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Explore Louisiana on a Deep South Road Trip, USA

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Explore Louisiana on a Deep South Road Trip, USA

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Louisiana is a must-visit state on any road trip around the Deep South and is not to be missed.

Packed full of history and culture, New Orleans is one of the oldest states making it one of the most culturally rich cities in the US. Louisiana has loads to offer visitors.

I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans, home to jazz music and Bourbon Street. Discover Lafayette, home to the Cajun Country. Explore the Swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin and visit Avery Island, home to the world-famous Tabasco Factory.

Within this blog post, I will share with you some of the highlights from my visit to the state of Louisiana.

Here are my recommendations on what to do on a road trip around Louisiana.

Include Louisiana in your road trip around the Deep South

This road trip guide around Louisiana is part of a larger road trip around the Deep South of the United States that I undertook together with Scott Tisson from Intrepid Escape.

The road trip that we did took us to the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee to cover the whole Deep South area.

I would recommend one week for the Louisiana section of the road trip, which will be the focus of this blog post.

Making the complete road trip along with the other states will take you around a month to complete.

So you could just do this one-week suggestion, combine two states and do two weeks, or visit all four states in the Deep South in a month.

If you have more time, you can extend your trip to six weeks to give yourself more space and time in each state, but a good week in each state will be enough to cover everything mentioned in this article.

New Orleans is a popular hub and offers a selection of direct flights from the UK so this might be a good suggestion as a starting point for your road trip around the Deep South as well as a good place to sort out your rental car for the trip.

Welcome to New Orleans, Louisiana

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New Orleans, Louisiana is a city that needs no introduction. It’s world famous for its Mardi Gras and jazz music scene. If you like to move to the rhythm then this is just the city for you!

New Orleans is internationally known as a centre of fun, festivity and fine dining, as well as loads of history to explore.

New Orleans is full of popular landmarks and unique historically significant architecture abounds. Once you see the style of New Orleans architecture you will feel at home. A familiar style that has been replicated around the globe.

On your journey through New Orleans, you’ll explore restaurants and clubs famous around the world and hear some of the best authentic New Orleans jazz around.

Travel in style on the New Orleans Streetcar

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The best way to get around New Orleans is by taking a ride on its expansive network of iconic streetcars. Be sure to pick up and use a Jazzy Pass to navigate the city of New Orleans in style.

This classic mode of transport has been serving New Orleans since 1835 and is a wonderful part of the city’s history.

Stay at Virgin Hotels New Orleans

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Check in at the Virgin Hotel. Located in New Orleans’ lively Warehouse District, Virgin Hotels New Orleans mixes a passion for food and beverage with music and culture that fuses with the Crescent City’s unique personality, providing an inclusive environment for travellers and locals alike.

Don’t miss out on The Pool Club, located on the top floor. Chill around the rooftop pool, bar and terrace with sweeping city skyline views of New Orleans. Perfect spot to enjoy a frozen cocktail as well and kick back.

Virgin Hotels New Orleans is situated in a great location. You’re only a short walk to your favourite attractions including the French Quarter.

Start your New Orleans food adventure at Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar

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Get ready to indulge in some of the most delicious food you’ll ever taste. New Orleans boasts an array of incredible dining establishments waiting to be explored. Start your culinary adventure off strong at the Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar.

Take the St. Charles streetcar uptown to reach Napoleon Avenue where you’ll find Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar. It’s the ideal spot to start your evening off in style, offering the perfect setting for your first-night dinner in the city.

Set within an old-school tiled space with views of historical uptown St. Charles Avenue, Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar offers seafood-focused Creole fare.

If you can, see if it’s possible to dine at the Oyster Bar itself, the perfect spot for solo dining. Here you can watch the Oyster Shucker get to work on the orders.

Even though they make it look all so easy, it comes from years of experience and knowledge on how to shuck an oyster correctly to maintain the quality.

I dived right in and got half a dozen of locally sourced Gulf Coast oysters to start and as we’re in Louisiana, loaded them up with a dash of Tabasco to add that kick of flavour.

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar menus boasting the freshest ingredients of our inspired take on Louisiana classics, Superior Seafood is a desirable location for tourists and locals alike.

I was also impressed with the blackened catfish Napolean which was cooked to perfection and had an incredible gravy sauce that paired well with the sweetcorn.

Also washed it all down with a frozen French 75 which was just the ticket. Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar was an experience I would love to return to and a great way to kick-start the food adventure in NOLA.

Check out the swamp life and hit the high ropes at ZipNola

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For the adventure seeker, grab a transfer over to ZipNola, New Orleans Swamp Zipline Adventure, located on the outskirts of New Orleans. This location gives you a chance to experience the swamp lands on the outskirts, not too far away from the city.

ZipNola is the world’s first fully aquatic swamp zipline. Yes, that does mean you will be ziplining across swamps with the possibility of spotting alligators in their natural habitat below.

At ZipNola you will find five different zipline adventures, along with two sky bridges for exploring the swamp below. Additionally, there’s an elevated spectating deck, picnic tables and animal enclosures.

Transport to and from the city of New Orleans can also be arranged and can be booked in advance of your visit.

For an added excursion, consider booking the Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour, which can be included in the city transfer if you desire to combine both experiences and enrich your day trip to the area.

Preservation Hall

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If you’re visiting New Orleans, my top recommendation would be to book tickets in advance for Preservation Hall.

This historic music venue, located in the French Quarter, offers entertainment for all ages and holds a significant place in jazz history. Set in a no-frills space with wooden floors and no air-conditioning, Preservation Hall has remained unchanged since its opening in 1961 and continues to host traditional New Orleans jazz performances.

This was without a doubt the highlight of my trip, a real wild card experience.

I love the fact that video or photography is not allowed within Preservation Hall during live performances. Everyone switches off and focuses on enjoying the show, allowing you to concentrate on the incredible live performance.

See if you can book the house band or an All-Stars Concert at Preservation Hall – you won’t be disappointed.

Step back in time and enjoy dinner at Tujague’s restaurant

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Tujague’s is the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana and is one not to be missed.

Maintaining its reputation for delivering an unforgettable dining experience, Tujague’s has been a favourite for more than 165 years, delighting French Quarter patrons with its robust offerings.

A visit to Tujague’s isn’t complete without starting with a Sazerac. This rye whiskey-based cocktail is believed to be one of the first ever invented and is a signature drink of New Orleans.

Must-try dishes include sea scallops or shrimp and grits – two Louisiana specialties that are sure to satisfy. Additionally, the pan-seared duck is prepared excellently.

Save room for the delightful Banana Bread Pudding to round off your meal.

Finally, end your evening with a Grasshopper, the signature cocktail created at Tujague’s. This brandy-based cream concoction serves as the perfect finale to your dining experience.

Tour New Orleans in style on a FreeWheelin’ Bike Tours

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If you’re looking for a different way to head out on a tour of New Orleans neighbourhoods, be sure to check out FreeWheelin’ Bike Tours.

These state-of-the-art electric fat bikes offer a fun and effortless way to navigate the city.

You have the option to either rent bikes from FreeWheelin’ Bike Tours and follow one of their mapped tours, or join a guided tour led by a knowledgeable local guide, who will bring the neighbourhoods to life with their insider insights.

During the tour, you’ll visit various spots around New Orleans, including the French Quarter & New Orleans History, the Marigny Neighborhood, Frenchmen Street, St. Louis Cemetery – Tombs & Burial Practices, The Creole Mansion & Oak-Lined Esplanade Avenue aka ‘Avenue of the Creoles’ & ‘Millionaire’s Row’, 1,000 Year Old Oak Tree Grove in City Park, ‘Big Lake’ in City Park, Treme’ Neighborhood, Louis Armstrong Park, Congo Square – The Birthplace of Jazz Music, Bayou St. John Waterway & Neighborhood and Magnolia Bridge aka ‘Blue Bridge’.

I enjoyed the FreeWheelin’ Bike Tour, especially having a local guide from the area added that extra element of information that you wouldn’t get if you did it yourself.

It’s a great way to explore the city and gain a deeper understanding of all the different areas around New Orleans.

Experience history as it comes to life in Vue Orleans

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Vue Orleans is located in the former World Trade Center building that is now home to the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans and Residences.

Vue Orleans takes the visitor on a deep dive into New Orleans’s history, music and culture via a multi-level interactive cultural experience that brings New Orleans into sharp focus.

The attraction offers a unique 4D experience with nine different original films, seven interactive exhibits and the city’s only rooftop 360-degree panoramic viewing platform.

Vue Orleans pairs style with substance, using technology to shine a focused spotlight on the vast array of art, music, food, history and culture found only in New Orleans.

A great way to bring New Orleans history to life in this visual display.

Stop by Cochon Restaurant

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At Cochon Restaurant, Chef Donald Link has embraced his culinary heritage by serving traditional Cajun Southern dishes that reflect the flavours of his upbringing.

Set in a charming, historic dig, this restaurant is the perfect local choice, specialising in pork dishes and imaginative Cajun cuisine.

Chef Link is working with locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood, focusing on traditional methods and creating authentic flavours of Cajun Country.

Anything pork is good here, and the shrimp is grilled perfectly too. The highlight for me was the ribs, cooked flawlessly. I also couldn’t get enough of the sensational pork crackling. Cochon Restaurant is a fantastic and enjoyable spot to dine in NOLA, especially for those eager to explore the vibrant Cajun flavours.

Walk around Bourbon Street and soak it all in

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A visit to New Orleans, wouldn’t be complete without walking down Bourbon Street.

Lined with loads of fun bars to check out, you can easily end up here by the end of every night.

Hours of fun with loads of live performers and endless bars to explore. See where the night takes you!

Then you can head over to Frenchmen Street, also a popular area with loads of fun bars. I would recommend heading over to the Spotted Cat Music Club for some great live music and some fun cat-themed cocktails.

Explore the Atchafalaya basin on an Airboat Swamp Tour

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On your way to Lafayette, why not stop off along the way and explore the Atchafalaya basin on an Airboat Swamp Tour?

Time to hit the swamps for a thrilling ride through the Atchafalaya basin – the nation’s largest freshwater swamp.

The highlight of the tour has to be going through the bald cypress trees you can find around the swamp lands. They’re pretty impressive to see up close from the water.

We did keep our eyes open for some alligators but we only managed to see some from a distance which was probably a good thing.

An Airboat Swamp Tour is a great way to experience life on the swamps in Louisiana.

Check out the city of Lafayette, Lousiana

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Welcome to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country! This region of South Louisiana was settled by the Acadians after their expulsion from Canada.

You’ll find traces of their culture woven into every aspect of life here. The accents may sound a bit different, and you might even catch snippets of Cajun French being spoken!

Grab lunch at Adopted Dog Brewing

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Adopted Dog Brewing is the only brewery located in the city of Lafayette and will proudly serve craft beer brewed in-house while offering a food menu to complement the variety of beers available.

Here you will find popular American dishes such as burgers, pizzas and salads. The IPA was definitely worth a try.

Explore Downtown Lafayette

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Head out on a self-guided walking tour of Downtown Lafayette. Here are some suggested places worth checking out:

Beausoleil Books & Whisper Room, Cajun Hatter, Genterie Supply, Cathedral of St. John Sans Paquet, Parish Ink, Pavy Design Studio.

For a dessert stop, check out Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe. Open seven days a week, it offers a full old-school diner experience, still serving soda the old-fashioned way. An incredible selection of ice creams is also available, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

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Downtown Lafayette provides a rich and unique experience for groups, large or small.

Whether your interest lies in visiting, shopping, dining or playing, Downtown has something for everyone, from galleries to restaurants and everything in between.

The diversity in Louisiana’s culture and customs is reflected in the architectural styles that flourish throughout the village.

These seven major architectural influences are Caribbean, French, American Colonial, Creole, Acadian, Spanish and Neoclassical Revival.

Each style has its distinct character and personality, yet all work together to provide variety and interest throughout the many neighbourhoods.

Hangout at the Rhythms on the River

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Base yourself at SpringHill Suites Lafayette South at River Ranch and then head to Rhythms on the River for a music and dinner special.

Rhythms on the River is a free concert series that takes place at River Ranch’s Town Square in Lafayette on Thursdays during the spring and fall.

Local musicians perform under the town centre’s gazebo while residents and visitors dance and enjoy food and beverages from local vendors.

Visit Avery Island, home to the Tabasco Factory

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Located within driving distance of Lafayette is Avery Island, home to the Tabasco factory.

Avery Island itself is a salt dome best known as the source of Tabasco sauce.

It is located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, United States, about three miles inland from Vermilion Bay, which opens onto the Gulf of Mexico.

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Be sure to tour the Tabasco Sauce Factory, the museum, the greenhouse, the barrel-making room, the bottling plant and the storage warehouse. There’s loads to see, do and learn as you walk through all the different stages of the Tabasco bottling process.

Make sure you leave some time to visit the Tabasco factory gift shop selling a whole host of Tabasco goods.

You can also have lunch at Restaurant 1868, serving up classic dishes that use Tobasco as the main inspiration. This is a great spot to try a local favourite, such as the Louisiana classic, a shrimp po’ boy, which goes rather well with some splashes of Tabasco.

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If you have some extra time, be sure to drive around the whole island and explore the incredible bird life in Bird City and the Jungle Gardens nature reserve. The island is a beautiful place to explore.

Thank you for reading my blog post about my road trip to Louisiana

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Thank you for visiting my blog post and reading about my road trip around the state of Louisiana.

I hope you found all the information super useful towards your trip planning, and I wish you an amazing trip to Louisiana.

This trip was part of a bigger road trip around the Deep South. Be sure to visit the other blog posts covering Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Check out my guide to Mississippi to continue the adventure after visiting Louisiana.

Wishing you a wonderful trip to Louisiana and the Deep South of the United States.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me, and I will be more than happy to help.

This article was done in collaboration with TTM and the State of Louisiana to promote road trips in the Deep South.

Be sure to check out my YouTube video of my road trip around Louisiana

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