Road Trip Across Southern USA: 12 Exciting Things To Do In Lafayette, LA

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Cajun food in Lafayette, LA is out of this world, but Lafayette has so much more to offer. Besides its incredible food scene, Lafayette has a rich culture waiting to be explored. There, you will get a taste of its rich French heritage blended with Spanish, American, Indian, and African influences. In this post, we highlighted 12 exciting things to do in Lafayette to make your Louisiana road trip an unforgettable adventure! 

Looking for inspiration for similiar road trips in other parts of the US? Check out our guide for the ultimate Miami to Key West Road Trip!

Henderson Lafayette Louisiana

1| Explore the Vibrant History of Acadiana

What makes Lafayette (or Southern Louisian in general) unique is its Cajun culture. But who are the Cajuns and where did they come from?

To truly understand what Cajun really culture is, we need to go back and explore its French heritage. It dates all the way back to 1755 when the French-speaking Acadian people were expelled from their home in Acadie (now Nova Scotia, Canada) by the British. They found refuge in southern Louisiana and settled in the swamps, bayous and prairies.

Over the years, the Acadians adapted to their new environment and shared what they brought with them with the other cultural groups already in the area, including American Indians and immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The Acadians became Cajuns and developed their own distinct Cajun French dialect, societal norms, music and food. 

To learn more about the Acadians, the Acadian Cultural Center at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve is a wonderful place to explore the cultural diversity in the Acadiana area in Southern Louisiana. The park rangers tell fascinating stories of the Acadians and their rich traditions of dances, food, and music.

Vermilionville, top places to visit in Lafayette Louisiana

Vermilionville is another great place worth stopping by. It is a living museum that preserves and demonstrate the Acadian/Cajun, Creole and Native American cultures in the Attakapas region from 1765-1890. You can experience firsthand how life was lived by the early Acadians in Louisiana.

What I loved most is that costumed artisans could be found in homes throughout the village demonstrating a craft or telling history through stories!

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2| Wander Around Downtown Lafayette

Mural in Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

Downtown Lafayette is full of life and home to wonderful boutiques, a large selection of international restaurants, and downtown parks. 

Take a walk along Jefferson Street and you will find breathtaking mural arts completed by the internationally renowned artist, Robert Dafford. Each features iconic and lesser-known visual stories unique to Lafayette.

Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

In spring and fall, the city hosts abundant events and festivals to keep people busy and active.

One of the most well-known Lafayette events is Bach Lunch. The free lunchtime concert series takes place every Friday from 12-1pm at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette. Different local musicians performing every week in a variety of musical genres (you can hear cajun, zydeco, blues…) while lunches are available for purchase from local restaurants.

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3| Go Craft Beer Tasting

Downtown Lafayette Louisiana

A cold, crisp brew is all you need on a hot summer day.

In Lafayette, there are 2 local breweries that make high-quality beers worthy of your attention.

Bayou Tech Brewing (aka LA 31), located near the Atchafalaya Basin, is a favourite among the locals. This little gem is known for brewing the freshest, most creative beers that complement the Cajun and Creole cuisine. With over 20 beers on tap, there’s something for everyone!

Bayou Teche Brewing Lafayette Louisiana

If you don’t want to drive so far, Parish Brewing is a microbrewery closer to downtown Lafayette. Best known for its Parish Canebrake, made with honey-sweet sugarcane syrup!

4| Get up Close and Personal with the Alligators

Looking for something fun and different to do in Lafayette? Go on an airboat adventure at Louisiana’s wildest place, Atchafalaya Basin!

The Louisiana swamp tour will take you deep into the secluded bayous, giving you an opportunity to get to known the unique mammals and birds along the water.

Airboat Swamp Tour Lafayette Louisiana

Roseate spoonbills, great egrets, and cottonmouth snakes are just some animals you will encounter on the Atchafalaya swamp tour as you meander through the moss-draped cypress trees.

And of course, alligators are the star of the show! As you watch the interactions between the alligators and the capture, you will be surprised how docile the animals actually are. (Having said that, they may become aggressive if provoked!).

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Road tripping across southern USA? Stop by Lafayette, Louisiana for an unforgettable adventure! Here are 12 exciting things to do in Lafayette.” quote=”Take a ride on the wild side and get up close and personal with the alligators!” theme=”style3″]
Airboat Swamp Tour Lafayette Louisiana

Guided airboat tours are a popular way to explore the bayou. Aside from airboat swamp tours, you can also head out for a paddle, go fishing, and stay on a houseboat!

5| Go Vintage Shopping

Searching for antiques and vintage clothing for a unique souvenir from your trip to Lafayette? The streets in Henderson has numerous antique shops and vintage boutiques where you can hunt for second-hand treasures!

Highlights include Lagnaippe Antique, a gigantic store housing an incredible collection of home decor item, used books, vintage toys and collectibles, and LA Marketshops at the 115, which brings in a full range of Louisiana art, gifts, antiques and products. 

Henderson Lafayette Louisiana

6| Dance the Night Away

Put on your dancing shoes and feel the rhythm of cajun music! 

Even if you don’t know how to do the 2-step, give it a try. Honestly, it is not about how well you can dance, but the fun you have. I promise you will have a great time!

Blue Moon Saloon Lafayette Louisiana

Downtown Lafayette has plenty of venues inviting you to boogie on down and show off your best dance moves. 

Boogie on over to the dance floor at Blue Moon Saloon, where live bands take the stage all week long and Cajun Jam happens every Wednesdays. Or cut loose at Artmosphere – the perfect spot to dance to a jambalaya of swamp pop, Cajun, zydeco, soul and blues.

On Friday evenings, join the locals at Downtown Alive! from 6-8pm. This outdoor concert series takes place only in the spring and fall with live band music ranging from cajun to world music, enticing you to dance under the starry sky!

7| Put Your Bowling Shoes on

bowling alley Lafayette Louisiana

If you’re looking for a good indoor activity to keep you busy on colder days and nights, why not go for a bowl?

Rock ‘n’ Bowl is a popular venue and a cool date spot in Lafayette, LA. It’s unique in its pairing of bowling and live music. The spacious 16-lane bowling alley manages to combine a large performance stage, dance floor, and a second-floor space for wedding receptions and private events, all under one roof.

To make things even more exciting, Rock ‘n’ bowl has private suites on the second floor, resembling windowless opera box overlooking the main stage and bowling lanes. 

8| Get Your Cajun Food Fix

Let’s be real. You’re here for the food, right? We get it!

Lafayette has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the USA so you will surely find something suite your palate. 

The French Press Lunch Lafayette Louisiana
The French Press

As a first-time visitor, it can get overwhelming choosing a restaurant when there are so many incredible places to eat in Lafayette, LA. So, we’ve picked a few best food spots to indulge yourself:

  • French Press serves the best brunch in Lafayette, LA. Their praline bacon and cajun benedict will fuel your day and make you feel good.
  • Blue Dog Cafe is my personal favourite. Seafood in Lafayette, LA is extraordinary, and the popular cajun restaurant dishes up mouthwatering seafood dishes like Breaux Bridge catfish and crawfish etoufee that make you lick your plate!

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9| Tour the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory

Tabasco Factory Avery Island Louisiana

Those who love hot sauces should not miss the chance to tour the iconic Tabasco sauce factory! The company is headquartered on the Avery Island in Louisiana and has just recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.

To see how the world-famous hot sauce is made, take a 10-stop self-guided tour through the factory, from the pepper greenhouse all the way to the bottling centre.

Make sure you stop by the gift shop for free tastings of Tabasco-infused goodies and shopping for all the Tabasco merchandise! 

For an additional $7, you can visit the Jungle Gardens – a beautiful sanctuary with a diverse collection of plants, trees and wildlife. You may see alligators, egrets, bears, bobcats and more! 

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Road tripping across southern USA? Stop by Lafayette, Louisiana for an unforgettable adventure! Here are 12 exciting things to do in Lafayette.” quote=”Go behind-the-scenes and see how the world-famous Tabasco sauce is made!” theme=”style3″]

10| Learn How to Make Authentic Cajun Food

Tabasco Factory Avery Island Louisiana

Want to know how to cook authentic Cajun food? Take a cooking class while you are on Avery Island!

Every Tuesday and Thursday, local chef Lionel Robin demonstrates how to make his signature Cajun dishes. Recipes will be given to you at the beginning of the class so you can follow through step by step.

In 1.5 hours, you will discover the secrets to Cajun cooking. It really is a great opportunity to brush up on your culinary skill.

11| Get a Taste of the Cajun Boudin Trail

Johnson's Boucaniere Boudin Breakfast Lafayette Louisiana
Johnson’s Boucaniere

There’s one thing you’ve gotta try in Lafayette and that’s boudin!

Stuffed with pork, rice and seasoning, the traditional Cajun sausage is a tasty Louisiana delicacy that will get you addicted in just one bite. I’m not exaggerating.

In Lafayette, you can find boudin in various forms, e.g., smoked boudin, boudin-stuffed bread, or, better yet, deep-fried boudin balls! 

The best way to sample the many varieties of boudin is through the Cajun Boudin Trail. Believe it or not, there are more than 30 places to expand your boudin horizons! Check out this brochure to find out where to eat boudin in Lafayette, LA. 

Note: if you only have time to try one place, go to Johnson’s Boucaniere for a boudin breakfast!

Visiting in October? Be sure to attend the annual Boudin Cookoff that brings together chefs from across the state and test their skills.

12| Enjoy a Zydeco Breakfast

Zydeco Breakfast Buck & Johnny's Lafayette Louisiana
Buck & Johnny’s

For a truly memorable breakfast in Lafayette, Louisiana, head over to Buck & Johnny’s on a Saturday morning which pairs classic Cajun food with zydeco music.

Live band begins playing at 8 am sharp and that’s when diners transition to the dance floor and show off their dance moves. 

There’s no pretension, everyone is welcome, even if you are a complete newbie!

Next time when you drive across Louisiana, remember to stop by Lafayette for a taste of the genuine Cajun experience. The food, the music, the people will make you fall in love with the city!

Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Lafayette Travel and International Food Wine Travel Writers Association. As always, all opinions on For Two, Please are our own and we only recommend brands that we 100% stand behind.

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19 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Ohhh I definitely want to visit Lafayette for the Cajun food. It looks amazing. There will be a shopping spree at the Tabasco shop as well. There is so much to do and see there. Thank you for your article.

  2. I’ve always heard that Cajun food is really spicy and tasty and really delicious, I would really love to these days when I visit the southern part of the states. Plus I like the ideas that you have given to do when in the South, like dancing the night away or bowling or visiting the Tabasco sauce factory or a craft beer fest – all seem to be highly interesting to me.

  3. I have roadtripped through the south, but I havent been to Lafayette! It sounds so wonderful! I would love to take the Cajun food cooking class. That sounds incredible! I would want to see the alligators too! 

  4. Enjoying Cajun food, dancing, music and vintage shopping sounds like a fun way to spend a few days in Lafayette. Of course, the alligators add a bit of excitement to the mix.

  5. Ah! There are so many places in the US that we still have to visit (and return to)! Louisiana is certainly high on our US bucket list, as are Arizona, New Mexico and Texas! When the U.S. finally gets a new president, we’ll make another long road trip through these states, and of course we’ll stop in Lafayette to see Robert Dafford’s murals, and to taste some excellent cajun food!

  6. Interesting Acadian history in Lafayette. But it is the Zydeco breakfast that I would like to try. Dancing is great exercise so why not do it in the morning instead of late at night?

  7. I remember my trip to Lafayette, clear as day, and now your photos really made me want to visit again. I would love to go and try the Zydeco Breakfast but my husband would definitely want to experience the Craft Beer Tasting – guess we will have to do both!

  8. At the risk of sounding ignorant, I did not know that there’s a place called Lafayette in southern Louisiana. Seems like a pretty cool town though, especially with the fact that you can go looking for alligators on one hand and enjoy a cool vibe and nightlife on the other. I’d love to try out the airboat adventure, visit downtown Lafayette and also try some really delicious looking Cajun food!

  9. Cajun food is one of my favourites. I think the cooking class would be a great hit. I’d love to visit. 

  10. Visiting the South of America has been there on my bucket list for a long time now. Specially because most of the experiences are still offbeat, and not touristy at all. Definitely going to keep these 12 things in mind when I happen to take a trip that side.

  11. Okay I’m in for the craft beer tasting and Cajun food tour! These two are an awesome combo perfect to enjoy the weekend. Thanks for sharing these fun activities when visiting Lafayette!

  12. This sounds like so much fun. What is Zydeco music? What does it sound like? The food looks amazing and since I already love cajun food, trying the boudin is high on my list. I’m not familiar with the cities outside of New Orleans, so this a great overview of Lafayette and what else to do outside of NOLA.

  13. I’ve not made it to the west coast of the US yet but LA is definitely on my list. The airboat adventure at the Atchafalaya Basin sounds like something I’d love! You’ve got a great list together, I’ll save this for future reference

  14. We are sorry we missed Lafayette on our visit to Louisiana.  It is always interesting to be reminded that Cajun history starts in Nova Scotia.  Hubby would want to try out the craft beer scene.  But I may make him wait until after he has seen the alligators.  The biggest challenge I have with Cajun food is the spices.  I would definitely not be visiting a tabasco factory!  

  15. I must say if it was not for this post I would have not thought of visiting these places so thanks for sharing with a wider audience. Lafayette has so much more to offer then just food and places to see. The culture the people all add to its beauty I must agree. The name itself reflects French influence I must say. Besides its incredible food scene the brewery seems great as well. Thanks for sharing a great post and hope to visit some day. 

  16. I have always enjoyed Cajun flavours, so taking a class from a local chef would be right up my alley. I would make it al point to try as many dishes as possible. And vintage shopping…yes, please!

  17. One of my favorite cities was New Orleans before the big flood. It makes me smile that this eclectic mix of french history, cajun spices and laid back fun city are making a resurgence into the travel market. There is something so genuine about the people there, and very inviting. As always, your photos are fantastic & now makes me want to take a road trip of my own.

  18. I am a big fan of cajun music. It is so happy and lively. Cajun food holds a special place in the edible etymology. I love how the local and African flavors blend with traditional French concepts to form a culinary branch unto itself.

    I would love to see you and Kevin bowling. Jenn and I challenge you next time we meet.

  19. I LOVE how many of these revolve around food, haha! You are really selling me on Lafayette lately, and I’d never heard of it before reading your blog! Personally I’d love to do the airboat. They offer those in Florida too but after all these years I’ve still never tried it !

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