5 Things to Do in Gonzales & Ascension Parish | Tour Louisiana

Things to Do in Gonzales & Ascension Parish

Stroll through historic plantation grounds, dance and eat the day away at the famous Jambalaya Festival, and meander along the Mississippi River. These are just a few of the many things to do in Ascension Parish. Home to the towns of Gonzales, Donaldsonville, and Sorrento, the parish is steeped in history and offers plenty of compelling places to dine, shop, and explore. Whether you’re driving through the “Bayou State” or unloading your bags at an elegant bed & breakfast, don’t miss out on the sights, sounds, and tastes of Ascension Parish.

Embrace History at the River Road Plantations

Any stay or stop in Ascension Parish, and you have to check out the famous River Road Plantations elegantly situated throughout the region. While some plantations are drive-by only, others offer a deep look into the past with guided tours. First stop? Houmas House, built in 1840. Here, you’ll learn about sugar cane farming, Civil War appearances, formal gardens, and more.

St. Emma Plantation in Donaldsonville, built in the 1840’s, was a leading sugar cane plantation of its day. It was also the site of the Battle of Koch’s Plantation, a one-sided Confederate victory during the Civil War.

Each of the River Road Plantations have their own stories to tell, providing a glimpse into a different era of American history. 

Experience the Famous Jambalaya Festival

Your senses will lead you straight to the Jambalaya Festival, held each Memorial Day weekend in Gonzales. This family-friendly event features World Champion Jambalaya served throughout the weekend. Yet there’s far more to this festival than the savory tastes of Louisiana’s most famous dish.

Try your hand at winning a prize from one of the Midway games and soar on the Ferris wheel and other carnival rides. Tuck into a wide array of foods or take a cooking class. Don’t miss out on any of the live music playing throughout the festival.

If you’re looking to experience the one-of-a-kind culture of southern Louisiana all in one place, stop by the Gonzales’ Jambalaya Festival.

Discover the Arts of Ascension

Ascension Parish is home to a variety of art and artists.

One of the region’s most famous artists is Alvin Batiste, a self-taught folk artist whose work has been critically acclaimed.

Explore Alvin’s art in his own studio and frame shop, where you might catch him working on his next masterpiece.

For more art, check out the River Region Art Gallery in Darrow to see more works by local artists.

Then stroll through the River Road African American Museum to learn more about the community that played a key role Louisiana’s sugar cane country.

Explore the Bayou Outdoors

If the outdoors is calling your name, soak up the sun as you explore Louisiana’s riverfront in Ascension Parish.

Start off your day with a game of golf at Pelican Point Golf Course in Gonzales, an 18-hole, British-style design—with Louisiana flair, of course. Play your way through what was once a sugar cane farm, taking in all the natural splender as you try to keep your score down.

After a round of golf and some time spent browsing the outdoor shops at Tanger Outlet Center, visit Donaldsonville Riverwalk/Crescent Park.

Here, you’ll enjoy the breeze flowing between massive oak trees and the charming paved path alongside the Mississippi River. Gaze out at the waterway and you'll see river boats passing by, just as they have for decades before.

Dine with the Locals

Did someone say turtle soup? Some of Louisiana’s best dining is right here in Ascension Parish. Even the plantations offer a unique way to treat yourself. Houmas House, for example, has five bars and restaurants that serve traditional Louisiana cuisine and abundant Southern hospitality.

For another authentic dining experience, stop by Café La Fourche (On the Bayou) for some home cooking you won’t get anywhere else but Louisiana. Travel throughout the parish and you’ll come across Asian, French, Greek, Mexican, and other kinds of cuisine.

Needless to say, you’ll need your appetite when you visit Ascension Parish.

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Contact Information
6967 Highway 22
Sorrento, LA 70778
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