Side Trips from New Orleans: Places to Explore

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  • Abbeville

    Abbeville has a number of historic buildings and two pretty village squares anchoring the center of downtown. It's a good stop for pleasant walks and for oysters on the half shell, a local...

  • Abita Springs

    Tiny Abita Springs, north of Lake Pontchartrain, is notable for three things: artesian spring water, Abita beer, and an oddball institution known as the Abita Mystery House. It’s a fun day trip...

  • Atchafalaya Basin

    The Atchafalaya Basin is an eerily beautiful 800,000-plus-acre swamp wilderness, the storybook version of mystical south Louisiana wetlands. Boating enthusiasts, bird-watchers, photographers, and...

  • Avery Island

    The Louisiana coastline is dotted with "hills" or "domes" that sit atop salt mines, and Avery Island is one of these. They are covered with lush vegetation, and because they rise above the surface...

  • Breaux Bridge

    During the first full weekend in May the Crawfish Festival draws more than 100,000 visitors to this little dyed-in-the-wool Cajun town on Bayou Teche. The town has attracted a small arts community...

  • Erath

  • Eunice

    As home to some of Cajun music's most prominent proponents and establishments, tiny Eunice lays claim to some heft within the Cajun music world. Saturday is the best time to visit: spend the...

  • Grand Coteau

    The tiny village of Grand Coteau ("Big Hill") may be the most serene place in south Louisiana. Nestled against a sweeping ridge that was a natural levee of the Mississippi River centuries ago, the...

  • Jefferson Island

    Like Avery Island, Jefferson Island is actually a salt dome.

  • Lafayette

    Lafayette (pronounced lah-fay-ette), with a population of about 120,000 (the largest city in Cajun Country), is a major center of Cajun life and lore. It's an interesting and enjoyable city, with...

  • Maurice

    Maurice is considered the gateway to Vermilion Parish, and lies between Lafayette and Abbeville. Many overlook this small town, but it's worth the stop for Hebert's Specialty Meats' world-famous...

  • New Iberia

    The hub of lower Cajun Country is second only to Lafayette as an arts-and-culture draw. Grand homes of sugarcane planters dominate the residential section of Main Street, just off Bayou Teche,...

  • Opelousas

    In the heart of St. Landry Parish, Opelousas is the third-oldest town in the state—Poste de Opelousas was founded in 1720 by the French as a trading post with the Opelousas Indians. It's a...

  • Plantation Country

    A parade of plantations unfolds along the Great River Road leading west from New Orleans, and another group of fine old houses dots the landscape north of Baton Rouge, around the town of St....

  • St. Martinville

    St. Martinville, along winding Bayou Teche, is the heart of Evangeline country. It was founded in 1761 and became a refuge for Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia as well as royalists who escaped...

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