10 places to go in Louisiana that aren't New Orleans

Roberto Michel / ShutterstockBaton Rouge, Louisiana has an annual hot air balloon festival.
  • Louisiana has plenty to offer outside of New Orleans.
  • If you love the outdoors, consider visiting Kisatchie National Forest for hiking or Fontainebleau State Park for stunning lake views.
  • Baton Rouge and Shreveport are both cultural hubs in Louisiana.

New Orleans may have spectacular food, drinking, and partying but it isn’t the only city worth a visit in Louisiana.

Outside the music-filled, beignet-making streets of New Orleans, there are dozens of attractions for nature-lovers, culture enthusiasts, and of course, foodies.

Here are 10 locations to visit in Louisiana that aren’t The Big Easy.


Lafayette is known for its great food and its many museums.

ShutterstockLafayette has a rich cultural history.

The heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Country, Lafayette offers a science museum, children’s museum, and local boutique shops among other things. The mouthwatering food scene, however, is the real star of the city.

Don’t leave without trying the hot dogs, Po’boys, and the many seafood dishes native to the area.


Grand Isle offers a beach getaway in Louisiana.

ShutterstockThe town has a long stretch of beaches.

Stretching along a narrow island in the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle is an excellent beach getaway and a hidden gem amongst Louisiana attractions.

The town is especially popular with fans of nature, fishing, and birdwatching. Visitors are welcome to pitch tents along the shore, and its location by the water naturally designates it as a great fishing spot and an annual rest stop for birds migrating from South America.


Baton Rouge is the state’s capital and a perfect city to explore Louisiana’s rich culture.

ShutterstockBaton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana.

Although New Orleans is arguably Louisiana’s most iconic city, the state capital of Baton Rouge, nicknamed the “Red Stick,” sets the bar high. Along with a number of impressive industrial sites like the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, the city’s film industry has boomed in recent years, creating the backdrop for movies like “The Maze Runner,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “Captain Marvel.”

Baton Rouge is also a great student city as its home to Louisiana State University.


Avery Island is home to Louisiana’s Jungle Gardens.

ShutterstockThe Jungle Gardens on Avery Island offer unique plants and animals.

You can visit the birthplace of Tabasco hot sauce by heading down to Avery Island. Situated atop an enormous salt flat, the red peppers used in the condiment have been grown on the land since 1868.

Along with the Tabasco factory, the island is also home to the natural beauty of the 170-acre semi-tropical Jungle Gardens.


Fontainebleau State Park is a relaxing lakefront destination.

ShutterstockFontainebleau State Park is a great destination if you’re looking for a serene vacation.

Just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, the 2,800-acre Fontainebleau State Park includes the remains of a sugar mill built in the early-19th century and the surrounding land.

The state park makes an excellent holiday for anybody looking to spend time in the great outdoors. Bordered on three sides by water, Fontainebleau offers opportunities to hike, spot diverse wildlife, watch sailboats from the shore, and relax in cosy lakefront cabins.


Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe is home to a variety of animals.

ShutterstockMany different birds can be spotted at the refuge.

Visitors can experience Louisiana’s renowned swamps and bayous at the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana.

The nature preserve’s Cypress Swamp hosts a large population of alligators, snapping turtles, and birds.


Kisatchie National Forest is great for people who love the outdoors.

ShutterstockKisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in the state.

The only national forest in Louisiana, the 600,000-acre Kisatchie National Forest is comprised of landscapes like bayous and prairies and home to a diverse population of rare plants and animals.

The park offers a variety of adventures like camping, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, and backpacking, as well as chances to simply relax by the fire at one of its many campsites.


Houmas House has a rich history and memorable Southern food.

ShutterstockVisitors can stroll the gardens at Houmas House.

Houmas House, located on the stretch of road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, was one of the largest sugar plantations of the 19th century. Once voted as one of the best historic home tours, the 38-acre estate boasts endless gardens, an inn, and a restaurant featuring Southern-style comfort food.

Visitors are given many options for tours including a daily 60-minute guided tour of the mansion and surrounding gardens.


Visitors flock to Shreveport’s many casinos.Shreveport has plenty of riverfront casinos.

iStock / McFarlandPhotoShreveport runs along the Red River.

Extending along the Red River, Shreveport‘s riverfront district and gambling culture have made it an exciting stop in northwest Louisiana.

During the day, pass the time at the 92,000-square foot Sci-Port Discovery Center, which features the state’s Space and Science Center, a children’s museum, and an IMAX Dome Theatre.

When the sun goes down, hit one of Shreveport’s popular casinos along the Red River or head across the neon Texas Street Bridge to enjoy horseracing in nearby Bossier City.


Lake Charles in southwestern Louisiana is a center for culture.

TripAdvisorLake Charles is located in southwest Louisiana.

At Lake Charles, visitors can dive into the history of the state’s most famous street party at the Mardi Gras Museum, view local and travelling exhibitions at the 1911 Historic City Halls Arts & Cultural Center, or be amazed by the sight of the nearly 400-year-old Sallier Oak tree.

Read more:I celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year – here’s why everyone should experience it

Plus, the city offers multiple casinos and a bustling nightlife.

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