Fall is perfect for discovering some of Louisiana's gorgeous attractions that shine in the autumn season. New Orleans might draw the crowds, but there are countless hidden gems for the curious traveller to discover all across the state of Louisiana.
This fall and beyond, you can explore nature walks, culinary landmarks and cultural treasures that will feed your soul as you journey to places full of natural beauty, imagination and hometown charm. From folk-art masterpieces like the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, to a delicious pie at the historic Lea’s Lunchroom, in Louisiana you'll discover a diverse array of culture, history and experience.
Here are some of autumn's must-see hidden gems for the curious traveller in you...
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol
Head to Baton Rouge to check out this gothic revival-style building that was created to look like a medieval castle. The Old State Capitol building's eye-catcher is gorgeous stained-glass dome, pictured above, and is a kaleidoscope of colour....perfect for your Instagram feed! The ornate spiral staircase inside the building is a sight to behold too. They say it’s haunted by Civil War era-woman Sarah Morgan, so take a tour and check out the “Ghost of the Castle” show to see if the rumours are true!
Great River Road
Driving this 70-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is like travelling through time. The Great River Road area is lined with gorgeous oak trees and Southern Spanish moss that are a feast for the eyes, plus you can stop to snap photos of historic plantations and natural beauty along the way. The sugar plantations and landmarks bordering the Mississippi River have inspired visitors and history buffs for years, and the famous writer Mark Twain even wrote about the experience of travelling through the corridor. You can tour several of the plantations to gain a deeper understanding of the history and stories behind some of these iconic homes.
Chauvin Sculpture Garden/Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden
Explore this folk-art treasure created by reclusive artist Kenny Hill, a bricklayer who left behind more than 100 sculptures on his bayou property. The Chauvin Sculpture Garden is a whimsical sight that includes colourful Cajun-style artworks that chronicle moments from the artist’s life, and the 45-foot tall lighthouse made out of 7,000 bricks, is lined with intricate sculptures. There's a small museum on-site at this “only in Louisiana” hidden gem and you can take in Hill’s life story while discovering some of the region’s most fascinating folk art examples.
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
The cooler months bring about ample opportunities to get outdoors and explore. Imagine paddling through the morning fog, floating past cypress knees (above-ground roots that resemble, well ... knees), and keeping a look out for both creatures above; bald eagles, ibises, cranes and roseate spoonbills; and below as well! Alligators call the region home and these shy creatures are safely viewed from a distance. The Atchafalaya Heritage Area is massive, spanning 14 parishes (parishes are Louisiana's equivalent of counties) and encompass one of the nation's most ecologically diverse regions. In addition to the numerous hiking, biking and birding trails through the swamp, there are many streams that are perfect for exploring via kayak or canoe.
The town of LeCompte has been designated the “Pie Capital of Louisiana,” and that's due to Lea’s Lunchroom. It’s one of the state’s oldest restaurants, dating from 1928 and legend has it that it’s the last place the historic bandits Bonnie and Clyde ever ate. This small-town treasure serves plenty of savoury favourites like baked ham sandwiches and delicious fried chicken, but it’s the homemade pies that draw travellers from near and far. Make sure you go hungry and get ready to Instagram your home-style Southern meal.
Poverty Point World Heritage Site
Head to the northern part of the state to discover Poverty Point World Heritage Site. This true Louisiana marvel, which was recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside wonders like Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty; this is only the twenty-second place in America to receive the distinction. It was home to an enormous Native American settlement and this ancient city still holds engineering marvels, artworks and monuments. There are plenty of places to eat and stay nearby, making this a truly unique destination in a state brimming with culture.
There are many incredible destinations all across Louisiana that will fulfill the curious visitor's quest for discovery, history, natural beauty and culture – and plenty of great food along the way. Start planning today and get ready to explore Louisiana’s hidden gems. For more information on any of the above email firstname.lastname@example.org.