Louisiana is one of the most interesting of the 50 states in the United States of America. Located in the southeastern corner of the country, it’s bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas.
The history of the state is rich, from the first immigrants to make their way to Louisiana to the history following the acquisition of the Louisiana territory.
Tourists and residents alike can enjoy some of the most exciting events and tastiest cuisines that Louisiana has to offer in a variety of locations throughout the state.
From exciting football games to Mardi Gras, there is a little something for everyone in The Pelican State. Check out our comprehensive list of what to see, where to stay, and how to make the most of your travel experiences in Louisiana.
Why You Should Visit Louisiana
Louisiana is a culturally diverse state with incredible geography and some of the country’s oldest and most exciting cities. In New Orleans, you can visit the French Quarter and Jackson Square, which have become synonymous with excellent parties.
The Crescent City offers some of the best restaurants, live music, and notable architecture. In addition to the famous New Orleans, tours to the state can also visit Baton Rouge.
In Baton Rouge, you can stop by the Louisiana State University campus and check out their live tiger mascot that lives in a vast enclosure at the school.
Baton Rouge is also the state’s capital, so you can tour the history and learn more about one of Louisiana’s most fascinating political figures, Huey “The Kingfish” Long.
If you’re more interested in experiencing the outdoors and learning more about the state’s natural ecosystem, tour the lowlands and marshes to see the state’s most famous bird, the pelican. Many nature preserves and beautiful coastal regions are open for visitors to see and enjoy.
Whether you’re looking to buy a drink from Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street or to explore The Louisiana Gulf Coast, there’s something for everyone in this vast and diverse state.
Overall Best Time to Visit Louisiana
Overall, the best time to visit Louisiana is during autumn. One caveat is if you plan to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which takes place in late February.
However, for the best weather, reasonable crowds, and the most activities, the best time to visit Louisiana is between September and November.
For football fans, the fall in Louisiana offers multiple colleges and professional athletes options.
The New Orleans Saints take the field at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on any given Sunday. The Superdome is conveniently located within walking distance of the French Quarter, so you can spend an entire weekend exploring that area.
In addition to the professionals, you can check out college football at LSU or watch the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Furthermore, Halloween is a citywide event in New Orleans, so if you choose to visit in October, prepare to bring your best costume and be wowed by the residents who embrace the holiday and extrapolate on the area’s culture.
The weather is warm but mild in autumn, so it’s a great time to visit. You can still wear shorts during the day, and only need a light coat in the evenings.
Cheapest Time to Visit Louisiana
Depending on your adventure agenda, Louisiana can be very cost-effective for travelers on a budget. July and August may be the cheapest time to visit Louisiana.
July and August are the cheapest months to fly and stay in cities like New Orleans. That’s primarily because of the summer heat that can reach into the upper 90s in southern Louisiana.
You can also save money by branching away from the larger cities and visiting other landmarks in the state. For instance, check out Honey Island swamp in Slidell or The Jungle Gardens on Avery Island.
Least Busy Time to Visit Louisiana
For visitors who prefer smaller crowds, July and August are a less busy time to visit Louisiana. It’s hot and humid, but it’s beautiful this time of year.
With Mardi Gras parades happening most of February and football games taking up three months in the fall, the summer months of July and August are the best time to visit to avoid crowds.
Remember to pack sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat and be prepared for it to be hot.
Another great time to visit Louisiana when the crowds have diminished is the week immediately following Fat Tuesday–the conclusion of Mardi Gras festivities in the city.
While you may not experience the same vibrancy that New Orleans is known for, you can walk down the street with a little space between you and your neighbor.
Worst Time to Visit Louisiana
The last two weeks of February (Mardi Gras) are the worst time to visit if you’re hoping for a laid-back trip. Summertime may be the worst if you’re sensitive to the heat.
There is no bad time to visit Louisiana; however, it depends on what you want your travel experience to be. If you’re traveling with family, then avoid New Orleans during the last two weeks of February.
Similarly, if you’re going to visit Baton Rouge for its historical significance, you may want to avoid going into town on a Saturday when LSU is playing Ole Miss.
With that being said, there are some things that you should consider when planning your trip to Louisiana. For instance, the summers are very hot so if you are intolerant of humid weather, then avoid attending June, July, or August.
Additionally, Louisiana is often subject to hurricanes. There is a hurricane season, mostly around November, that tourists should be aware of in planning a trip.
Things to Consider
Below are some of the most important things to consider when planning your trip during the best time to visit Louisiana.
What do you want to experience on your trip?
If you’re looking for an exciting party, plan your trip around New Orleans, especially the French quarter. If you want to enjoy live music from local artists, then head down to Frenchmen Street.
Altogether different and out of the city, if you want to see regal plantation homes, plan a trip to Vacherie or White Castle.
If you’re planning a family-friendly vacation, then plan to spend more time on the water. You can take a riverboat or swamp tour. Additionally, there are excellent museums in the state, like the Ripleys Believe It or Not Museum in New Orleans and The Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge.
How many days will you be in the state?
In order to completely fill your itinerary and experience everything the state has to offer, we recommend planning an itinerary that is at least four days long.
Finding a central city and then branching out to other localities to tour unique venues is a great option. For instance, if you make your home base New Orleans, then it’s relatively easy to drive out to the Abita Brewery over one of the longest bridges in the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the best time to visit Louisiana:
What should I pack?
Everyone should bring two important toiletries to New Orleans: High-quality sunscreen and plenty of bug spray. That’s especially true if you plan to tour any of the swamps or geographical lowlands in the southern part of the state.
Another essential thing to consider as you pack is to bring layers of clothes. It can get pretty warm during the day but also fairly chilly at night, so a light sweater or jacket must be comfortable no matter the time of day.
Well-worn, comfortable shoes are very important if you want to be able to walk around cities or marshes across the states. Remember to leave extra space in your luggage to bring home treasures you find while exploring Louisiana.
What are some must-try Louisiana foods?
Louisiana cuisine has been heavily inspired by the French and Louisiana locals, creating a unique and delicious culinary experience.
Our primary recommendation is to try beignets with chicory coffee. The best place to get this fantastic pairing is Café Du Monde, just off Jackson Square in New Orleans.
Another culinary highlight is crawfish etouffee. It is a seafood gravy made with a roux that is spicy and served over rice. Visit the Court of the Two Sisters for an amazing example of this Louisiana dish.
Don’t be afraid to order andouille sausage, Boudin balls, jambalaya, fried gator bites, or gumbo. All of these traditional dishes in Louisiana are done perfectly and will satisfy any taste buds.
Food isn’t the only thing that visitors may want to sample while in Louisiana. Specialty beverages like the hurricane at Pat O’Briens are world-renowned.
Also, try the bourbon milk punch, a classic drink served at a restaurant like the Bourbon Room. Finally, be sure to order a mint julep and hear the history of how playwright Tennessee Williams spent many good times in New Orleans.
What are the best places to explore in the state outside of New Orleans?
New Orleans gets a lot of attention but there are other beautiful cities and attractions across Louisiana. The state has major metropolitan areas, beautiful beaches, fascinating ecosystems, and unique history for visitors to explore.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Baton Rouge is the capital of the state and a great place to explore Louisiana’s history and visit the campus of Louisiana State University.
If you enjoy visiting museums, plan a trip to Lafayette, which has both a science museum and a children’s museum. It’s also a great place to grab a po’boy for lunch.
Louisiana is a coastal state and many cities exist along the gulf coast. Visit Grand Isle for an exciting beach day. Also important to note, birdwatchers from across the country flock to this area of the state to see the migration patterns of various birds.
Finally, Shreveport is an industrial city in the state but offers a wide array of riverfront casinos along the Red River.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Louisiana?
Louisiana has a little bit of everything! The state can provide a memorable travel experience for families, individuals, or groups of friends. With a little planning, you can craft the perfect itinerary that includes live music, delicious local cuisine, or tours of incredible and educational museums.
From New Orleans to Shreveport to Baton Rouge, visiting cities across the state can expand a person’s horizon because of The deep history and diverse culture that seeped throughout the state.
February and October seem to be the two most popular months to visit the state due to activities like Mardi Gras and Halloween, but if you’re looking for a smaller crowd, then try visiting during the peak of summer when it’s a bit warm there is more space to explore.
Be sure to be prepared with sunscreen and layers. Having a raincoat handy is also a great idea since a rainstorm is often likely during peak visiting seasons.
So put on your walking shoes, grab your Saints hat and Mardi Gras beads, and start your adventure in the great state of Louisiana!