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Welcome to the Bayou State

Regional Activities Throughout Louisiana. Visitors to Louisiana are in for a treat – everything from small town festivals in Alexandria to the big city attractions of New Orleans are in the Bayou State.

Shop your way through the French Market in Crescent City, fill up on some Natchitoches meat pie, or take a tour of the famed Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie – it’s all here.

Northern Louisiana is home to the family-friendly city of Shreveport, while southern Louisiana is teaming with the creole tastes and festivals of Cajun Country.

Celebrate Mardi Gras throughout Louisiana, or catch the biggest celebration of the Bayou State right on Bourbon Street and the rest of the French Quarter.

Now let’s talk about food – gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp po’ boys, and fresh crab, all ready to fill your belly.

What about music – hot jazz and moving blues spilling into the streets of the French Quarter from venues and taverns, or filling the night air from quaint blues clubs in small town Louisiana.

It’s hard to know where to begin in the Bayou State, so let’s start our tour of Louisiana.

Cajun Country
Louisiana’s Cajun Country, set in the southern part of the Bayou State, is home to incredible food, festivals and great finds.

Also referred to as Acadiana, Cajun Country represents Louisiana’s rich culture, tradition, architecture, and of course, Cajun and Creole cuisine.

Festivals in Louisiana’s Cajun Country include the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival in Morgan City, or the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette – home of the Bayou Food Festival, Festival de Musique and Louisiana Craft Fair.

Then, head to the Louisiana Fairgrounds in Donaldsonville for the Sunshine Festival and Cajun & Creole Cook-Off – a great way to fill up on southern fare in Cajun Country.

Dive into history in Donaldsonville – a suburb of Baton Rogue perfect for the history buff in the family. Spend a morning at the River Road African American Museum & Gallery – a staple of historic downtown Donaldsonville – or take a stroll through the Historic Donaldsonville Museum after a hearty lunch of creole cuisine.

For more history, head to the Cajun Coast and check out Franklin – a historic town home to the Charenton Heritage Museum and the Arlington Plantation House. In Eunice, you can spend an afternoon at the Cajun Music Hall of Fame & Museum, or explore the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center.

Cajun Country is unforgettable thanks to creole cook-offs, fascinating museums, and anticipated festivals. Take your family to Acadiana, and leave happy.

Central Louisiana
Probably the quaintest section of the Bayou State, central Louisiana has everything from historic neighborhoods filled with boutiques and eateries to haunted plantations ready to scare you silly. Thanks to cities like Alexandria and Natchitoches, visitors of central Louisiana are met with unforgettable festivals, food, and fun.

History buffs need travel to Natchitoches – a stop on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail – for a stroll through the Oakland Plantation, or the popular Magnolia Plantation Complex.

After a tour of Louisiana’s vast history, be sure to try the famed Natchitoches meat pie – one of the official state foods – especially at the Meat Pie Festival in September. For even more fun in central Louisiana, head to Alexandria – just 60 miles southeast of Natchitoches.

Alexandria – the geographical center of Louisiana, or the “bellybutton” – is home to festivals like Cenlabration, and of course, it’s own version of Mardi Gras. Head to Coliseum Boulevard during Mardi Gras season for the Krewe of Provine Parade on Fat Tuesday, or celebrate central Louisiana’s heritage during Cenlabration on Labor Day weekend

Get in some more heritage at the Louisiana History Museum in downtown Alexandria, or stroll through the Alexandria Museum of Art.

Greater New Orleans
From Mardi Gras to baseball games with the Zephyrs, New Orleans is a city enjoyed by many. Spend your days strolling the streets of the French Quarter while filling up on fresh Creole fare, and your nights enjoying libations on Bourbon Street and signing up for ghost tours. Sports, spice, and stirring nightlife – the Big Easy has it all.

Sports fans – head to the Smoothie King Arena for an electrifying basketball game with NBA’s Pelicans, or visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for some football with NFL’s Saints.

After the game, take a drive through the Garden District for a look at some of New Orleans’ most beautiful homes near Tulane University. Then make your way to the French Quarter for the famed Pat O’Brien’s piano bar, or grab a drink and join in on some karaoke at the Cat’s Meow.

New Orleans wouldn’t be the same without it’s many festivals. Of course the legendary Mardi Gras celebration is a staple of Crescent City’s festive calendar, as is the Satchmo Summerfest and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. So pack up and head to the Big Easy for gumbo and good times.

Northern Louisiana
A scenic section of the Bayou State, northern Louisiana is an incredible escape featuring festivals, sports and shopping. Cities like Shreveport and Monroe provide urban attractions like museums and restaurants, while small towns like Winnfield are home to outdoor activities like fishing the Saline Bayou, or the Louisiana Forest Festival.

Spend a few days in Shreveport for the Spirit of the Red River cruise tour, Gators & Friends Zoo, and Riverwalk Park. Then, check the calendar for Shreveport’s anticipated annual events like the Highland Jazz & Blues Festival, Louisiana Film Festival, and the State Fair of Louisiana.

Shreveport comes alive during Mardi Gras with its own festivities, while May brings the crawfish celebration dubbed the Mudbug Madness to the Shreveport streets.

For more celebrations, check out Deltafest in Monroe – less than two hours east of Shreveport along the African American Heritage Trail. There’s plenty to do in this northern Louisiana town, like a day at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo, or shooting 18 at the Chennault Golf Course.

Take the family to the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, or get some shopping done at the Pecanland Mall – the largest shopping mall in northern Louisiana. Festivals, shopping and kid-friendly finds – that’s a getaway in northern Louisiana.

Plantation Country
The best antebellum adventure is in Louisiana’s own Plantation Country. A section of the Bayou State devoted to historic homes and even haunted mansions, Plantation Country offers everything from tours to sleepovers, history lessons to anticipated celebrations.

Scattered throughout southern Louisiana, historic plantation homes are available for tours of antebellum architecture and breathtaking gardens. Visit the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie – known as the Grand Dame of the Great River Road – or head to the Ormond Plantation in Destrehan for a look at this creole estate from 1789.

Open daily, the San Francisco Plantation on the Mississippi River in Garyville welcomes visitors to explore this former sugar plantation built in 1854. Lastly, history buffs can get their fill in Vacherie at Laura: A Creole Plantation – where a 70-minute tour of the estate’s vast creole background is given daily.

Where there are plantations there are celebrations. Catch the Louisiana Catfish Festival in Des Allemands each summer for live music and foot racing – not to mention a catfish-eating contest.

See a Juneteenth Celebration done right in St. James, or head to Luling for the Alligator Festival during the fall. Fill up at the Andouille Festival in LaPlace in early October, check out the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair, or bundle up and head to the Oak Alley Plantation’s Annual Christmas Bonfire Party during the holiday season.

Parties and plantations – never a dull moment in Louisiana’s Plantation Country.