12 Magnificent Hidden Gems To Discover In Louisiana This Year
If your New Year’s resolution is to see more of the Pelican State, consider exploring the many hidden gems in Louisiana. We’ve compiled some of our favorite hidden gems all around the state that will give you a whole new appreciation for just how beautiful this state of ours is. Make it your mission to explore them all!
1. January: Black Bayou NWR
Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
boasts more than 5,300 acres to explore and is a great spot to do a little birdwatching. The Visitor Center features several informational exhibits, and the boardwalk trails really give you a front-row seat to enjoy this natural area. In January, you’ll run into fewer crowds, and if you get your timing right, you may even be blessed with seeing the refuge in a light dusting of snow!
2. February: Driskill Mountain
Ok, so it's no Denali... but it is a mountain in Louisiana! Clocking in at 535 feet, it's the tallest natural summit in the state, and the hike to reach the top is only about a mile long. This hike is lovely year-round, but we picked February so you can see through the trees better, giving you a clearer view of Mount Jordan (pictured above) when you get to the top.
is on private property, but the owners have been very kind and allow the public to use the trails, so just remember to leave no trace!
3. March: Poverty Point World Heritage Site
You may have heard about
before, but few people actually make the adventure to visit it, especially locals. The site was once home to a massive community who created these giant earthworks in a cylindrical pattern along Bayou Macon. This was over 3,000 years ago! The Poverty Point culture left no written word about their day-to-day lives, so historians have had to use the artifacts that have been uncovered to try to solve the puzzle. There are many mysteries about Poverty Point, and you can learn all about them during your visit, where you can check out the artifacts in the Visitor Center as well as walk the boardwalk trail to the mounds. March is a great time of the year to do this, as the trail offers very little shade and Louisiana summers can be pretty brutal. Bring a hat!
4. April: Chimp Haven
is the largest chimpanzee sanctuary in the world, and it's here in Louisiana! More than 300 chimps call Chimp Haven home, where they can live out their golden years in true first-class form. Chimp Haven is not open to the public for the majority of the year, but they do host Discovery Days where they allow the public to come through the gates and learn all about them. The next Discovery Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 15, 2023. Check out the
to learn more.
5. May: Wild Azalea Trail
The Kisatchie National Forest contains hundreds of primitive trails that are perfect for the outdoor explorer, but the
Wild Azalea Trail
is the longest, and certainly one of the best hidden gems in Louisiana for hikers. In fact, this 24-mile trail is the longest primitive trail in Louisiana. May is a great time of the year to hike it, since that's when the trail's namesake flowers will be in full bloom. Of course, 24 miles in one day is pretty challenging... but you can pitch a tent and camp along the trail! Be sure to bring enough water, the trail's little creek that runs through it can be hit or miss depending on rainfall.
6. June: Bonnie and Clyde Roadside Marker
The Bonnie and Clyde Roadside Marker might just be one of the most hidden gems in Louisiana. Blink and you'll miss it! You can see it off to the right in the photo above. Bonnie and Clyde met their maker right here when they were ambushed by police in 1934. Not too far down the road, in Gibland, you can check out the
Bonnie and Clyde Museum
which is full of exhibits and artifacts about this infamous duo.
7. July: Sunset Swamp Tour
Swamp tours are far from a hidden gem, but have you ever thought about taking one at night? Traversing the swamps under the moonlight (and a few high-powered flashlights) will give you a whole new perspective of Louisiana's wetlands.
offers a wonderful sunset swamp tour that the whole family will enjoy.
8. August: Zip Line Over Alligators
Got the need for speed?
Gators & Friends
is one of the most unique attractions in Louisiana. In addition to being a live alligator park and a petting zoo, Gators & Friends is also an adventure park with go-karts and a very unique zip line. The seven-part zip line will take you all over the park, with the final leg soaring directly over the live alligator pond, home to more than 150 alligators.
9. September: Zip Line Through The Swamps
If you enjoyed soaring over a live alligator pond, how about the real deal?
offers a zip line course that will have you flying over the Louisiana marsh. Keep your eyes peeled and you may catch a glimpse of a deer, swamp rabbit, wild hog, or yes, even an alligator.
10. October: Chauvin Sculpture Garden
Down in Terrebonne Parish, the
Chauvin Sculpture Garden
will immediately catch your eye. The vibrant statues are the work of Kenny Hill, an artist who used to live here. He sculpted hundreds of these statues all around the property before the city evicted him. Today, the sculpture garden is maintained by Nicholls State University, and it's open daily.
11. November: Lake Claiborne State Park
November brings cooler weather that's perfect for camping. While most of the country is seeing the last bits of fall foliage, Louisiana is just getting started, and northern Louisiana state parks are perfect for leaf peeping.
Lake Claiborne State Park
is a popular warm-weather park, with many folks flocking to the white sandy beach along the lake, but fall brings an entirely new perspective to this beautiful place.
12. December: The Cabins of Horseshoe Ranch
The holiday season can be a bit chaotic, so why not treat yourself to a little rest and relaxation at
The Cabins of Horseshoe Ranch
? Located in Natchitoches on a secluded 40-acre forested site, you can kick back and relax in one of the rustic cabins and reflect on the year. And while you're in Natchitoches in December, be sure to check out the
Natchitoches Christmas Festival
, one of the biggest and brightest holiday displays in Louisiana.
How many of these hidden gems in Louisiana have you explored? Let us know in the comments!
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