The ultimate Louisiana road trip
When we think of visiting the United States, we often think of a western USA itinerary.
Yet Louisiana has no reason to envy its western counterparts.
With its lush nature along the banks of the Mississippi River and its unique history, culture and architecture, Louisiana is a mythical destination.
So pack your bags, grab your driver's license, and get ready for a trip that will leave you with lasting memories (and probably some jazz melodies stuck in your head)!
Road trip map
Road trip summary
Days 1-2 : New Orleans
After picking up your rental car, your ultimate road trip begins in the city of jazz, festivals and Cajun cuisine.
Shaped by its Caribbean origins and its French-speaking Acadian population, New Orleans boasts a diverse culture that is one of a kind.
Be sure to take a guided tour of the French Quarter and its historic centre. For your first night out on the town, experience the colour and excitement of iconic Bourbon Street!
The next morning, take a stroll through the Garden District, an area less frequented by tourists, where you will discover beautiful Victorian houses.
And don't leave New Orleans without going to one of the city's many jazz clubs!
Days 3-4 : Baton Rouge (130 km)
At the end of the morning, take a drive along historic Plantation Road, which winds along the Mississippi River.
A 'plantation' was not just the fields of sugar cane or cotton, but the entire estate.
It included the owners' home (often a mansion known as the 'big house'), the gardens and, more sadly, housing for the slaves who worked there.
Today Plantation Road is a popular tourist route that stretches for 150 kilometres between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and offers an array of great mansions and memorable plantations to visit.
Must-sees include Nottoway House and Houmas House. Allow about 2 hours per visit.
Then continue to today's destination, Baton Rouge.
Once in Baton Rouge, pay a visit to the political and cultural landmarks of the state capital.
If you would like to visit another plantation, don't miss Magnolia Mound, located in the heart of town.
Or if you are looking for something a little more spine-chilling, pay a visit to nearby St. Francisville.
There you will find Myrtles Plantation, a mysterious house built in 1796 that it said to be haunted...
Day 5 : Natchez (146 km)
Today's destination is Natchez. in the state of Mississippi.
This jewel of the South was founded by exiled Acadians in the 18th century.
The town is home to many magnificent Antebellum mansions, the former homes of wealthy cotton planters who came to settle here before the American Civil War.
Longwood Villa is one of the most prestigious of these, and is well worth a visit.
It was never completed, providing a fascinating look into the details of the building's architecture.
This evening, stop by the Under the Hill Saloon for a drink. The bar's atmosphere and saloon decor will end your stay in Natchez on a high note.
Days 6-7 : Lafayette (215 km)
The adventure continues with Lafayette, the most European and Francophone city in Louisiana. While English is the language of instruction in Louisiana schools, the population proudly maintains its French language.
Although "French" doesn't necessarily mean French from France...
The accent of French-speaking Louisianans is similar to that of the Acadians in New Brunswick, Canada.
Take this opportunity to visit Vermilionville Historic Village, a recreated Acadian village, where interpreters in period costume will tell you about Cajun history and culture.
It's like travelling back to the 18th century!
If you enjoy that type of activity, the Acadian Village is another open-air museum with guided tours and demonstrations by costumed actors.
A highlight of this tour is Maison Bernard, an authentic 19th-century home dating from 1800.
Finally, you can't leave the region without stopping at Lake Martin bayou, about ten minutes south of Breaux Bridge, on the outskirts of Lafayette.
Louisiana's bayous are vast swampy sections along the Mississippi River. Together, they form a navigable network that stretches for thousands of kilometres.
Days 8-9 : Houma (164 km)
Back behind the wheel, your next stop is Avery Island to visit the island's many exotic gardens and the only Tabasco factory in the world.
Whether you like the famous hot sauce or not, the factory tour offers a fascinating look at the production line, from pepper plants to bottling.
Last buy not least, your final destination: Houma.
A network of bayous and shipping channels converge on Houma, creating a crisscross of busy waterways and some 52 bridges within the city.
You are sure to appreciate the city's peace and quiet.
While you are there, treat yourself to a guided swamp tour, where you will probably get the chance to see alligators and crocodiles.
A swamp tour is well worth it, especially if you are interested in learning more about the region's plant and animal life.
During your stay, be sure to take a drive to the end of the road.
There you will find the village of Cocodrie, a friendly local fishing community most of whose inhabitants live in houses built on stilts.
It's a unique place that looks and feels like the end of the world!
Day 10 : New Orleans (93 km)
Head back to New Orleans.
It's time to go to the airport and board your flight home.
Your Louisiana tour may have come to an end, but your good memories will last a lifetime!
$818 / adult
And there you go!
What about you, are you interested in visiting Louisiana?
Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!