Whether you’re a local or just visiting our corner of Acadiana for a day (or two), there are so many adventures to discover in St. Martin Parish. From spellbinding swamps teeming with wildlife to culturally enriching museums, murals, and some unforgettable places to eat, we’ve got everything you need for the perfect trip to Cajun Country.
A great way to get to know St. Martin Parish is by taking a closer look at the swamps and waterways that provide important natural habitats for countless species of plants and animals, particularly birds. The Cypress Island Nature Preserve at Lake Martin is home to one of Louisiana’s most biodiverse ecosystems, including a natural rookery that welcomes thousands of nesting egrets, herons, and majestic roseate spoonbills each year. You can drive around Lake Martin’s perimeter and spot turtles, snakes, and alligators especially without ever leaving your car. But that’s hardly the only place you’ll find them. When the largest wetland in the U.S. happens to be right here in the Atchafalaya Basin, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave without spotting at least one scaly ten-footer. Take a guided tour of America’s greatest swamp with a local professional like McGee's Swamp Tours, you’re guaranteed to see a gator or two. For an unforgettable experience that’s fun for the whole family, tour the basin by airboat with Atchafalaya Basin Landing & Swamp Tours.
Zydeco breakfast at Buck and Johnny's is the perfect start to a Saturday in Cajun Country. Couples take to the dance floor while musicians like Corey Ledet and Chubby Carrier, play Zydeco and Cajun music. All that dancing makes for a hungry stomach, make sure you try the boudin-stuffed omelet, grilled boudin, or crawfish étouffée grits. You’re guaranteed to leave with a full belly and some awesome stories to tell friends back home. Talk to enough fans of Louisiana beer, and Bayou Teche Brewing will likely come up. It’s one of the most popular labels in the state, and it’s brewed in the small town of Arnaudville. Visit the brewery yourself and take a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour, where you’ll learn all about how Bayou Teche makes its phenomenal beers.
If you have a passion for discovering local works of art, or antique shopping, St. Martin Parish has a great selection of quaint shops waiting for you. Start your shopping adventures at Louisiana Marketshops at the 115, right off Interstate 10 in Henderson, you can’t miss the bright, yellow exterior. This is where you’ll find all-local crafts and one-of-a-kind items that make perfect gifts to take back home from your travels. Just down the way in the “Crawfish Capital of the World”, Breaux Bridge’s Lagniappe Antique Mall simply oozes small town charm-although there’s nothing small about the 17,000 square feet of art, antiques, and collectibles inside. In neighboring Arnaudville, you’ll find NUNU Arts and Culture Collective showcasing mixed-media work by local artisans.
There are, of course, many other places you can go to browse for goods. Find out more here.
We’re not called “Where Cajun Began™” for nothing! Our history is alive and well in St. Martin, where many residents can trace their family tree back to the three thousand Acadian men, women, and children who found refuge in Acadiana after the British forced them into exile from Acadie. The Museum of the Acadian Memorial and the African American Museum, both located in the St. Martinville Cultural Heritage Center, unpack the origins of Acadiana’s rich cultural heritage in history, literature, and artifacts. The African American Museum tells the story of the arrival of the Africans and the development of the free people of color community in Southwest Louisiana in the mid-1700s.
There’s more, the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site in St. Martinville presents an authentic recreation of the ways in which early Acadians lived and worked; and on St. Martin Square, tour St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, founded in 1765, it’s one of the oldest Catholic Churches in American and the third oldest in Louisiana.