From rookeries to river basins, Louisiana has some of the most beautiful scenery of all the states. We’ve gathered a short list of just some of the natural wonders hiding in plain sight that you should check out. While you can visit most of these places without leaving your car, walking around will get you the full experience.
1. Avery Island
Best known for Tabasco sauce, but before the Avery family settled there in the 1830s, Native Americans had been using the natural resources from the salt dome on the island for years. The Indians would boil down the spring water to extract the salt which they would then trade to other tribes. Today, you can take a tour of Tabasco and learn the history of that famous red bottle, and visit the Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre garden and bird sanctuary.
2. Atchafalaya Basin
At almost one million acres, the Atchafalaya Basin is the nation's largest river swamp, stretching through eight parishes. Largely untouched by man, it's a massive ecosystem with hundreds of fish, birds, gators, and other wildlife that all call the Atchafalaya home. It's also a massive source of crawfish, with over 20 million pounds harvested every year.
3. Seven Sisters Oak Tree
The Seven Sisters Oak tree is the largest certified oak tree in the country. The trunk clocks in at almost 40 feet in circumference, and it's estimated to be up to 1,500 years old! It got its name by a previous owner, Carole Hendry Doby, who was one of seven sisters. The tree is located on private property in Mandeville, but you can still see it from the street.
4. Barataria Preserve
23,000 acres of bayous, swamps, and marshes to explore with over 200 species of birds and other wildlife known to inhabit the area. Boardwalk trails wind through the preserve, giving you a glimpse of nature you wouldn't be able to explore otherwise. Located at 6588 Barataria Blvd Marrero, LA 70072
5. Kisatchie National Forest
The only National Forest in Louisiana, Kisatchie is about 604,000 acres and spans multiple parishes. There are several trails for backpackers and hiking, ranging from half a mile up to 30 miles so there's a trail for everyone. The forest is also perfect for bird watching, canoeing, camping, fishing, hunting, and swimming.
6. Lake Martin
Just outside of Breaux Bridge you'll find Lake Martin, an ecosystem full of native flora and fauna. Drive down Rookery Road and you'll see the lake's natural rookery, where thousands of birds migrate to each year. Lake Martin is also home to a variety of alligators, snakes, turtles, frogs, and nutria. Keep an eye peeled while driving down Rookery Road and you're sure to see some of the wildlife that call the area home.
7. Poverty Point
Up in the northeast part of Louisiana stands one of the largest and complex pieces of Louisianian history. Native American ceremonial mounds built between 1700 and 700 B.C, and It's considered the largest Native American structure in the western hemisphere. There's still a lot of mystery surrounding the site, but archeologists are constantly finding new clues about its inhabitants. What we do know is that the site was a ceremonial center home to hundreds, maybe thousands of people. Artifacts found on the site suggest that the site was the center of a trading network, unparalleled by anything else in North American at the time. The site is both a State Historic Site and a National Monument, and it's well worth a visit. Poverty Point is located at 6859 La. Hwy. 577, Pioneer, La. 71266