This is the place where lazy moss hangs from old cypress trees. Where boats create ripples in the water as fishing lines are cast out. Where accordion music drifts through the night air alongside the shuffling of dancing shoes. Where crawfish are eaten by the bucket loads and birds nest over swampy bayous. This is St. Martin Parish in Southern Louisiana, just west of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Plan to stay a while to take full advantage of all the visitor areas in St. Martin Parish—Arnaudville, Breaux Bridge, Henderson, Butte La Rose, Lake Martin, and St. Martinville (the parish seat). These highlights traverse three geological areas for you to explore—the Atchafalaya Basin, the Bayou Teche, and the prairie. When you visit St. Martin Parish, you’ll see swamps, seas of cypress tree stumps, sugar cane fields, rivers, lakes. Don’t forget about the plethora of wildlife like fish, crabs, crawfish, shrimp, alligators, turtles, frogs, and hundreds of species of birds, including the largest wintering population of American woodcock in North America.
Take a swamp tour for an adventure on the water unlike any you’ve ever had. Experienced guides and entertaining storytellers take you out to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. The long list of companies that offer these tours provide airboat rides, ecotours, guided photography tours, canoe trips, sunset tours, nighttime swamp tours, and customized excursions. You name it and they do it here. You can even rent a houseboat and overnight right on the swamp.
Kayak the winding 123-mile Bayou Teche, home to annual river races like the Tour du Teche. A day on the river is a fun experience for all levels and provides the perfect excuse to unplug for a weekend surrounded by nature. Camp out, rent a cabin, or park your RV for nights filled with bright stars, melted s’mores, and tall tales around the campfire.
St. Martin Parish is “where Cajun began,” so this is definitely the place to partake in all the food, music, and culture Louisiana is known for. Breaux Bridge is “The Crawfish Capital of the World” and home to the annual Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival each May. Visit Breaux Bridge’s famous restaurants where you can eat crawfish served up all kinds of delicious ways. Ready your appetite, because all throughout St. Martin Parish, you’ll find an abundance of restaurants that dish out traditional Cajun and Creole cuisine.
French settlers arrived in this area around 1765. They were called “Acadians” and today we say “Cajun.” Immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the region’s culture at annual events like the Acadian Memorial Heritage Festival and National Day of the Acadians. Participate in weekly events like Saturday
Stop in at The Museum of the Acadian Memorial for an in-depth look at Cajun culture, then swing by Evangeline Oak to learn the myth of Bayou Teche’s star-crossed lovers.
The list of things to do in St. Martin Parish goes on. One thing’s for sure—this Southern Louisiana destination features authentic attractions and experiences only found there.