations, there is a wide range of attractions in Louisiana. But how do you choose the ones to visit for making your Louisiana trip a memorable one? So, here is a guide of the best things to do in Louisiana that you can bet on.
1. Hike along the trails of Fontainebleau State Park
Spread across 2,800 acres of land, the Fontainebleau State Park places you in the heart of Louisiana’s beautiful nature. Once a site of sugar cane plantation and brickyards, this park walks you through the old ruins on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Made of different habitats, this state park is one of the best places to visit in Louisiana for bird watchers. Hike along the trails in the park during day and camp under stars at night in Fontainebleau State Park.
2. Walk under a lush green canopy at Oak Alley Plantation
Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, you can head towards the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, Louisiana, to reach the lovely Oak Alley Plantation. Although the house dates back to 1837, U.S. Oak Alley gets its name thanks to an alley created by a double row of southern live oak trees, stretching long for 800 feet, planted way before the house was constructed. Listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the beautiful house showcases the Greek Revival style of architecture.
3. Stroll down the history lane at The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum was founded in 2000 in New Orleans and was earlier known as The National D-Day Museum. This military history museum focuses on the United States’ contribution to the Allied Victory in World War II. While the museum boasts to have a massive collection, the Sherman tank, the Enigma machine, the Norden bombsight, the spitfire fighter plane, and the dauntless dive bomber are a few of the main exhibits that visitors are interested in seeing. Receiving heavy footfall every year, the museum is gradually becoming one of the prime attractions in Louisiana.
4.Hang out at the bustling Jackson Square
Located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Jackson Square is a place that is always bustling with activity. It is a National Historic Landmark, known so for its role in the city’s history. Take a walk through Jackson Square and you will come across a variety of artists. Right from musicians to street artists, such as jugglers and magicians, await here to entertain you. While it is dotted by a number of shops and restaurants, St. Louis Cathedral, Washington Artillery Park, The Presbytère, and The Cabildo are a few of the points of interest surrounding the square.
5. Wonder at the aqualife in Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is yet another attraction situated in New Orleans and is one of the best places to visit in Louisiana with kids. Opened to the public in 1990, the aquarium effectively showcases the American aqualife through 10,000 animals, belonging to 530 different species. One of the noteworthy exhibits includes the Caribbean reef which is a long tunnel holding 132,000 US gallons and showcases sea life such as the angelfish and tarpon. The Amazon exhibit, showcasing an anaconda, macaws, freshwater stingrays, and piranhas, is no less awe-inspiring.
6. Fall in love with the Houmas House and Gardens
Boasting to be the crown jewel of Louisiana’s river road, Houmas House and Gardens is located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. A tour of the Houmas House Estate takes you back to the 1800s and showcases you the life on a sugarcane plantation. Walking through 250 years of history, you discover the architectural evolution of the mansion which has now been restored to the antebellum era. The estate has luxurious cottages for those wanting to enjoy an overnight stay and three restaurants serving delicious cuisines. Today, Houmas House is also used to host grand weddings and corporate events.
7. Send your luck on a spin at Harrah's Casino New Orleans
Harrah's Casino New Orleans is one of the best places in Louisiana to enjoy an exciting gambling experience. The casino has a gaming area of 115,000 square which is occupied by more than 2,100 slot machines and over 90 table games. It takes pride in being the only land-based casino with table games in Louisiana. There is a separate poker room, and there are a number of places to eat at Harrah’s New Orleans, ranging from fine dining restaurants to buffets.
8. Attend the joyous festival of Mardi Gras
You should attend the Mardi Gras carnival in New Orleans if you wish to witness Louisiana’s true spirit. Also known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday, these are Carnival celebrations that start on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and end on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is known as Shrove Tuesday. During the festival season, you will see the streets of New Orleans to be flooded with people wearing elaborate costumes of colored feathers and capes. A variety of parades and balls do the rounds of the city, celebrating the joy of the festival.
9. Visit the historical Louisiana State Capitol
Louisiana State Capitol is one of the most important historical landmarks of Louisiana. Located in Baton Rouge, this sky-high building serves as the seat of government for the U.S. state of Louisiana. Standing tall at 450 feet, it is the tallest capitol in the U.S. and has an observation deck on the 27th floor, overlooking Baton Rouge. Visiting this observation deck is one of the top free things to do in Louisiana as no admission fee is charged for the visitors. A gift shop and food are a couple of other amenities available here. The spectacular gardens on the estate add beauty to the majestic capitol building.
10. Visit different sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Visiting Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana is one of the best ways to be in the heart of nature. The park has a total of six sites, scattered across southern Louisiana. A few of these include - the Barataria Preserve that introduces you to Louisiana’s wetlands; the Chalmette Battlefield which gives you an insight into how the troops fought 1815’s Battle of New Orleans, and the French Quarter Visitor Center that lets you know about New Orleans history and traditions through its exhibits. The remaining sites include the Acadian Cultural Center, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center.
Besides the top things to do in Louisiana as suggested above, you can also visit the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, Laura Plantation in Vacherie, Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, and USS KIDD Veterans Museum in Baton Rouge.