Louisiana is a state unlike any other with its mix of French, African, and Canadian culture, creole food, and extraordinary landscapes. The area is a melting pot of past traditions mixed with the current way of life.
If you ever find yourself on a road trip through Louisiana there is no shortage of activities to do. Visit the French Quarter in New Orleans, take an air boat on the bayou, or sit back and enjoy some jazz.
There are no National Parks in the state of Louisiana. But, the National Park Service operates a number of historic parks, heritage sites, preserves, and monuments in the state. Each of these are worth taking a visit and will give you a time-honored view into the past.
Louisiana National Park Affiliated Sites
- Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
- Cane River National Heritage Area
- Cane River Creole National Historical Park
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park And Preserve
- New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park
- Poverty Point National Monument
- Vicksburg National Military Park
Atchafalaya National Heritage Area
Variety is the word that comes to mind whenever one pays a visit to the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. That comes as no surprise given that Atchafalaya sprawls across 14 Louisiana parishes.
While exploring the area, you’ll get a chance to marvel at the rivers and bayous that almost feature an eerie kind of calm. Don’t get too close however as there may be alligators waiting to pounce beneath the seemingly serene surface of the water.
The enormous swamp in the area is a sight to behold as well.
When you’re not drawn in too close by the swamps, rivers, and bayous, you’ll be able to see the stretches of cotton and sugar cane fields covering the area. Look up and you’ll also see impressive trees that have thrived in the wilderness.
Cane River National Heritage Area
Paying a visit to Cane River National Heritage Area is like journeying back to an era long past. What you’ll find populating the landscape of this heritage area are numerous structures and establishments born from a time of great significance in this country’s history.
Take a stroll around the park and you’ll spot all kinds of interesting examples of old world architecture. See colonial era homes and forts as you go from one place to the next. The ruins of old towns also remain part of the Cane River landscape.
If you wish to learn more about this Louisiana heritage area, you can head to the Grand Ecore Visitor Center. The Grand Ecore Visitor Center is located to the north of historic Natchitoches.
Cane River Creole National Historical Park
The history of slavery in this country is one well worth learning more about. You can do so by going to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.
While at the park, you can visit either the Magnolia or Oakland plantations. Both plantations have been carefully preserved so that they can convey the history of the area as accurately as possible.
Learn about the slaves and slave owners who operated the plantations. Hear about the stories and understand why the lessons of the past must still be heard today.
You can find visitor centers at both the Magnolia and Oakland plantations. Take part in a guided tour if you want to find out more about this historic location.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park And Preserve
Jean Latiffe, a pirate turned defender of New Orleans, left a huge impression on Louisiana back in the 1800s. These days, his name still rings familiar to residents of the Creole State.
The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is full of great places to visit.
Drop by the French Quarter Visitor Center or the Chalmette Battlefield if you wish to find out more about the history of the area. The different cultural centers in the area will also give visitors a taste of what life is like in Louisiana.
When you’re done learning about history and immersing yourself in Cajun culture, head to the Barataria Preserve and get a closer look at the amazing wildlife native to the area.
New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park
Jazz is an art form synonymous with the state of Louisiana. If you’re a big fan of that musical genre, a visit to the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park should be on your bucket list.
The park is dedicated to the goal of preserving jazz and ensuring that it will continue to evolve in the hands of younger generations. On top of that, the park also takes you back into the past.
During your visit to the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, you’ll be able to learn more about how this musical genre came to be. Also track the transformations jazz has undergone through the years and gain a deeper appreciation for how important it is to American culture.
Poverty Point National Monument
Of the many historical sites that line the Louisiana landscape, one can argue that Poverty Point is the most unique.
The site, which is believed to have been created more than 3000 years ago, is a testament to human ingenuity. Even at a time when people lacked the tools that make construction a more manageable process today, they were able to create such a complex and well-crafted hub for trading.
There’s still a debate about how Poverty Point was used in other ways back when it was a hub for activity. Some suggest that it may have served as a place where people lived while others speculate that it could have been a place that held spiritual significance.
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park is perhaps most notable for the significance it held during the Civil War. Both the Union and the Confederacy regarded Vicksburg as a strategically important location back then.
The Battle of Vicksburg was ultimately won by the Union. Today, you can visit the park and learn more about the great battle that took place there many years ago.
Numerous monuments and memorials can be found throughout Vicksburg National Military Park. Examine them closely and find out more about the ultimate sacrifice that many soldiers made during the height of the war.
Feel free to also participate in a guided tour if you wish to get a better feel for what this old battlefield witnessed.
National Trails In Louisiana
- El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail