Design your own uniquely Louisiana road trip with current destination information, routed scenic byways, itinerary planning hacks, and a wealth of resources.


I was a guest of New Orleans Plantation Country, Lafayette TravelTour AscensionToledo Bend Lake CountryNatchitoches CVB, and St. Landry Parish Tourist Commissionbut all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Design Your Own Louisiana Road Trip


When I explore backroads, my MO is pretty basic. I enjoy the scenic views, keep an eye out for historic sites, and hope for intriguing roadside discoveries.

Perhaps that is why driving Louisiana ranks so high on my list. There is so much to see along the roadways. Don’t even ask me how many times during my Louisiana travels I have pulled over to read a historical marker, admire a plantation home, or shoot an abandoned shack.

I have lost count.

Typically, when I write state or regional round-up posts like this one, I connect the destinations I visited with an itinerary route, such as those in my Southern Mississippi Road Trip and North Texas Road Trip posts.

Because my Louisiana travels plotted on a map resemble a shotgun blast more than a linear flow, I decided to switch it up a bit. Rather than share a specific route or itinerary, I thought it better to provide a collection of destination and route resources to help readers design a Louisiana road trip of their own.


Louisiana’s River Road Plantations


One of the earliest, yet still popular stories published on Backroad Planet was an account of a day trip Jerry and I did along Louisiana’s River Road Plantations.

We were staying in New Orleans while on a spring break road trip from Central Florida and took a day to get out of town to discover Louisiana’s legendary plantation homes for ourselves.

This post details a one-day itinerary for a loop day trip to seven plantations located along both banks of the Mississippi River: Oak Alley, Laura, Nottoway, Houmas, Tezcuco, San Francisco, and Destrehan. Descriptions of each property and a route map are included.

Note: Although we were able to walk the grounds at Nottoway and Oak Alley, this day trip itinerary does not allow time for plantation home tours. To include tours, I recommend an overnight stay at The Inn at Houmas House and making it a 2-day trip instead. A photo-intensive description of the property is included in our Explore Ascension Parish, Louisiana, post.


A Louisiana River Road Plantation Driving Tour


Three years later, on a return to Louisiana, I had the opportunity to scout even more historic homes and designed A Louisiana River Road Plantations Driving Tour. All of the included plantations are located in Ascension Parish, and this driving tour would perfectly complement a visit to historic Donaldsonville and modern Gonzales, the Jambalaya Capital of the World.

Click the following bulleted list to visit specific sites along the Louisiana River Road driving tour:

 


Plantation Tours that Interpret the Slave Experience


Traditionally, plantation home tours have interpreted history from the perspective of wealthy landowners. Some guides put a romantic spin on their narration, speaking of hoop skirts, mint juleps, magnolias, and other elements of stereotypical Southern culture.

In recent years, however, some plantations have begun to tell the stories of former enslaved residents who built the mansions, worked the cane fields, and served the masters who owned them. The following Louisiana plantation tours interpret the slave experience and do it well:

 

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