I'm all about finding places to explore that are off the beaten path, and Louisiana offers a whole lot of those. Only in Louisiana has found some exceptionally cool places to visit around our state, and you've probably not heard much about them. So take some time to explore things in your own backyard, with these amazing travel destinations in the Bayou State!

  • Kiroli Park - 820 Kiroli Rd., West Monroe. 150 acres of beautiful foliage, playgrounds, and a dog park. A little oasis of tranquility right in the middle of West Monroe
  • Briarwood - 216 Caroline Dorman Rd., Saline. The former home of  famed botanist Caroline Dorman, this unique dwelling is in the middle of the beautiful Kisatchie National Forest, which she was instrumental in preserving for future generations
  • Rock Chapel - 1746 Smithport Rd., Mansfield. Built in 1891 by Carmelite monks, it is the only building still standing after a fire in 1904 at the monastery
  • Abita Mystery House - 22275 Hwy. 36, Abita Springs. This crazy little house/gift shop/museum is full of treasures and artifacts that are unique to Louisiana. It's a lot of fun to visit!
  • USS Orieck - 604 N Enterprise Blvd., Lake Charles. One of the most decorated WWll Navy ships, you can now take a tour, and even play laser tag on board!
  • Acadian Village - 200 Greenleaf Dr., Lafayette. Not really a secret to us here in Acadiana, but still a charming spot to drink in what it must have been like for our ancestors to live in a century ago. Beautiful setting that's also used for weddings and movie sets.
  • Walter B Jacobs Memorial Nature Park - 8012 Blanchard Furrh Rd., Shreveport. Hiking trails and an outdoor aviary make this peaceful spot a place to unwind in the middle of all the big city chaos
  • St Elizabeth's - 1314 Napoleon, New Orleans. Originally built in 1865 as a boarding school, then converted to an orphanage in 1870, and it eventually became the residence of author Anne Rice. It's now upscale condos right on the Mardi Gras parade route. The photo above is of the Sunset Blvd guest bedroom in the residence.