What’s better than a staycation in Sportsman’s Paradise or a quick trip out-of-state? For those of us not interested in traveling abroad, there are plenty of beautiful and interesting places to visit that are just a short drive away–let’s explore together!
Several years ago, New Orleans was named the best city in America for a family trip. So, what’s there to do? First things first, New Orleans is steeped in history, culture, and delicious food. Have your pick of walking or driving tours to see haunted houses, sample restaurants, or just appreciate the mix of French and Spanish architecture. Take advantage of the streetcar system and more to immerse yourself in the charm of New Orleans.
Want to bring the grandkids on a learning experience or just go on your own? The Louisiana Children’s Museum, Audubon’s Zoo, Aquarium, and Butterfly Garden and Insectarium are all excellent places to visit. To top it off, stop at City Park to play mini golf, explore Storyland, or have a snack at Café du Monde. With 1,300 acres to run and play, there is something for everyone. Need to know more about places to go and events to attend? Check out New Orleans’s official tourism website, neworleans.com.
Our state capital is a place of beauty, history, and entertainment. Your trip here could begin with touring the Louisiana State Capitol, the Old Louisiana State Capitol, or the Governor’s Mansion. Explore LSU’s campus to see Mike the Tiger, or see a whole host of animals at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. Go back in time by visiting the Rural Life Museum, and dive into the beauty of life at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. For all the foodies, enjoy a multitude of exciting and innovative restaurants, cafes, and bars for all your breakfast, lunch, and dinner needs. To learn more about what Baton Rouge has to offer, visit visitbatonrouge.com.
This town may be quaint, but it’s a shopping hub and a great place to tour historical sites. Rent a room and partake in a meal at the St. Francisville Inn or the Butler Greenwood Plantation Bed & Breakfast. Then, start your day by window shopping on Main Street to peruse beautiful antiques, clothes, art, and other decor. Afterwards, take a tour or two of antebellum homes, cottages, and plantations like the notoriously haunted Myrtle Plantation or the Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site. There are also plenty of gardens to pop into like the Afton Villa Gardens, known for its hundreds of azaleas. Plan your trip to see the sights at stfrancisville.net.
Natchitoches is the perfect place to balance spending time in nature and appreciating film culture. The city was put on the map after the filming of Steel Magnolias. Today, you can take a tour to see each filming location.
However, that’s not all there is to do. Drive through the Louisiana Scenic Byway that makes up the Cane River National Heritage Trail. Take a leisurely boat tour via Cane River Queen’s vessel, or rent a house on Cane River before zipping back into the city to explore Main Street’s many shops and restaurants. Get the scoop about Louisiana’s oldest city using natchitoches.com.
Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi
Natchez and Vicksburg are for the active folks who love to explore nature, be immersed in history, and enjoy the finer things in life. Natchez implores you to drive or bike the Natchez Trace Parkway, visit the Natchez State Park, or play at the Duncan Park Golf Club.
In contrast, Vicksburg is a hub of entertainment. By day, tour antebellum homes and mansions, museums, historic sites, churches, and cemeteries. By nightfall, the city comes to life with lights. Boasting four world-class casinos, 115 restaurants, and lines of shops downtown, Vicksburg is the perfect place to live it up. Plan your next great escapade through visitnatchez.org or visitvicksburg.com.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Looking to relax? Hot Springs, Arkansas has you covered. A city tucked neatly into the Ouachita Mountains, there are plenty of things to do in Hot Springs. Rent a room at a resort, a condo, or a house on Lake Hamilton to enjoy fishing, boating, and jet skiing. Hot Springs National Park offers you the chance to hike or bike through winding mountain trails. If you’re looking to mellow out on your trip instead, visit the local spas to take a dip in the hot springs and have a wonderful massage. Local stores offer you a variety of shopping experiences to enjoy as well. Learn more about cruising towards a soothing escape (or your next exciting adventure!) by visiting hotsprings.org.
[vc_separator][vc_column_text]By Anthony Bui