Travel Spotlights: Southeast Region
Pristine beaches, forested state parks and lively cities fill the Southeast, home to comforting cuisine and legendary hospitality.
The sounds of all kinds of music, but especially jazz, fill the air in New Orleans. Catch a show at a historic venue, or dance to the melodies of street performers on Royal Street.
Majestic 300-year-old live oak trees lead the way to a Greek-revival style mansion where period-dressed guides greet visitors and transport you through history at Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie.
From the dizzying spin of a Cajun two-step to funky Zydeco dance hall beats, music is the beating heart of Lafayette’s rich culture and history.
Louisiana’s swamps and bayous beg to be explored. At Lake Martin, revel in the area’s natural beauty as you paddle through spectacular scenery.
Lousiana knows Southern cuisine. From the latest trends and food halls to fresh twists on classics, mouthwatering cuisine is just a bite a way all throughout the state.
Louisiana is known for its exhilarating Mardi Gras celebrations featuring parades, performances and a lot of colorful beads.
Whether you’re dining on oysters, deep fried and stuffed in a delicious po’ boy, or savory crawfish, fresh-caught seafood is a culinary staple throughout Louisiana.
Guided tours through Louisiana’s wilderness provide an excellent opportunity to explore the swamps, bayous and lakes with a local by airboat, canoe or kayak.
Downtown Shreveport is home to historic sites, heritage tours and year-round festivals, as well as live entertainment, craft vendors and food trucks on the weekend.
From colorful blooms to 19th century bungalows, the Garden District in Baton Rouge offers a glimpse into Louisiana’s past against a picturesque floral backdrop.
Music, Adventure and Southern Cuisine in Louisiana
From the mist-shrouded swamps to the rhythm of Cajun and Zydeco beats, Louisiana attracts visitors with its outdoor adventures, one-of-a-kind cuisine and rich cultural history. Considered the birthplace of Jazz, Lousiana’s music scene is thriving. Listen to street performers as you stroll through New Orleans’ French Quarter, or groove to bands at the iconic Teddy’s Juke Joint near Baton Rouge. Seeking tasty Southern food? Louisiana’s culinary offerings and fresh-caught seafood go hand in hand. Sample a crawfish boil, bite into a po’ boy stuffed with fresh oysters or savor a bowl of gumbo. For a sweet treat, you can’t go wrong with warm beignets or a classic bananas Foster. Beyond the urban sights and tasty delights, Louisiana’s great outdoors beckons to nature lovers. Kayak through bayous, take a guided boat tour through a swamp or hike through prairies teeming with wildlife.
Of course, no trip to Louisiana is complete without attending the lively escapades of a Mardi Gras celebration. Attend a parade, marvel at colorful costumes and collect strings of beads at this world-famous Carnival celebration that takes place throughout the state between January and March, depending on the timing of Easter.
Louisiana Road Trip
New and old mix in this jewel of a city, home to distinct neighborhoods including the historic French Quarter, funky Marigny/Bywater and quaint Garden District. Grab a seat on the St. Charles Streetcar, pick a restaurant for a decadent dinner and shop in the boutiques on Magazine Street.
Tour the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens to see where Coca-Cola was first bottled. Stroll around the lush gardens and pose for a photo with the brilliantly painted heron statue – it’s part of a city-wide public art project.
Fun is front and center here, thanks to casinos, year-round festivals, and stellar live music and food. Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, across the Red River in Bossier City, features shopping, restaurants and trolley rides. Be sure to catch a show at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, where legendary musician Elvis Presley launched his career.
Nestled on the banks of Cane River Lake, Natchitoches is a charming community that’s more than 300 years old. Stay at a bed and breakfast in Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District, sample the city’s famous meat pies or take a horse-and-buggy tour.
Hike, bike and ride horseback through vast Kisatchie National Forest in the state’s center. The rolling hills, accented with longleaf pine forests, are popular for birdwatching, kayaking and camping.
As the city’s name suggests, Lake Charles is home to a beautiful lake, but it’s also surrounded by marsh-lined inland waterways and Gulf of Mexico beaches. Search for seashells at Rutherford Beach, kayak the Calcasieu River and cast a line in the many canals and bayous.
Tour the Tabasco property to learn about the history and production of the island’s famous hot sauce. While there, stroll the company founder’s Jungle Gardens to see camellias, azaleas and an assortment of wildlife.
As the epicenter of all things Cajun and Creole, it’s no surprise Lafayette was named Southern Living’s Tastiest Town of the South. Check out local offerings at a farmers market, sample a menu from a gourmet food truck or relax at a family-style restaurant with live music.
In Louisiana’s exciting capital city, be entertained at a riverfront casino, and visit a floating museum focusing on naval history. Explore the ornate architecture of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, including its stunning stained-glass dome.
At Houmas House and Gardens, take a guided tour to learn about the history of this grand estate, enjoy fine dining at Latil’s Landing and relax in lush gardens. Pay a visit to the Great River Road Museum, also on the grounds.
Lake Charles, Louisiana
More about Louisiana
In Shreveport-Bossier, history, culture and art connect two diverse cities. View public murals, explore Downtown Shreveport or go shopping along the Louisiana Boardwalk. Each winter, family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations attract visitors with extravagant parades, balls and parties. Learn more
The American Rose Center in Shreveport is the nation’s largest park dedicated to roses. Featuring more than 20,000 rosebushes in a rainbow of colors, the park is also home to artistic sculptures and stunning fountains. Learn more
More about Louisiana
The oldest settlement in northwest Louisiana, Natchitoches offers a blend of culture, history and recreation. Travel along the Cane River Heritage Trail Scenic Byway where you can explore cultural sites and museums or shop unique boutiques in the historic downtown district. Learn more
The Red River once flowed through the center of Natchitoches before it formed the present-day Cane River Lake, which offers plenty of ways to get on the water. Spend an afternoon kayaking, take a boat tour or end the day with a relaxing riverboat cruise. Learn more
Photo: Brian Jarreau
More about Louisiana
Considered the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Country, Lafayette is an outdoors enthusiast’s dream. Explore swamplands, watch for rare birds, spend an afternoon fishing or take a canoe trip as you paddle beneath the cypress trees. Learn more
Photo: Jamie Orillion
While in Lafayette, grooving to Cajun and Zydeco beats is a must. Lafayette offers visitors a wide sampling of live music on any night of the week at a variety of venues and throughout the year at annual festivals. Learn more
Photo: Megan Bergeron
Grab your coffee and savor the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach – a great start to a day spent relaxing on the sand. Score more stellar views from atop the beachfront SkyWheel ride.
In vibrant Charleston, lace up your walking shoes to tour the historic district or opt for a carriage ride’s relaxed pace. Save room for a feast at one of the city’s many award-winning restaurants.
Hilton Head Island
It’s all about outdoor relaxation on Hilton Head Island, with its grand resorts and seemingly endless beaches. Hone your golf or tennis game, and enjoy shopping and dining in Harbour Town.
Stroll charming, pedestrian-friendly downtown Greenville for museums, theaters, boutiques and wow-worthy restaurants and rooftop bars. Walk across the Liberty Bridge for stunning views of the cascades in Falls Park.
Once the lair of Blackbeard the pirate, Murrells Inlet is now known as South Carolina’s seafood capital, a can’t-miss destination for fresh-caught delights. Dine on blue crab, scallops, shrimp and Brazilian black grouper while sipping a cold drink and enjoying the waterfront views.
Hop on a ferry from Hilton Head Island to a more secluded but no less enchanting island getaway. Bask in the underdeveloped, car-free world of Daufuskie Island for outdoor adventures such as horseback riding, hiking and fishing.
Discover Blue Ridge Mountain beauty in northwestern South Carolina. Hike the Raven Cliff Falls Trail in Caesars Head State Park for stunning views of the cascading falls and surrounding mountains.
Wander, shop and dine alfresco in Aiken, historically renowned as a sporting retreat for wealthy Northerners, but also a welcoming quaint town for all. The city is a horse racing and polo hub, so time your visit with one of many notable events each year.