As you venture down scenic highways on your Houston to New Orleans road trip, you'll want to take your time exploring the cities along your route. Beautiful museums, fun outdoor experiences, and delicious food are what's in store at each stop. You can learn about Texas' oil history at the Spindletop-Gladys Boomtown Museum in Beaumont and then experience the sights and sounds of the bayou at Lake Martin in Lafayette. Of course, you'll want to taste the cuisine of the South at the National Historic Oak Alley Plantation near Baton Rouge. With so many great places to see, your five-hour drive should turn into a much longer adventure.
While there's plenty to include on your Houston to New Orleans road trip itinerary, the route is not near any national parks. Here is a list of all the national parks you can plan to visit someday.
Stopping at state parks on your Houston to New Orleans RV road trip is an excellent way to take in the natural scenery and immerse yourself in a bit of local history. If you're up for an adventure, enjoy a few of the following parks on your voyage.
Village Creek State Park
Located in Lumberton, Village Creek State Park is the perfect place to appreciate the diverse flora and fauna of eastern Texas. Places to camp, hike, and mountain bike are abundant, and swimming in Village Creek is permitted. Alligators are common to the area, so make sure to read up on the park's safety tips before taking a dip. While you're there, visit Big Thicket National Preserve. You can see nine different ecosystems within one park and hike over 40 miles of trails. Paddling through the bayous is a golden opportunity to explore three peaceful water trails while viewing the local wildlife.
Tickfaw State Park
Tickfaw State Park is located 35 miles north of I-10 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, but the short detour is well worth the extra time. Make the Nature Center the first thing on your list, and watch the introductory video about the history of the park. The park's main attraction is the boardwalk that covers over 1 mile and weaves through four different ecosystems. Listen to the sights and sounds of the swamp as you hike the trails within the park. The Tickfaw River is one area you'll definitely want to see. It's perfect for photography, and it has historically been used to detain floodwaters in rainy seasons to maintain wetland habitats and increase fish populations and other wildlife. Biking, skating, canoeing, and kayaking are welcome activities here.
Fontainebleau State Park
Fontainebleau State Park sits on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain about an hour away from New Orleans. The park's unique name is the same as the estate on which it was founded. Given as a nod to the famous forest located near Paris where French kings frequently enjoyed the countryside, the Fontainebleau Plantation and sugar mill ruins can be found within the park. Closer to the water, sandy white beaches greet you for an evening stroll at the lake's shoreline. You can also peruse the park's Birding Guide as there are over 400 species to view. The bike and walking paths of Tammany Trace wind throughout the park and are available for your enjoyment.
Spindletop-Gladys Boomtown Museum
On your drive through Beaumont, you should stop and check out the Spindletop-Gladys Boomtown Museum at Lamar University. This museum tells of the great economic boom Texas experienced when prospectors first struck oil in the region. The museum offers self-guided tours six days a week. While you're in town, visit Gladys City and explore a replica of the Boomtown stores located near the original site of "The Lucas Gusher," a great salt dome, 3 miles south of Beaumont.
While Lake Charles is known as one of the best gambling destinations in the South, there's plenty more to do here. The Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu is the perfect place to visit to step into the spirit of New Orleans. The museum has six rooms to explore and houses a parade float that you can climb aboard. Enjoy a walk through midtown's Cottage Shops District and pop into a few art galleries. You'll want to spend some time walking the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. This scenic byway is known as the "Louisiana Outback"; it has over 180 miles of terrain to explore on the coast and within the city.
Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley Plantation is a National Historic site you'll want to add to your road trip itinerary from Houston to New Orleans. Located in the town of Vacherie, it takes a quick 32 minutes to get to the plantation from Sorrento. Once there, you'll want to head to the restaurant to savor some authentic Cajun cuisine as you sip refreshing mint juleps. For dessert, the Plantation Cafe and Ice Cream Parlor is an excellent stop. Tours about the history of the estate are held at five different places on the property. Be sure to experience all five. The lavish 25-acre grounds are yours to explore, and you may notice something familiar about the plantation. It was one of the locations used in the movie "Interview with the Vampire" from 1994.
Along your road trip from Houston to New Orleans, you'll go through several interesting cities. There are also plenty of campgrounds along the way with dump stations to help keep your RV clean.
Located 143 miles from the Louisiana border, Beaumont is Texas' original boomtown. You can start your visit by walking through the beautiful Beaumont Botanical Gardens and then move onto the 10,000-square-foot Warren Loose Conservatory. The sprawling grounds are nestled in Tyrell Park close to the Hillebrandt Bayou. Journey through several of the town's museums to learn about the history of Old Beaumont, firefighting, and the production of petroleum and oil. While you're still in the city, go for a stroll down historic Crockett Street and grab a bite to eat. Not to be missed is Wuthering Heights Park, Cattail Marsh, St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, and the John Jay French Museum. With so many things to explore, consider delaying your departure, and stay at one of the lovely campgrounds close to Beaumont. Bearazinga RV Park is a good option in the south end of the city.
As you drive through Lafayette on your Houston to New Orleans RV road trip, stop at Vermilionville Historic Village. There, you can view 10 restored historic structures that were built between the late 1700s and 1800s. In the village, you can take a guided tour of the living Creole and Cajun history museum. Look out for costumed artisans as you enjoy live music while in the village. If you're interested in gator territory, hit the water on Champagne's Swamp Tours and observe the wildlife at Lake Martin where you may see alligators up to 14 feet long. More sights worth a look on your way out of town are Acadian Cultural Center, Zoosiana, the Hillard Art Museum, and the Cypress Island Preserve. If you plan to extend your stay for a few days, there are some great nearby campgrounds with a variety of amenities to enjoy.
Baton Rouge is an exciting place to spend some time exploring as you finish the last part of your road trip to New Orleans. There's no shortage of museums to peruse in this city. Check out the Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum for glimpses into 19th-century living and the USS KIDD Veterans Museum located on the Fletcher-class WWII destroyer. Be sure to visit Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp and wetland in the U.S. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, biking, and birding in the massive area that covers 14 Louisiana parishes. If you're looking for a nice campground with a dump station near the city, try the Baton Rouge KOA.