Best Full Swamp Experience: Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana
Bayous. In actuality, just as there are many more neighborhoods in New Orleans besides the French Quarter, there are bayous all over the state with unique indigenous plant and marine life ripe for exploration. Also, alligators. If you’re interested in checking out gators in their natural habitat, may we recommend utilizing a professional to assist you, as that will greatly reduce the chance of maiming, dismemberment, and death. Fortunately, the area boasts plenty of businesses that would love to guide you through the wonders of the swampy bayous of Honey Island Swamp or the nearby Pearl River in a flat-bottom boat (those bayous are pretty shallow, dontcha know) or airboat.
Distance from New Orleans: 45 minutes
Best Cajun Culture Getaway: Lafayette, Louisiana
Venture to the heart of Cajun country with a trip to Lafayette and Breaux Bridge. Louisiana Cajuns are French-descended people who left the maritime provinces of Canada after the French and Indian War (the word Cajun comes from the word Acadian). Lafayette -- also home of the University of Louisiana -- is still the epicenter of this distinctive culture, with not one but two historical villages with live reenactors (Vermilionville and Acadian Village), and a host of incredible spots to eat, drink, and make merry. Randol’s, a seafood restaurant/dance hall, offers Cajun tunes seven days a week, but stay away if you’re not one to get up and start moving when the accordion sounds. Breaux Bridge, a small town a bit east of Lafayette (known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World”) is also worth a visit. Stroll the adorable downtown, pop into antique shops, and check out the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge.
Distance from New Orleans: Two hours