Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Louisiana

North America

By Meagan Drillinger

Louisiana, known as the Pelican State, is a culturally rich and diverse destination that offers a wide range of attractions for visitors. From the vibrant city of New Orleans to the scenic landscapes of Cajun Country, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this southern state. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or a nature enthusiast, Louisiana has it all.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Louisiana is the French Quarter in New Orleans. This historic neighborhood is famous for its lively music scene, vibrant nightlife, and unique architecture. Visitors can explore the streets filled with colorful buildings, enjoy live jazz music, and indulge in delicious Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Another must-visit destination in Louisiana is the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge. This museum showcases the state’s rich history and culture through interactive exhibits and displays. Visitors can learn about Louisiana’s diverse heritage, from the Native American tribes that once inhabited the land to the impact of the French and Spanish colonial periods.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the scenic swamps and bayous of Louisiana. The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve offers visitors a chance to explore the unique ecosystems of the state, including marshes, forests, and wetlands. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, Louisiana has it all. Plan a trip to this vibrant state and discover its top-rated tourist attractions.

Best Places to Visit in Louisiana

If you’re planning a trip to Louisiana, make sure to include these top destinations on your itinerary:

Place Description
New Orleans Known for its vibrant music scene, delicious cuisine, and rich history, New Orleans is a must-visit city in Louisiana. Explore the colorful French Quarter, visit famous jazz clubs, take a steamboat ride on the Mississippi River, and indulge in Creole and Cajun dishes.
Lafayette Located in the heart of Cajun country, Lafayette offers a unique cultural experience. Immerse yourself in Zydeco and Cajun music, explore Acadian Village to learn about the Acadian culture, and try authentic gumbo and boudin.
Baton Rouge As the capital city of Louisiana, Baton Rouge has a lot to offer. Visit the impressive Louisiana State Capitol building, explore the vibrant arts scene at the Shaw Center for the Arts, and take a stroll along the Mississippi Riverfront.
Shreveport Known for its lively s and vibrant entertainment, Shreveport is a popular destination in Louisiana. Try your luck at the s, catch a live performance at one of the theaters, and explore the scenic gardens of the American Rose Center.
Natchitoches Famous for its charming historic district, Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory. Explore the picturesque streets lined with historic homes, visit the Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, and catch the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival.

These are just a few of the best places to visit in Louisiana. Whether you’re interested in history, music, or delicious food, Louisiana has something for everyone. Plan your trip and get ready to experience the unique culture and charm of this beautiful state.

French Quarter in New Orleans

The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is one of the oldest and most iconic neighborhoods in New Orleans. With its unique blend of French, Spanish, and Creole architecture, vibrant music scene, and delicious cuisine, the French Quarter offers a captivating experience for visitors.

One of the highlights of the French Quarter is its historic streets, such as the famous Bourbon Street. Lined with bars, restaurants, and live music venues, Bourbon Street is the heart of the Quarter’s nightlife. It comes alive at night with revelers enjoying the lively atmosphere and the sounds of jazz and blues.

Another must-visit attraction in the French Quarter is Jackson Square. This historic park is surrounded by iconic landmarks, including the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. Jackson Square is a gathering place for artists, street performers, and fortune tellers, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the Quarter.

The French Market is another popular spot in the French Quarter. It is one of the oldest markets in the country, dating back to the late 18th century. Visitors can explore a variety of shops selling local goods, from fresh produce to handmade crafts. The market is also home to numerous eateries serving classic New Orleans dishes like jambalaya and beignets.

No visit to the French Quarter would be complete without a stop at the legendary Café du Monde. Famous for its beignets, a type of French doughnut, and chicory-flavored café au lait, Café du Monde is a beloved institution in New Orleans. It has been serving locals and tourists alike since 1862 and is a must-visit for any food lover.

Overall, the French Quarter in New Orleans offers a unique and lively atmosphere that showcases the city’s rich history, culture, and vibrant spirit. Whether you’re exploring its historic streets, enjoying the nightlife, or indulging in delicious cuisine, the French Quarter is a must-see destination in Louisiana.

Oak Alley Plantation

Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, Oak Alley Plantation is a historic antebellum mansion in Vacherie, Louisiana. This iconic plantation is known for its stunning row of 300-year-old oak trees that line the entrance, creating a captivating visual display.

Constructed in 1839, Oak Alley Plantation is a remarkable example of Greek Revival architecture. The mansion features a grand front porch with 28 columns, each measuring 24 feet tall. Visitors can explore the beautifully preserved interior, which showcases period furnishings and artwork, providing a glimpse into the lives of the plantation’s former residents.

In addition to the mansion, Oak Alley Plantation offers a variety of experiences for visitors. Guided tours provide insight into the history of the plantation and the daily lives of its residents. The grounds feature lush gardens, including a famous alley of live oaks, which offers a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls and photo opportunities.

Attraction Description
Slavery at Oak Alley Exhibit This exhibit explores the lives of the enslaved individuals who worked on the plantation and their contributions to the site’s history.
Blacksmith Shop Visitors can learn about the plantation’s blacksmithing traditions through demonstrations and exhibits showcasing traditional tools and techniques.
Cooking Demonstrations Experience the flavors of traditional Louisiana cuisine with live cooking demonstrations that highlight the plantation’s culinary heritage.
Gift Shop The plantation’s gift shop offers a wide selection of souvenirs, books, and locally made crafts.

Oak Alley Plantation is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and those interested in experiencing the grandeur of the Old South. A visit to this iconic plantation provides a valuable opportunity to learn about the complex history and culture of Louisiana during the antebellum era.

Avery Island

Avery Island is a unique destination that offers visitors a range of attractions and activities. Located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, this beautiful island is known for its diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and the production of Tabasco sauce.

One of the most popular attractions on Avery Island is the Tabasco Factory and Museum. Visitors can learn about the history of Tabasco sauce, see the production process in action, and even sample some of the spicy condiment. The museum also features exhibits on the Avery family, who have lived on the island for generations.

Avery Island is also home to the Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre botanical garden that showcases the island’s natural beauty. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and admire the wide variety of plants and flowers, including azaleas, camellias, and bamboo. The gardens are also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including alligators, deer, and countless species of birds.

For those looking for outdoor adventure, Avery Island offers a range of activities. Visitors can explore the island’s extensive network of walking trails, go bird watching in the marshes, or even try their hand at fishing in the island’s ponds. The island is also a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing, with its calm waters and picturesque views.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or just looking for a unique Southern experience, Avery Island is a must-visit destination in Louisiana. With its natural beauty, rich history, and delicious hot sauce, it’s no wonder this island attracts visitors from around the world.

Louisiana State Museum

The Louisiana State Museum is a must-visit attraction for history and culture enthusiasts. Located in the heart of New Orleans, the museum showcases the rich and diverse heritage of Louisiana.

The museum is housed in several historic buildings, including the Presbytère, Cabildo, and the Arsenal. Each building highlights different aspects of Louisiana’s history. The Presbytère focuses on the history of Mardi Gras and hurricane disasters, while the Cabildo exhibits artifacts and documents from the colonial period.

One of the museum’s highlights is its extensive collection of artifacts related to the history of Louisiana. Visitors can explore exhibits that cover topics such as the Cajun and Creole cultures, the Civil War, and the impact of hurricanes on the region.

The Louisiana State Museum also features interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations that provide a deeper understanding of the state’s history. Visitors can take part in hands-on activities, watch historical films, and listen to audio recordings that bring the past to life.

Besides its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that cover a wide range of topics, from music and art to science and technology. These rotating exhibits offer visitors a chance to explore different aspects of Louisiana’s cultural and historical heritage.

In addition to its exhibits, the Louisiana State Museum organizes various educational programs, workshops, and events throughout the year. Visitors can participate in guided tours, workshops on traditional crafts, and lectures by eminent historians.

Overall, the Louisiana State Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history, culture, and heritage of Louisiana. With its diverse range of exhibits and interactive displays, the museum offers visitors a fascinating and immersive experience that highlights the unique spirit of this vibrant southern state.

Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge

The Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is a sprawling ecological reserve located in Louisiana. Spanning over 15,000 acres, it is one of the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forests in the United States. The refuge was established in 1984 and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This wildlife refuge is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. Visitors can explore the refuge on various hiking trails, boardwalks, and waterways, allowing them to get up close and personal with the natural beauty of Louisiana.

The Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is known for its iconic cypress-tupelo swamps, which are filled with towering trees draped in Spanish moss. These swamps provide habitats for a variety of bird species, including herons, egrets, wood ducks, and bald eagles. Visitors may also spot alligators, otters, deer, and other mammals during their visit.

For those interested in birdwatching, the refuge offers prime opportunities to see migratory birds in their natural habitat. The diverse habitat attracts a wide range of bird species throughout the year, with peak birdwatching seasons in the spring and fall.

In addition to the abundant wildlife, the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge also offers recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and hunting. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck in the various waterways, where they may catch bass, catfish, and sunfish. Hunters can enjoy hunting opportunities for deer, squirrel, turkey, and waterfowl during designated seasons.

Overall, the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystem, stunning scenery, and recreational activities, it offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, spanning 24 miles (38.4 kilometers) across Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. This iconic engineering marvel is a must-visit attraction for both locals and tourists alike.

The Causeway was officially opened to the public in 1956 and has since become an integral part of Louisiana’s transportation network. It consists of two parallel bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic, with a total of more than 42,000 pilings supporting the structure.

Driving across the Causeway offers stunning views of the lake, with its serene waters and beautiful sunsets. It’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, and other water-related activities.

In addition to its practical use as a transportation route, the Causeway also serves as a tourist attraction. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history and construction of the bridge, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride along the pedestrian path.

For those who prefer a more relaxing experience, there are several picnic areas and parks along the Causeway where you can stop and enjoy the scenery. Many people also visit the nearby Fontainebleau State Park, which offers camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Location New Orleans, Louisiana
Length 24 miles (38.4 kilometers)
Construction 1954-1956
Interesting Fact The Causeway was originally built with a toll booth at the southbound entrance, but the toll was removed in 1999.

Whether you’re interested in transportation history, natural beauty, or simply enjoying a scenic drive, a visit to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is a must when in Louisiana. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this impressive feat of engineering and take in the stunning views of one of Louisiana’s most beautiful natural landmarks.

Voodoo and Cemetery Tours in New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its rich history and unique culture, and one of the most fascinating aspects of that culture is the practice of Voodoo. If you’re interested in learning more about this mysterious religion, a Voodoo tour is a must-do when visiting the city.

During a Voodoo tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit historic Voodoo temples and learn about the rituals and beliefs of this ancient religion. Knowledgeable guides will explain the significance of artifacts and symbols, and you may even have the chance to witness a Voodoo ceremony or ritual.

In addition to Voodoo, New Orleans is famous for its above-ground cemeteries, known as “Cities of the Dead.” These unique burial grounds are a testament to the city’s French and Spanish heritage. The tombs and mausoleums are often ornate and elaborate, showcasing intricate architecture and design.

Cemetery tours allow visitors to explore these fascinating burial grounds and learn about the city’s burial practices and traditions. Knowledgeable guides will share stories about notable residents who are buried in these cemeteries, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of New Orleans’ rich history.

For those seeking a truly unique and immersive experience, some tours even combine Voodoo and cemetery visits. These tours offer a comprehensive look at both aspects of New Orleans’ cultural heritage, providing a deeper understanding of the city’s history and traditions.

Whether you’re interested in Voodoo, cemeteries, or both, a tour is the perfect way to explore these fascinating aspects of New Orleans’ culture. Make sure to include a Voodoo tour or cemetery tour in your itinerary to truly experience the magic and mystique of the Big Easy.

Tabasco Factory

The Tabasco Factory, located on Avery Island, Louisiana, is a must-visit attraction for hot sauce enthusiasts. This historic factory has been producing the world-famous Tabasco sauce since 1868, making it one of the oldest hot sauce brands in existence.

Visitors to the Tabasco Factory can take a guided tour of the production facilities to learn about the sauce making process. The tour includes a visit to the pepper greenhouse, where the famous Tabasco peppers are grown, as well as the blending and bottling areas where the sauce is made.

One of the highlights of the tour is the chance to see the barrel aging process, which gives Tabasco sauce its distinct flavor. The sauce is aged for up to three years in oak barrels, allowing the flavors to develop and mellow over time.

After the tour, visitors can browse the Tabasco Country Store, where they can purchase a wide range of Tabasco products, including exclusive sauces and merchandise. The store also features a tasting bar, where visitors can sample different varieties of Tabasco sauce.

In addition to the factory tour, the Avery Island area offers other attractions to explore. Visitors can visit the Jungle Gardens, a beautiful botanical garden with exotic plants and wildlife, or take a tour of the Bird City, a sanctuary for different species of birds.

Whether you are a fan of spicy food or simply interested in the history of one of America’s most iconic hot sauce brands, a visit to the Tabasco Factory is a must-do when in Louisiana.

National WWII Museum in New Orleans

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and anyone interested in learning about the Second World War. As the official museum of the United States that tells the story of the American experience in the war, it offers an immersive and educational experience.

The museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring to life the historical events of World War II. Visitors can explore the galleries and learn about the causes of the war, the major battles and campaigns, the home front, and the impact of the war on individuals and communities.

One of the highlights of the museum is the impressive collection of vintage aircraft, tanks, and artillery on display. Visitors can see up close iconic aircraft like the B-17 Flying Fortress and the P-51 Mustang, as well as various types of tanks and weapons used during the war.

The museum also offers a variety of multimedia experiences, including films, oral histories, and interactive exhibits. Visitors can listen to personal accounts of veterans, watch documentary films, and even experience simulated combat missions.

For a more in-depth experience, visitors can participate in guided tours, which provide additional insights and stories about the exhibits. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for students and teachers.

Located in downtown New Orleans, the National WWII Museum is housed in several buildings that make up a campus-like setting. The museum’s main building, the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, features exhibits on the war in the Pacific and in Europe. The museum also includes the Solomon Victory Theater, the Stage Door Canteen, and the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion.

Overall, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans offers a comprehensive and engaging exploration of World War II. It is a fitting tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed during this pivotal period in history.

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a must-visit destination for history and nature enthusiasts alike. Located in southern Louisiana, the park is named after the legendary French pirate Jean Lafitte, who was widely known for his smuggling activities in the early 19th century.

Spread across six different sites, the park offers visitors the opportunity to explore and learn about the rich cultural and natural history of the region. From historic buildings and museums to scenic trails and waterways, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the highlights of the park is the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. This site commemorates the Battle of New Orleans, a pivotal battle that took place during the War of 1812. Visitors can explore the battlefield and learn about the events that unfolded through informative exhibits and guided tours.

The Barataria Preserve is another popular attraction within the park. Spanning over 23,000 acres, this lush nature preserve is home to a diverse range of plants and wildlife. Visitors can hike along the boardwalk trails, go bird-watching, or even take a guided boat tour to experience the beauty of the Louisiana marshlands up close.

If you’re interested in learning more about the region’s history, make sure to visit the Acadian Cultural Center and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. These museums offer interactive exhibits and educational programs that shed light on the Acadian (Cajun) culture, as well as the importance of the wetlands to the local communities.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the unique culture of Louisiana, the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a must-visit destination. Plan your trip today and prepare to be captivated by the beauty and history that awaits you.

FAQs

What are some top-rated tourist attractions in Louisiana?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Louisiana include the French Quarter in New Orleans, the National WWII Museum, the Cajun Country, Avery Island (home of Tabasco sauce), and the beautiful plantations along the Mississippi River.

What should I see in the French Quarter in New Orleans?

In the French Quarter, you should visit the iconic Bourbon Street, explore the historic Jackson Square, visit the St. Louis Cathedral, enjoy live jazz music at Preservation Hall, and try some delicious beignets at Cafe du Monde.

Is the National WWII Museum worth visiting?

Yes, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is definitely worth visiting. It is one of the most popular attractions in the city and offers a comprehensive and interactive experience, showcasing the history of World War II.

What can I do in Cajun Country?

In Cajun Country, you can explore the unique culture and cuisine of the Cajun people. You can take swamp tours to see alligators, visit historic Acadian villages, enjoy traditional Cajun music and dancing, and indulge in delicious Cajun and Creole dishes.

Which plantation is the most beautiful along the Mississippi River?

There are several beautiful plantations along the Mississippi River, but one of the most popular and picturesque ones is Oak Alley Plantation. With its stunning row of 300-year-old oak trees leading up to the grand antebellum mansion, it is a must-visit attraction for history and nature lovers.

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Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Louisiana

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Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger, an avid travel writer with a passion ignited in 2009. Having explored over 30 countries, Mexico holds a special place in her heart due to its captivating cultural tapestry, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people. A proud alumnus of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, when she isn’t uncovering the wonders of New York City, Meagan is eagerly planning her next exhilarating escapade.

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