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One Tank Trip for Louisiana Camping
Total mileage / average drive time:
222 miles – 4 hours, 6 minutes
Most of the travelers who come to this enchanting state know that Louisiana has a reputation as a place where you can put a fire in your belly with authentic hot Creole and Cajun cuisine or kick off your shoes and dance the night away, especially during Mardi Gras. But, if you’re looking for even more reasons to fall in love with this state, we have a little road trip we’d like to show you!
Just off of I-55 in the southern portion of the state lies the quaint town of Hammond, and where you’ll start your journey. Far from the hurried life of a metropolitan area, Hammond is the kind of place where you can feel your pace slow to an easy stroll and your mind start to relax — earmarks of a good vacation! Hammond has several local restaurants waiting to entice you with authentic Cajun and Creole cooking and charming boutiques offering terrific bargains. Just north of Hammond, you’ll find the Global Wildlife Center where guided wagons take you on a tour of a 900-acre home to many rare and endangered creatures from all over the world. Better than any zoo, the Center gets you up close to and personal with the animals — don’t be surprised if you come face to face with a giraffe looking for a little snack you might have stashed away in your pocket. If you’re lucky enough to travel to Hammond in the winter, don’t miss the Louisiana Renaissance Festival where elaborate costumes, fire-eating performers, jousting, sword-fighting, and magicians rule the day. It’s an experience like no other with over 100 shops offering their wares, and it even features a little Shakespearean drama to round out the experience.
48.4 miles – 55 minutes
Leaving the quaint hamlet of Hammond travel just under an hour to arrive at your next destination, Slidell. Perched on the shores where Lake Pontchartrain forges towards the Gulf of Mexico via a deepwater strait a short distance from New Orleans, Slidell has an old-world ambiance with many excellent restaurants, antique shops, and the trappings and energy of a simpler time. For those of you into waterborne recreation, there are few other places in Louisiana with better opportunities for fishing, sailing, jet skiing, waterskiing, and more. The hinterlands surrounding this area are etched with bayous — waterways the locals expertly traverse in canoes; it’s the only way to travel in this area. Though it’s not recommended you attempt to tour the bayous on your own, there are many local outfitters eager to give you a tour of the sloughs where you will see more than a few alligators sunning themselves or gliding through the waters. In Olde Towne Slidell, the Historic Antique District is a “must” stop for the bargain shopper, and for those who want to take a pass on a bayou tour that may or may not include an alligator encounter, they can engage in a little people watching while they enjoy a mint julep at one of the many excellent restaurants nearby.
34.2 miles – 38 minutes
It’s a 35-mile drive from Slidell to New Orleans, your next stop. The Crescent City hardly needs an introduction and when it comes to culture, food, historic architecture, and joie de vivre, no city can match New Orleans in the uniqueness of its essence. Of course, New Orleans is most famous for its Mardi Gras, which brings in millions of visitors from around the world, but you’ll also find a wealth of attractions and fun no matter what time of year you visit. For starters, New Orleans boasts one of the top five aquariums in the country, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where you’ll find the largest collection of sharks and jellyfish and even a rare white alligator. Take some time to explore the Louisiana State Museum, also called the Old U.S. Mint — the only mint in America to serve both the U.S. and Confederate treasuries. Also stop by the National World War II Museum, where the story of one of the most devastating battles of our time is told through a varied and expanding array of artifacts, both permanent and revolving. Are you feeling lucky? Games of chance have always held a prominent place in New Orleans, from the craps dens of the city’s early beginnings to the fabled riverboat gambling circuit, and if you’re in search of a little action, you’ll find a variety of modern gaming spots, each with top-notch amenities. Around every corner of New Orleans you’ll find some piece of history or local culture that will fascinate you and steal your heart, a phenomenon that might explain why so many people make it back to the Big Easy year after year.
80.1 miles – 1 hour, 24 minutes
As hard as it is to pull yourself away from the beauty and sights of New Orleans, another destination on your Louisiana journey awaits only an hour-and-a-half away with some exciting attractions of its own to explore. Politics has long been an important part of the history of Baton Rouge and it can be found weaving its way into this city’s storied past. For a closer look at the role politics has played here, visit the Old Louisiana State Capitol that highlights the city’s past and also offers an amazing view of the city from an observation platform. For those with an interest in history, the USS KIDD Veterans Memorial and Museum is a must-see. Housed in a restored 1945 WWII Fletcher-class destroyer, the Memorial and Museum feature a full-scale replica of the gun deck of Old Ironsides, a P-40 aircraft, and many more riveting artifacts. If all of this isn’t stimulating enough, head over to the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, which offers a variety of diverse ecosystems, coastlines, swamps, and marshes where you can kayak, bike, canoe, or do some hiking among some of the most spectacular scenery in the state.
45.3 miles – 1 hour, 8 minutes
A little over an hour away from Baton Rouge is the last stop on your trip, Lafayette. This is the largest city in Acadiana and the influence of the region’s venerable Cajun and Creole cultures is unmistakable. To learn about the area’s roots and its peoples, take a tour of the Acadian Village, which serves as a monument to the proud culture found throughout the state and offers an authentic view of Acadian society in Southern Louisiana during the 19th century. Visitors will be able to explore several authentic homes, which show remarkable examples of the ingenuity of the early Acadian settlers. You can explore more beautiful Cajun/Creole heritage at Vermilionville, which also recreates life from 1765 to 1890, complete with costumed craftspeople, live music, a cooking school, boat tours, and even a restaurant where you can indulge in authentic Creole cooking. So kick off your shoes, fill your belly, and laissez les bon temp roulez!
Check out the 2011 One Tank Trip For Louisiana
Check out the 2010 One Tank Trip For Louisiana
Woodall's Recommended Campgrounds in Louisiana
Back to One Tank Trips for 2012