4 Summer Road Trip Destinations to Take From Lafayette
Lafayette in Louisiana sits at a good distance from all sorts of destinations in the southern part of the state. Whether you prefer to explore the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast or visit cities with a style you won’t find anywhere else in America, it’s all just a road trip away when you live in Lafayette.
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley is exactly the kind of thing you picture when you hear the word “plantation.” The long walk to the main house is covered over by reaching tree branches, the massive white pillars along the front hearken back to the old Roman empire, and over the years the building has served as a sugar plantation, a cattle ranch, and now functions as a restaurant with plantation tours and overnight cottages. Oak Alley sits right along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, so the best way to get there from Lafayette is along I-10.
The American Rose Center
The American Rose Society is a national organization dedicated to cultivating and promoting roses of every shape, color, and size. Once upon a time, they called Columbus, Ohio, home, but these days their headquarters is a 118-acre plot of land just west of Shreveport. The center has 65 rose gardens and over 20,000 bushes, and it’s open to the public from the start of April to the end of October. If you have any love of roses, the American Rose Center is a good place to visit. Since it’s close to Shreveport, I-49 will take you right there.
The Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge is just a few miles east of Lafayette on I-10. It’s full of bayous, cypresses, swamps, wetlands, and all the nature and wildlife you think of when you think Louisiana. Camping, fishing, and hunting are all allowed so long as you buy your license and follow the regulations, but don’t forget to bring your bug spray and keep an eye out for the alligators that call this swamp home.
If you prefer music to mosquitoes and culture to rose cuttings, it’s hard to go wrong with a road trip to New Orleans. Along with the city’s famous nightlife, New Orleans has several tours that take you through the haunted history of the city and the well-populated cemeteries of the French Quarter. For more recent history there’s the National World War II Museum, and plenty of steamboat cruises start in or near the Big Easy. I-10 is the direct route there, but if you want a more scenic route, you should head south along US-90.
Between its history as a French colony and all the Native American tribes that used the mouth of the Mississippi as a major trade lane, Louisiana is an old part of the world with a history that goes back long before it ever became a state. Between the swamplands and bayous you won’t find anywhere else and the mixed Native, French, and American history, there are all kinds of places you can find on a road trip from Lafayette.