Dig Baton Rouge

Five weekend trips that are totally worth the drive

Galveston, Texas

Ever heard of Moody Gardens? Despite the name, this place is anything but sad. It has penguins, a rainforest adventure and a Zip Line. If you love the outdoors and everything nature has to offer, this may be a good stop to make on a road trip to your next hike. If you’re in the mood to chill at an old-fashioned amusement park afterwards, you might try the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, complete with a giant ferris wheel. And, if you just want to shop (we all do on vacation), head over to Galveston’s historic downtown area. It’s 70 blocks of local antiques, clothes and more.

Mississippi Delta

If you’re driving through the Mississippi Delta, there’s an important stop to make, especially if you’re a music-lover. Nestled in the tiny town of Leland, Mississippi, the Highway 61 Blues Museum serves to honor the greats in the history of blues music within a 100-mile radius of the spot. You may think that’d be a small number of musicians, but more than 150 blues greats came from that area of the Mississippi Delta. Haven’t had your fill of music? Visit Indianola, the birthplace of B.B. King. Afterward, if you’re heading north and you’re hungry, grab some BBQ at Johnnie’s Drive-in and sit in the booth Elvis once did.

New Orleans, Louisiana

OK, OK, you’ve been here a thousand times, but have you experienced all the city has to offer? If you want to visit one of artist Edgar Degas’ residences, the only place you’ll be able to do that is just an hour away from Baton Rouge. The Degas house in New Orleans is the only home of the painter anywhere in the world that is open to the public. With a short trip, you can have a guided tour of the house, or even stay overnight at the bed and breakfast. If you really love Degas, you can even get married there. Want something a little more…spooky? Head over to Muriel’s in Jackson Square, where the Séance area of the restaurant is a testament to Storyville, the red light district of New Orleans. In the inner Séance room is where the restaurant’s resident ghost hangs out.

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Calling all architecture buffs! Roselawn, one of the best examples of the Queen Anne revival style sits in the tiny town of Natchitoches. Sometimes called the “Painted Lady,” the mansion was built in 1903. Take a drive by and you’ll feel like you’re going back in time. Afterward, if you’re in a nature mood after your stay, check out the Bayou Pierre Alligator Park to learn all about the reptile, see hundreds of Alligators and listen to Cajun music. You can even grab a bite of Cajun food. And, if the film “Steel Magnolias” always makes you tear up, you’re going to love this place. The Steel Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast isn’t just a beautiful historic house in Natchitoches, but was also the home to characters played by Julia Roberts, Sally Field and more famous names in the film.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

If you want to get away or just experience what life was like in a different time, you might try the Cajun Country Cottages Bed and Breakfast in Breaux Bridge. Experience Cajun culture while still having modern amenities through a weekend stay at one of the unique historic cottages overlooking a private lake. On Sunday morning, try out Café Des Amis, where you can eat crawfish cornbread, oven roasted duck and turtle soup (yeah, my mouth’s watering, too) while listening to Zydeco music. Need to chill after eating a huge brunch? Sit back and enjoy one of the numerous swamp tours Breaux Bridge has to offer.

Photo by Allen Sheffield.

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