Explore the Outdoors in Louisiana’s River Parishes
Louisiana’s River Parishes encompasses an area of Louisiana stretching from the outskirts of New Orleans following the Mississippi River Road extending to the outskirts of the Baton Rouge area. Visitors have so many things to do at their fingertips – explore historic plantation estates, delve into the mysteries of the swamps, eat your fill of andouille sausage, discover the history of perique (a rare blending tobacco cultivated in the area) or even catch catfish at Lac des Allemands – the French translation for “Lake of the Germans.” After all, The Town of Des Allemands is known as the Catfish Capital of the Universe. Needless to say, you’ll find activities for everyone in the River Parishes area. Follow this rough itinerary for how to spend your time in the River Parishes.
For breakfast, Coffee & Norco is a 24-hour cafe and bakery serving up all the favorites – from a wide variety of donuts and specialty pastries to breakfast sandwiches, omelets, French toast and shrimp & grits. Grab a coffee brewed to perfection or a melt-in-your-mouth donut to start your day at Café Perique in Gramercy. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Try their classic southern breakfast items – including biscuits, grits, eggs and more. Or Chung’s Heavenly Cafe offers a variety of breakfast options like breakfast croissants, omelets, sausage kolaches, or beignets.
Experience the Louisiana swamps in style with tour companies such as Swamp Adventures, Cajun Pride Swamp Tours, Ragin Cajun Airboat Tours and Wild Louisiana Tours. With years of experience, the crews are an ideal choice to share the area’s culture and heritage with visitors. Take an intimate, yet thrilling ride in premium airboats, soak up the stories and see what critters you can spot.
Or, get out on the water and book a trip with Captain Casey of Precision Fishing Charters. Primarily launching out of Cocodrie from March through September – PFC fishes the bays, outer bays, lakes, near coastal islands as well as the many oil/gas platforms that are the perfect habitat for hungry speckled trout during these months. From October through February, they launch out of Bayou Dularge, a little farther North where the trout move to the inside fresher waters. You’ll also have the chance to catch red drum, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, shark and bull reds. PFC caters to all skill levels and is a great choice for family fun.
With ZipNOLA – zip over the Maurepas Swamp with 5 separate ziplines totaling a half mile. View wildlife including: alligators, turtles, waterfowl, whitetail deer, wild boar, racoons and more from the treetops. From atop their 60-foot start tower, adventure-seekers will be able to see the historic village of Frenier, Lake Pontchartrain, as well as the skyline of New Orleans.
For lunch, check out B&C Seafood for an authentic taste of Cajun home cooking. For those looking for Louisiana classics, order up a bowl of seafood gumbo, while adventurous eaters can try out frog legs or smoked rabbit gumbo. Creole House in Paulina is a casual eatery serving up the classics. Try a juicy burger, fresh seafood platter, or a finger-licking po’boy. The specialty of Spuddy’s Cajun Foods is their house-smoked meats, including the regional favorite – andouille sausage. For a real treat, schedule the Spuddy’s Cajun Cooking Experience, where you can go back into the kitchen and learn to make traditional Cajun food yourself.
The Bonnet Carré Spillway Trail, also known as the Nomambo Mountain Bike Trail, is a prime biking attraction in the area. Found on the outskirts of Louisiana’s largest city, the Bonnet Carré Spillway Trail is an easy five-mile trail that is great for families looking to see Louisiana’s outdoors without venturing far from the Crescent City. Expect to find bridges and berms, and a few twists and turns.
Explore over 200 years of history at Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie. From its sprawling oaks and open spaces to its hidden nooks and crannies, Oak Alley’s landscape tells the story of a plantation in its evolution. Wide pastures stand where a pecan grove once thrived, and a 1920’s formal garden quietly preserves the remains of an 1830’s kitchen hidden under its turf. See the Big House, the Slavery Exhibit, the Sugarcane Theatre, and the Blacksmith’s Shop – a tribute to the enduring legacy of Louisiana craftsmen, sharing the history of forging metalwork on plantations.
Established in 1787 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Destrehan Plantation remains the oldest documented plantation home in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Special exhibits including an original document signed by Thomas Jefferson and an exhibit on the 1811 Slave Revolt.
The top-rated plantation tour at Laura Plantation transports you into the complex and intimate relationships of four generations of one Louisiana Créole family, both free and enslaved. Laura’s permanent exhibit examines, in biographical detail, the lives of Africans on the plantation, from enslavement into the 20th century.
Finish the day at Frenier Landing Restaurant – located on the west shore of Lake Pontchartrain in LaPlace. The alligator sausage with creole mustard or fried crawfish tails are great appetizers, and notable entrées include Eggplant Napoleon or the whole stuffed flounder. Make sure and leave room for their bread pudding or a slice of rum cake for dessert! The Seafood Pot is a down-home seafood spot in New Sarpy located on Louisiana’s famous River Road. Start your meal with a bowl of gumbo or stuffed artichokes, followed by the house special – crabmeat au gratin with crab cakes over pasta. Finish your meal with a slice of homemade cheesecake. At Nobile’s Restaurant & Bar, you can enjoy fine River Road cuisine in a restored 1895 Victorian building. This spot has a ton of history, paired with delicious menu options. Dig in to gumbo, seafood, po’boys, steaks and more specialties.
Learn more at ExploreLouisiana.com.