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The state of Louisiana stands ready with unique tourism opportunities. In New Orleans, there’s a noteworthy aquarium and zoo to see and world-famous local cuisine to sample. Walk around a 19th century plantation in Garyville, while Baton Rouge earns its vacation accolades with an art and science center, the destroyer U.S.S. Kidd, and casino action. In Lafayette, hear colorful stories about resourceful Cajun settlers at the living history village of Vermilionville.
Naturally, we want to start things off right in “The Big Easy”, New Orleans. You really can’t go wrong in locating wonderful, authentic cuisine here. Eat a fresh-made praline, taste some spicy gumbo, and tap your toes to jazz music. Best of all, every dollar spent here helps rebuild one of America’s most distinctive cities, severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. We also recommend visiting the frisky otters, squishy jellyfish, and a white alligator from the bayou at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. See more than 2,000 creatures living in realistic surroundings at Audubon Zoo. Go on a steamboat cruise and try your luck at the perpetually rocking Harrah’s New Orleans Casino near the French Quarter.
Let’s hit the road, taking US-61 northeast. While our ultimate destination will be Lafayette, we think a few stopovers are in order first. The restored 1850s plantation estate, schoolhouse, and slave cabin, set among 300-year-old oaks at San Franciso Plantation is what makes the town of Garyville a compelling respite. Meanwhile, the town of Gonzales lets you flip forward to modern times and experience the non-stop shopping options at Tanger Outlet Center.
In Baton Rouge, see a refurbished WWII destroyer at the U.S.S. Kidd & Veteran’s Memorial Museum. The museum contains an aircraft exhibition, Hall of Honor, and interesting models of U.S. military ships.
You can see an Egyptian tomb, a space theater show, and fine art exhibits all in one place at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Feeling lucky? Of course you are, which is why a winning diversion to Argosy Casino seems like a good a bet. Take advantage of round-the-clock restaurants and upscale entertainment venues in a high-rolling casino atmosphere.
From Baton Rouge, take I-10 south, then 90 west, to go deep into the exotic bayous of Houma. Numerous companies in the area offer swamp tours, where you have the chance to see towering cypress trees, long-legged herons, and the swamp’s most famous occupant, the alligator. Any of these tours are definitely worth your time. Another worthwhile visit is the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, and its interactive exhibits displaying the beauty, and importance, of the Louisiana waters.
Last, but not least; Lafayette. Jean Lafitte National Park Acadian Cultural Center teaches visitors about the Cajuns who migrated from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Louisiana during the mid-18th century. Nearby Vermilionville does it one better, with a restored Cajun village and living history museum located, where else, but on the bayou? In and around Lafayette, tour elegant plantation homes, dance to lilting zydeco music, and dine on succulent seafood straight from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.