Set on the southern shores of the Bayou State, the Cajun Coast of Louisiana is a land of diverse culture, rich history, and endless ways to enjoy the outdoors. Covering 700 miles of forests and wetlands, this part of Louisiana (also known as St. Mary Parish) offers first-rate birding and fishing, trails to hike, and waterways to paddle. Home to charming towns like Franklin, and Morgan City, region also offers fresh-from-the-dock seafood and an array of other activities. Discover the many things to do in Louisiana's Cajun Coast below and start planning your next getaway here.
The Cajun Coast is one of the best places to go bird watching in Louisiana.
With more than 300 species of birds to spot, there are a plethora of opportunities to catch a sight of these graceful creatures.
You might even spot an American Bald Eagle in the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp, the nation’s largest river swamp.
Other popular areas to go birdwatching include the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge and Boardwalk or the St. Mary Loop Birding Trail, which guides you through a variety of wetlands ideal for birding.
Be sure to check out the Annual Eagle Expo in February, which offers boat tours for viewing, presentations, and much more.
Journey deep into the Atchafalaya Basin on a one-of-a-kind, three-hour adventure with Captain Caviar Swamp Tours. Explore the waterways of southern Louisiana and take in all the breathtaking scenery as you keep an eye out for alligators, black bears, turtles, hawks, woodpeckers, ospreys, and more. The fun-for-all-ages tour includes complimentary water, and you can even bring your own adult beverages if you’re older than 21.
For the kind of experience you can only have in Louisiana, hop aboard a kayak to paddle through the picturesque waterways of the Cajun Coast. For a list of trails and information, enlist the help of Cajun Coast Paddling Trails. The trails, ranging from easy to challenging, wind through these swamplands and unlock the natural beauty of Southern Louisiana and the Cajun Coast. Paddle along and you just may spot alligators, turtles, herons, and a host of other animals. Looking for a more fast-paced experience? Spectate or participate in the Tour du Teche 135, an annual race for canoes, kayaks, and pirogues through the Bayou Teche, or the Lower Atchafalaya River Sprint, a series of three-mile races for kayaks and canoes.
Forgot your canoe or kayak at home? Rent one from Lake End Rentals.
No trip to Louisiana would be complete without a stop at the area casino. Fortunately, the Cajun Coast is home to two casinos ready for your lucky hand! Head over to the Amelia Belle Casino, where you’ll find more than 800 slots and table games including blackjack, roulette, three-card poker, craps, and much more. If you’re looking to extend your casino playing time, the Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel has table games, slots, restaurants, plus a hotel you can stay in!
With its bounding fairways lined by towering oaks, abundance of water features, and approachable layout, it’s no wonder the Atchafalaya at Idlewild is one of the best public courses in Louisiana (according to Golf Digest and Golfweek).
The championship layout offers a challenging round for skilled golfers, while the variety of tee boxes on the 18-hole course makes it accessible to all players.
Fun fact: each of the 18 championship holes is named for a cultural feature within the Basin where over 40 species of indigenous flora thrive. Can’t wait to hit the links? Tee times are available on the course’s website.
No matter your hobby or interest, there’s sure to be an annual Cajun Coast event that piques your interest. There’s nothing like a Louisiana fall, especially in October when many of the region’s events take place. Take your pick from a canoe/kayak challenge at Tour du Teche 135, a unique cultural experience at the Chitimacha Powwow, or the Berwick Lighthouse Festival, complete with carnival rides, live music, and arts and crafts. If food, fireworks, and parades are more your style, mark your calendar for the Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival held every August.
St. Mary Parish’s story begins with its founding in 1811, a year before Louisiana became a state. Yet even before the first explorers arrived in the 17th century, the Bayou State was home to the Choctaw and Natchez nations, and the Caddo Confederacy. Uncover these hundreds of years of history as you explore the Cajun Coast, starting at the Chitimacha Museum. Learn about the southern Louisiana tribe’s history and heritage through exhibits that document their customs and lifestyles. Known as one of the finest basket makers in North America, the Chitimacha still practice the art to this day.
For a look at what life was like in the Cajun Coast in the mid-1800’s, stop by the Grevemberg House Museum. The home, an impressive Greek Revival townhouse built in 1851, showcases fine antiques and artifacts from the parish’s early days. If that weren’t enough, the towns of Franklin and Morgan City are home to hundreds of historical structures, ranging from breathtaking Victorian homes to grand churches.