Top Ten Scenic Drives in the United States

Central: Into the Bayou: Old Spanish Trail, Louisiana

This Cajun-style road trip begins in Houma on the Bayou Black Drive, retracing a section of a nineteenth-century Spanish frontier trail. Flanked by sugarcane fields and live oaks dripping with moss, the byway runs past swamp tours offering glimpses of Louisiana wildlife—everything from otters, deer, and bobcats to peacocks, wild pigs, and (of course) alligators.

Louisiana's coastal bayou and forested wetlands are rich with lush plant and animal life. Also of note along the drive are the many old-South mansions: Both Turn of the Century House and Shadows on the Teche offer a link to the past, presenting displays of antique furnishings, Mardi Gras costumes, and other local artifacts. Alongside these antebellum estates are communities shaped by the arrival of French-speaking Acadians—expelled from colonial Nova Scotia by the British in 1755—and the immigration of French expatriates, who fled during the Revolution of 1789. St. Martinville, also known as "Petit Paris," is just a few miles before the trip's end in Breaux Bridge.

Just the Facts

Route: West along the gulf coast from Houma to Breaux Bridge

Length: 108 miles (three hours)

Season: Spring and fall

Features and activities: Cajun cuisine at Houma, swamp tours in the Atchafalaya Basin, and alligator viewing at Wildlife Gardens.

More Louisiana Scenic Drives



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