Louisiana tourism is centered on New Orleans and the North Shore region in the southeastern corner of the state near the Florida border. West of New Orleans is the Great River Road, with the I-10 running to the Mississippi River port capital city of Baton Rogue. West of New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico, the I-10 cuts through Lafayette and Lake Charles on its way past Abbeville to Texas. Central Louisiana is Lake Country, and home to cities like Alexandria and Natchitoches. In northern Louisiana, the I-20 runs west from Monroe to Bossier City, Shreveport, and East Texas.
Unless Louisiana is very familiar and frequent territory, New Orleans will be the top choice for a Louisiana vacation. Though Mardi Gras, music, and the winning ways of the New Orleans Saints football team get the spotlight, there is much more to explore in New Orleans. Within New Orleans choose among Bourbon Street, Royal Street, the Upper and Lower French Quarters, the Warehouse and Central Business District, the Garden District and Uptown, and Mid-City. With street car lines linking the French Quarter to the Garden District, Convention Center, and everywhere else, it is easy for the whole family to get around. If long walks are your exercise, explore the scenic city on foot.
An easy two-hour drive from New Orleans brings you to Baton Rogue, Natchitoches and Lake Country. Explore old Beauregard Town in downtown Baton Rogue, the historic homes of the Baton Rogue Garden District, and tour one or several working plantations. Walk the 33-block Historic Landmark District and tour the historic homes and churches of Natchitoches. Relive Spanish Empire history in Louisiana at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site.
Heading west from New Orleans is Cajun Country and Lafayette with its mix of French, French Canadian (Acadian), Spanish, and Caribbean cultures. Besides Cajun and Creole cookery, explore the Civil War heritage at the Lafayette Museum. Stop by Abbeville to view the courthouse designed by Hayes Town, St. Mary Magdalen Church, and have a seafood meal. With 75 annual festivals Lake Charles is Louisiana's Festival City, and home to the Creole Nature Trail Scenic Byway.
Shreveport and Bossier City in northwest Louisiana are casino and entertainment centers. Shreveport is renowned for hosting the Louisiana State Fair in the fall. Plus floral centers, art galleries, and museums. Monroe in the northeast also has notable gardens.