Ah, Louisiana. There’s no place quite like it. The amazing culture and history that seeps out of every crack and crevice in this state is simply incredible. The food is outstanding, the music is exciting, and the vibe of the place is anything but boring.
There are plenty of things to see and do in the Bayou State, especially if you’re into history, food, or jazz. More often than not, the issue is not with finding something to do, but with narrowing the options down. This is where a Louisiana bucket list can be helpful.
By creating a Louisiana travel list, you are narrowing your options to the things you want to do most while exploring Louisiana. On top of that, you’re keeping your ideas in one place where they can be accessed quickly and easily should you find yourself needing to fill more time on your vacation.
In this article, we will help you build your Louisiana bucket list, so you will never be without places to visit or things to do.
What is a Bucket List?
Before we go further, it is important that we make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t know what a bucket list is? Not to worry, we will explain.
A bucket list is a to-do list for your life. It includes all the places you want to go, things you want to see, foods you want to try, and people you want to meet before you pass away. Some keep a single bucket list that contains all of their goals. We like to keep several, making a seperate list for every place we plan to travel.
If you don’t have a bucket list yet, today is your lucky day! Take a look at our Louisiana travel list below to get inspiration for a travel bucket list of your own.
— Bucket List Vacations: Louisiana’s National Parks —
The first items on our bucket list are some of Louisiana’s national parks sites. The National Parks Service does an excellent job of creating and maintaining places for us to learn about the nature and history of our country. The NPS sites in Louisiana are an excellent example of that, making them ideal additions to any Louisiana to-do list.
#1. Cane River Creole National Historical Park
For over 200 years, the Creole people called the Cane River region home. Now the Cane River Creole National Historical Park has been put in place to share their stories. Visit this park to learn about the unique culture and history of the Creoles.
#2. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Walk where the soldiers of the Battle of New Orleans walked, learn about Cajun traditions, and immerse yourself in the beautiful natural environment found in and around New Orleans. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is the perfect place to do all of these things and more.
#3. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Jazz is an amazing art form. Learn all about the history behind this uniquely American music genre and get into the spirit of New Orleans as you listen to amazing jazz musicians show their stuff at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
#4. Poverty Point National Monument
Around 3,000 years ago, the Poverty Point culture was a huge trading network. The collection of mounds and earth structures they built stretched for hundreds of miles across the continent, and were altogether an engineering marvel.
In fact, people still marvel at these amazing creations, a product of around 5 million hours of labor. Learn about this amazing creation and the people who made it at Poverty Point National Monument.
#5. Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg was referred to as “the nailhead that holds the South’s two halves together” by President Jefferson Davis. Meanwhile, Lincoln claimed that Vicksburg was the key to winning the Civil War. The battle fought at this location truly was a crucial one. Learn all about it at Vicksburg National Military Park.
— More Louisiana Bucket List Experiences —
Hoping for more ideas for your Louisiana travel list? Fortunately, there are plenty more incredible places to go and things to do in the Bayou State. Some of our very favorites are listed below.
#6. Explore the French Quarter
Perhaps the most well-known part of the entire state of Louisiana, New Orleans’ French Quarter is a must-see when visiting. Not only will you see a number of beautiful historic buildings, you’ll also be treated to amazing shopping and dining, as well as plenty of street performances.
Be sure to see Bourbon Street, Decatur Street, Royal Street, and Congo Square.
#7. Learn at the National WWII Museum
Learning about our past is important for our future. At the National World War II Museum in Louisiana, you can learn about one of the most important parts of our history through powerful and moving exhibits. Plan to spend a while here, and be prepared with tissues.
#8. Experience a New Orleans Mardi Gras
No place in the world does Mardi Gras quite like New Orleans. Visit during this annual festival for bright costumes, fun decorations, loud celebrations, and good food. After all, you haven’t fully experienced New Orleans until you see it during Mardi Gras!
#9. Dig into a Crawfish Boil
As far as food goes, crawfish is a Louisiana staple. Make sure to stop somewhere to enjoy an authentic Louisiana crawfish boil. While peeling the little critters can be time-consuming, the meat inside is delicious and pairs perfectly with the vegetables and spices served with it.
#10. Tour the Melrose Plantation
An amazing historic place originally known as Yucca Plantation, Melrose Plantation holds some incredible stories and secrets. The grounds are home to a number of buildings, including Yucca House (which was built in the 1790s) and the Big House (a West Indies Creole plantation house with early Greek Revival details).
A tour of the plantation is a fantastic peek into the past that you won’t want to miss.
#11. Admire the Old State Capitol Building
Speaking of peeking into the past, another historic place you’ll definitely want to see is the Old State Capitol. This building is quite a dramatic one, featuring two huge towers, a crenellated roof, and tall windows, all of which come together to create a castle-like appearance that is both grand and intimidating. It is certainly a lovely sight to see, and the exhibits inside make a visit to the building an excellent experience.
#12. Enjoy a Bowl of Gumbo
In addition to crawfish, every person who visits Louisiana simply must try gumbo. This delicious stew features celery, bell peppers, onions, and meats such as sausage and shellfish. The spices included in the soup are spicy and flavorful, and make for a memorable dish to say the least.
#13. Go on a Swamp Tour
The swamps of Louisiana are absolutely amazing places that are teeming with life. Why not see some of this life for yourself by heading out on a swamp tour? There are tons of swamp tour companies all across the state, and going on one of these tours allows you to check out local flora and fauna, including the famed Louisiana alligators.
#14. Discover History at Laura Plantation
Yes, we are including another historic plantation on our list. This one was built in 1805 and served as a sugar plantation for many years. The house onsite now contains period furniture and exhibits about Laura Locoul, who once called the plantation home. Additionally, the plantation is home to a large exhibit that tells the stories of those who were enslaved on the farm, giving visitors a look at plantation life from another point of view.
#15. Step Back in Time at Vermilionville
Vermillionville is a living history museum that is focused on preserving the traditions and heritage of the Acadian settlers of the late 1700s and early 1800s. During your visit you will see restored historic buildings and homes. You will also have the opportunity to chat with interpreters and costumed craftspeople who will help you understand the ins and outs of daily living for the Acadian people of this time.
#16. Have a Beach Day
You may not realize it, but Louisiana plays host to a number of lovely beaches. Why not take advantage of this fact and cool off in the water on a hot summer day? Some of the best beaches include Holly Beach and the beach at Grand Isle State Park, but any beach you choose is likely to be wonderful.
#17. Sweeten Things Up with Bananas Foster
A traditional New Orleans dessert, bananas foster is a must-try when you’re in the Bayou State. This delicious treat includes bananas, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. It’s all soaked in rum before being set aflame. Once the alcohol has been burned away, the flame goes out, leaving a smoky tasting banana dessert that is usually served over vanilla ice cream.
#18. Get Hands-On at Sci-Port Discovery Center
If you like to learn through play, the Sci-Port Discovery Center is for you. Here you can learn about science through hands-on exhibits while having an absolute blast. This is the perfect stop for families with kids, but honestly, even adults love this place.
#19. Visit the USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial
The USS Kidd is a decommissioned destroyer ship that was active during WWII, has been seen in film and TV productions, and is now used for tours on a daily basis. Tour the ship and then visit the museum to learn more about the ship and check out some nautical items, artifacts, a super cool model ship collection, and more.
#20. Wander Rosedown Plantation and Gardens
Yet another plantation that is worth visiting, we recommend stopping in at Rosedown Plantation and Gardens for a lovely stroll through the flowers. While you’re there, be sure to spend some time learning about the lifestyles of both plantation owners and the slaves who worked plantations of the south during the mid-19th century.
#21. Chug Over to DeQuincy Railroad Museum
Train enthusiasts will love DeQuincy Railroad Museum. In fact, we recommend this fun museum even if you aren’t a train fanatic. See trains go by from one of multiple train-viewing platforms, admire an impressive collection of Gauge 1 model engines, and check out several historic train cars and a 1913 steam engine.
#22. Chow Down on Cafe du Monde Beignets
Finally, we mustn’t forget to mention the beloved beignets of Cafe du Monde. Yes, the line will be long to get them, and yes, you should wait in it. These yummy little treats are well worth the wait, especially if you wash them all down with a coffee and chicory cafe au lait.
Clearly, you won’t be bored during a visit to Louisiana and there are plenty of things to add to your Louisiana bucket list. That said, you might find yourself hopping around a lot in order to see as much as possible. For this reason, we highly recommend staying in a Louisiana RV rental. This will allow you to move from spot to spot with ease, staying in comfort wherever you land and helping ensure you have an absolutely amazing time on your getaway to the Bayou State.