Have you ever been to Louisiana, the Child of the Mississippi? Contrary to what most people believe, there’s more to the Pelican State than jazz, soul food, and New Orleans. The Sugar Slate boasts a wide selection of gorgeous natural and human-made sceneries that make for the best vacation destinations. Add some of the most beautiful places to see in Louisiana to your travel bucket list!
1. Jean Lafitte National Park
This gorgeous park is one of the reasons why Louisiana earned its nickname “The Bayou State.” Made up of six scenic sanctuaries, the Jean Lafitte National Park encompasses 23,000 acres of unspoiled wetlands.
Barataria Preserve is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the park. Wildflowers abound during spring and the freshwater marsh turns vibrant green in the summer, one that’s shrouded in lush shrubs, reeds, grasses, and sedges. Fall transforms the preserve into a yellow and crimson spectacle, as the maples and bur marigolds change colors. Most of the plants stay vibrant and green through the winter.
Jean Lafitte National Park is also teeming with life:
- While the sun is out, minks and swamp rabbits frolic in the marsh, as squirrels and armadillos forage close to the trails.
- After dusk, large and nocturnal mammals come out to hunt. The place is also crawling with insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
- Alligators basking half-submerged in the water and sunbathing along the waterway banks are a common sight in the area.
- The park is also a bird enthusiast’s paradise, as it serves as the nesting, foraging, resting, and breeding grounds to over 200 avian species.
With its awe-inspiring, pristine wetlands and abundant wildlife, Jean Lafitte National Park is definitely one of the most beautiful places to see in Louisiana.
2. Avery Island
Don’t be fooled by its name; Avery Island is tucked inland in Iberia Parish. The breathtaking Jungle Gardens is located within its borders. The place is teeming with color and life.
The Jungle Garden is a 170-acre semitropical garden that spans the Bayou Petite Anse on the island. Moss-draped oaks are scattered throughout the gardens, which are home to a wide variety of birds, deers, gators, and other local fauna. Camellias, azaleas, and other semi-tropical plants bloom throughout the grounds. Stop by the Buddha shrine to reclaim your serenity.
Also known as the birthplace of Tabasco, Avery Island is truly one of the most beautiful places in Louisiana.
3. French Quarter Moonwalk
Nestled in New Orleans is the iconic French Quarter Moonwalk. It was named after Maurice “Moon” Landrieu, the mayor at the time the moonwalk was built. Once twilight sets in, this romantic seaside destination is the place to be.
The Mississippi River reflects the twinkling lights of the Crescent City Connection bridge, bringing the midnight waters to life. Street musicians set the mood with jazzy and soothing melodies and the glittering New Orleans offer the perfect backdrop to the stunning scenery.
While the French Quarter Moonwalk is best visited after dusk, that doesn’t mean that it has nothing to offer daytime visitors. With the constant, cool breeze coming in from the sea, it’s an excellent place for those looking to escape the heat and humidity of the city.
Daytime trip tips:
- Enjoy the stunning coastal views while resting on one of the iron benches on the boardwalk.
- Watch the boats entering and leaving the largest and quite possibly the busiest port in America.
- You can also watch the various street performers conducting their shows on the moonwalk!
4. Honey Island Swamp
Nestled in Slidell, Honey Island Swamp is one of the least-altered marshlands in America. The minimal human interference is what makes this wildlife sanctuary so spellbinding.
Take a tour for a stunning view of beautiful exotic birds gliding over the waters for fish, magnificent alligators basking among wetland reeds, and stunning cypress trees dripping with lush Spanish moss. If you’re lucky, you may also spot wild boars, snakes, and owls. Honey Island Swamp encompasses nearly 70,000 acres of these sights and more.
With its otherworldly views and abundant wildlife, Honey Island Swamp is indeed one of the most beautiful places to see in Louisiana.
5. Gardens of the American Rose Center
Are roses your favorite flowers? If so, the Gardens of the American Rose Center should be a part of your must-see destinations in the Sugar Slate. Carved out of dense pine forestland, this scenic 118-acre wooded property is home to more than 2,000 breathtaking blooms. Everywhere you look, you’ll see roses of almost every type and color.
There is no shortage of fun activities to do while you enjoy the sights at America’s Rose Garden. Explore the various, flower-bordered walking and jogging trails throughout the property. Have a picnic, let your kids have fun in the playground, or take photos amidst the magnificent blooms. Don’t forget to stop by the Hering gift shop for souvenirs, garden items, and refreshments.
With its wide variety of stunning blooms and beautiful landscapes, the Gardens of the American Rose Center is indeed one of the most beautiful places to see in Louisiana.
- You’ll find this lovely garden nestled between the Texas border and the city of Shreveport. Schedule your visit between April and May or between September and October when the roses are in full bloom.
6. Oak Alley Plantation
The Pelican State is home to some of the grandest plantation homes in America, the most notable of which is Oak Alley. Oak Alley is a testament to the colonial south’s rich history.
Fondly nicknamed “The Grand Dame of the Great River Road,” the route to enter the classic, Greek-revival style plantation home is beautiful. Ancient oak trees provide a canopy over a pathway leading to the plantation home. Oak Alley Plantation is tucked on the Mississippi River, between the historic cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The Oak Alley Plantation immerses visitors into antebellum Louisiana:
- Delve into the “Slavery at Oak Alley” exhibit to catch a compelling glimpse at what life was like back during times of slavery.
- Explore the “Big House” and examine the wide selection of well-preserved artifacts, antiques, documents, photographs, materials, sculptures, and other period pieces.
- You can also stop by the Sugarcane Theater and the Civil War exhibit to learn more about pre-war Louisiana.
History, beauty, nature, and excitement — experience it all when you visit the most beautiful places to see in Louisiana! Don’t have time to go yet? Take a virtual tour of the state with these 16 stunning photos of Louisiana!
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