From diving into the Cajun and Creole food, music, and culture, to exploring the swamps, Lafayette, Louisiana offers a rich cultural experience that’s bound to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, this city has something for everyone. With so many amazing things to do, it can be difficult to choose which activities to fit into your itinerary. To make things easier, we’ve created a guide of the 13 best things to do in Lafayette in 2024. So if you’re ready to explore all Lafayette has to offer, keep reading!
13 Things to Do in Lafayette, Louisiana
|Opening and closing time
|Swamps: A National Treasure in Lafayette, LA
|Varies by tour
|Enjoying the Rich History of Lafayette, Louisana
|Varies by location
|Wildlife Sanctuaries and Nature Experiences in Lafayette
|Vermilion National Wildlife Refuge
|Eating Crawfish in Lafayette, Louisiana
|Varies by restaurant
|Exploring the Lafayette Science Museum
|420 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503
|Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum
|201 E Vermilion St, Lafayette, LA 70503
|Experiencing Live Music Events
|Varies by venue
|Going on a Local Food Tour
|Varies by tour
|Admiring the Local Historical Sites
|Varies by location
|Experiencing the Nationally Recognized Festivals
|Varies by festival
|Exploring the Local Wildlife on an Atchafalaya Basin Tour
|Varies by tour
|Touring the Tabasco Factory
|Eating Traditional Cajun Cuisine
|Varies by tour
Swamps: A National Treasure in Lafayette, LA
The Atchafalaya Basin is an incredible example of the natural beauty of Louisiana. Found near Lafayette, this huge delta basin is the largest swamp in the US and provides a wealth of wildlife, flora and fauna to explore. To truly appreciate the area, it’s worth taking a tour of the Atchafalaya Basin with a local guide. You can cruise through the swamp by boat or kayak, or choose to explore on foot with one of the many walking trails available.
This vast expanse of wetland provides a rich source of insight into local culture and heritage. There are people who live on the swamp in houseboats, and a knowledgeable guide is essential to getting the most out of your experience. Learning about the history, culture and life of the locals adds so much to a tour of the swamp – it’s definitely not one to miss.
Enjoying the Rich History of Lafayette, Louisana
Going beyond the Atchafalayas, there are plenty of other interesting things to do in Lafayette related to history and culture. It’s a great place to learn more about the multicultural roots of the South and the traditional Cajun and Creole culture. As well as this, Lafayette offers visitors the chance to delve into its local history, with a range of museums, historic villages and monuments to explore.
At the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, visitors can explore art from the Baroque period to contemporary works from the South. Meanwhile at the Lafayette Science Museum, visitors can discover everything from fossilised sea creatures to WWII memorabilia. There is also the Acadian Memorial, dedicated to remembering and celebrating Acadian culture, as well as several historic churches, plantations and forts to explore.
Wildlife Sanctuaries and Nature Experiences in Lafayette
Louisiana is full of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, bird colonies and botanical gardens that can be seen on any visit to Lafayette. These are great places to observe the state’s natural beauty and rich flora and fauna. Whether you choose to visit Avery Island – home to the original Tabasco Factory – or explore a nearby nature reserve, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in the great outdoors.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, a range of guided tours are available, where you can discover the area by boat or kayak. For those who’d prefer to stay dry, there are lots of opportunities to go wildlife watching or simply wander through the marked trails. Whatever your interest, there’s something for everyone when it comes to enjoying the natural beauty of this part of Louisiana.
Eating Crawfish in Lafayette, Louisiana
Travelling to Lafayette wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the state’s famous food, and crawfish is a major part of the local diet. The boiled seafood is served up at bars and restaurants in huge quantities and an entire day of eating crawfish is a popular activity, especially among the locals.
Then there’s the original Tabasco Factory, located on Avery Island near Lafayette. This is the only place in the world where Tabasco sauce is made, and visitors can tour the factory and learn all about the 150 year-old recipe. Of course, there’s also the chance to sample one of the 28 varieties of Tabasco sauce for yourself.
Whether you’re looking for a cultural or culinary adventure, Lafayette, Louisiana is the perfect destination for a diverse trip that offers plenty to explore. From visiting the swamps to tasting local delicacies, there’s an array of Best Things to Do in Lafayette Louisiana you won’t want to miss.
Exploring the Lafayette Science Museum
If you’re into science and want to educate yourself during your visit to Lafayette, then the Lafayette Science Museum should be at the top of your must-visit list. Here, you can find exhibits related to art, math, science and technology, all presented in an interactive way.
The museum is home to historic artifacts, specimens and replicas of larger items, as well as stunning murals and artwork. You can learn about the physics of motion, explore the world of dinosaurs and sea creatures, and even climb inside a real helicopter!
The museum also features cultural artifacts such as traditional masks, paintings and sculptures that help visitors better understand the many cultures that have shaped the local area. Visiting the Lafayette Science Museum is a great way to immerse yourself in the local history and discoveries.
Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum
In Lafayette, Louisiana, art lovers can experience world-class exhibitions of art and artifacts at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. This gorgeous museum houses collections from around the globe, as well as pieces from local artists.
It features several sculptures, paintings, and photographs for visitors to take in. Special programs such as artist talks, concerts, and curator discussions are also offered. Whether you’re looking for art from the past or something new, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum offers the perfect opportunity to explore the world of art.
Experiencing Live Music Events
Louisiana is well known for its live music scene and the lively downtown of Lafayette is a great place to enjoy some great tunes.Whether you’re into jazz, country, blues, or traditional Cajun music, you will find something to enjoy as there are plenty of live music venues in Lafayette that cater to all styles.
We recently attended a traditional Cajun music festival and we had the time of our life. The atmosphere was electric and the live music performances were absolutely stellar. Everyone was dancing and it was an amazing way to get introduced to the Cajun culture.
Make sure to attend a live music event when in Louisiana as it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and have a great time.
Going on a Local Food Tour
No trip to Lafayette would be complete without indulging in the delectable local food. The city has the perfect blend of Cajun and Creole cuisine, and food tours are one of the best ways to sample the array of flavors. Led by expert guides, these tours allow travelers to gain insight into the unique dishes native to the area, including crawfish, gumbo, and alligator. The tours also provide fantastic opportunities for people to interact with the locals and get a true sense of the city.
Admiring the Local Historical Sites
Lafayette is home to a number of historical sites that are worth visiting. From ancient burial mounds to historic plantations, Lafayette has something to offer to history buffs.
One of the highlights of exploring Lafayette is a visit to the Acadian Village which is a living history museum that provides a glimpse into the day to day lives of the earliest settlers in Louisiana. There are plenty of interactive activities and cultural demonstrations which bring history to life.
Another great historical attraction is Vermilionville, a recreation of an early 1800s Cajun and Creole settlement. Here you can explore a variety of interesting cultural attractions and craft shops, enjoy traditional Cajun food, and even take part in a dance class.
Visiting these historical sites is a great way to learn more about the fascinating Cajun and Creole culture of Lafayette.
Experiencing the Nationally – Recognized Festivals of Lafayette
One of the major highlights of visiting Lafayette is the host of amazing festivals that take place throughout the year. These festivals are renowned for their incredible music, delicious Cajun food, and vibrant atmosphere.
The Festivals Acadiens et Créoles is one of the most popular ones and is held for three days each year in Lafayette. This unique festival celebrates the unique Cajun and Creole culture of the region and features some terrific musical performances.
The Bayou Vermilion District Festival is another great event that showcases the beauty and culture of the region. This two-day festival offers fun activities for the entire family and gives you a great insight into the city’s vibrant culture and heritage. If you want to experience the fascinating culture of Lafayette then attending one of these amazing festivals is a must-do.
Exploring the Local Wildlife on an Atchafalaya Basin Tour
When travelling to Lafayette, Louisiana, exploring the local wildlife through an Atchafalaya Basin Tour is a must-do experience. The largest river swamp in the United States awaits those who are looking to get lost in nature and discover hidden gems in the area.
Our personal tour was arranged with a family-owned eco business that offered us a 90-minute slow boat tour to discover the stunning landscape. Boats are the perfect way to witness the stunning delta basin while keeping your feet dry.
We were lucky enough to have our very own Skip, who was a local and grew up around the swamp his whole life, which made the experience even more special. He provided us with endless knowledge about the history, culture and the local people living on the swamp, which we wouldn’t have been able to find out any other way!
No matter what your interests are, make sure to add a swamp tour to your bucket list when visiting Southern USA.
Touring the Tabasco Factory
Visiting the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island is a must-do activity for everyone looking to explore the Lafayette area. Located near Lafayette, you can take a deep dive into the history of the famous hot sauce brand that has been around since 1868.
A one-of-a-kind tour awaits visitors to the factory, who can learn all about the production process and the ingredients used, which have not changed much in over 150 years!
The chili mash ferments in whiskey barrels for three years, then it is mixed with vinegar for a month and finally bottled and distributed.
Not only do visitors learn about the history, but they can also wander the beautiful grounds and take gorgeous photos. Whether you love hot sauce or simply curious to find out more, the Tabasco Factory tour is definitely one of the best things to do in this part of Louisiana.
Eating Traditional Cajun Cuisine
No trip to Louisiana would be complete without trying some Cajun cuisine. Cajun cooking has a unique flavor that combines traditional French, Spanish and Indigenous American recipes. Crawfish is easily the most popular dish and it’s an absolute must-try when in Lafayette.
We had the pleasure of joining a local for dinner who taught us how to eat the famous crawfish. It was a very special experience and we soon realized why this is so popular among locals. You first have to make sure you peel off the shell, tail section and antennae to get to the good stuff. It was quite a learning experience but definitely worth it.
We highly recommend trying traditional Cajun cuisine in Lafayette as it’s truly a unique experience.
The diversity of things to do in Lafayette truly opened our eyes about the culture and the natural beauty of the area. From learning about Cajun culture, to visiting the Tabasco Factory, to exploring the swamps, there is something for everyone here. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the variety of activities on offer, and we’d love to hear what experience you have when you visit Lafayette!