The new year often brings about feelings of exploration, and the yearning to try new things. Why not combine the two and have your next year filled with memorable adventures? We’ve got some incredible attractions peppered throughout southeastern Louisiana that you’ll want to mark on your calendars. All of these attractions are within a 3-hour driving distance, making them the perfect day trip.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
January: Walk or bike down the Tammany Trace
The Tammany Trace is Louisiana’s only rail-to-trail conversion, and boy is it a stunner. The 30+ mile trail will take you through five towns in St. Tammany Parish: Abita Springs, Covington, Mandeville, Slidell, and Lacombe. You can start or stop your journey at any of the trailheads, and the paved trail makes it great for bikers and rollerbladers, too. There’s also an equestrian trail that runs parallel to some parts of the trail, so you can bring along your gentle giant for an epic adventure through St. Tammany Parish.
February: Explore Louisiana’s Bayou Country
Houma is just about a 90 minute drive from the city and is ideal for anyone looking for a change of scenery. On February 8th, the annual Houma Cast Iron Cookoff returns to downtown Houma, and you won’t want to miss it. Over 40 teams will be out cooking some of their best dishes in their cast iron cookware, and for just $5 general admission, you can taste everything and cast your vote for your favorite. There will be live music, games, booze, and more, so be sure to mark your calendars.
March: Explore Baton Rouge and all our state’s capital has to offer
Baton Rouge truly features something for everyone. Downtown Baton Rouge is easily walkable and is peppered with dozens of delicious restaurants, historic buildings, and unique architecture. Take a tour of the Old State Capitol, climb aboard the USS Kidd, or just walk along the river and take in the beautiful views of the Mighty Mississippi.
April: Get lost in the swamps and bayous of Barataria Preserve
Barataria Preserve is less than an hour away from New Orleans, but you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world. The boardwalk and gravel trails will lead you on an emerald adventure through the preserve’s 30,000 acres of swamps, bayous, and forests. April is a great time of year to hit the trails at Barataria, because it’s usually not that hot, the bugs are at bay, and you’ll still have an opportunity to see tons of wildlife including alligators, turtles, snakes, and birds.
May: Sample endless jambalaya at the annual Jambalaya Festival in Gonzales
Gonzales is known as the “Jambalaya Capital of the World” and for good reason. The Jambalaya Festival returns for it’s 53rd year May 22-24, 2020, and this year promises to be their best one yet. The 3-day festival is jam-packed with local music, a carnival, cooking demonstrations, a car show, and of course, endless amounts of jambalaya made by some of the best chefs in the state.
June: Take a scenic drive down historic River Road
The Greater River Road area between New Orleans and Louisiana is peppered with history and scenic views. The 70-mile stretch is home to several historic plantations, like the Destrehan Plantation, San Francisco Plantation, Laura Plantation, Houmas House Plantation, and perhaps the most iconic, Oak Alley Plantation. For a picture-perfect day, stop off at any of these plantations along your drive to learn more about each of these plantations, take a tour, and maybe eat some lunch.
July: Experience the Tarpon Rodeo at Grand Isle
Every year, thousands of people head down Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island to take part in our nation’s oldest fishing tournament, the International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. The dates for 2020 are July 23-25th, and even if you’re not a fisherman, it’s worth the road trip. Grand Isle also features several miles of beautiful beaches you can sink your toes into, as well as a state park that’s perfect for nature walks and birdwatching.
August: Visit the most haunted plantation in the country in St. Francisville
St. Francisville is a sleepy little down just north of Baton Rouge with a historic plantation that might just make you sleep with the lights on after your visit. The Myrtles Plantation is known for being the most haunted homes in the United States, and if you dare, you can rent a room and spend the night.
September: Get spicy on Avery Island
Home to Tabasco Hot Sauce, Avery Island is a picturesque little salt dome in Iberia Parish. Take a tour of the Tabasco factory to learn how this iconic little bottle gets made, and then be sure to pop into the restaurant where you can feast on delicious Cajun and Creole dishes, spiced up with that famous little bottle. Afterwards, take a casual stroll through the Jungle Gardens, an expansive botanical garden, and be sure to check out Bird City, home to countless egrets, herons, and other migratory birds.
October: Watch a mesmerizing sunset at Cypremort Point State Park
Cypremort Point State Park is about a 2.5-hour drive away, but the sunset views will make it all worth it. This tiny but mighty state park is nestled against the Vermilion Bay, making it an ideal spot for anyone looking to fish either from their own boat or the pier. After you’ve reeled in your catches for the day, take a seat on the little stretch of beach and be prepared to watch one of the most mesmerizing sunsets of your life.
November: Hit the trails of Tunica Hills
Tunica Hills WMA is a nature lover’s paradise. The wildlife area offers horseback riding, hiking, and biking trails that will lead you on an incredible journey. The rolling hills and varied terrain will have you second guessing if you’re still in Louisiana, and if you do cross over to Mississippi, you’ll be treated to a rare site: a waterfall! The Clark Creek Natural Area isn’t far from Tunica Hills, and the opportunity to see the Clark Creek Waterfall is worth the extra effort.
December: Shop till you drop at the Denham Springs Antique Village
As December rolls around, you’ll probably be in holiday shopping mode, and the Denham Springs Antique Village is just the spot to get all of your holiday shopping done. Located in the heart of Denham Springs on North Range Avenue, the village features dozens of antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
Address: Avery Island, LA, USA Address: 306 Beach Ln, Cypremort Point, LA 70538, USA Address: Grand Isle, LA, USA Address: Tammany Trace Bike Trail, Mandeville, LA 70448, USA Address: 7747 US-61, St Francisville, LA 70775, USA Address: Houma, LA, USA Address: Baton Rouge, LA, USA Address: River Rd, New Orleans, LA 70131, USA Address: 100-230 N Range Ave, Denham Springs, LA 70726, USA Address: 12112-12238, Parker Rd, St Francisville, LA 70775, USA Address: 6588 Barataria Blvd, Marrero, LA 70072, USA Address: Gonzales, LA 70737, USA