The Very Best 10 Day Louisiana Road Trip Itinerary (4 Stops)

In this Louisiana itinerary, Travelista’s Editor Jessica Ruth Gibson shows you how to spend a unique and authentic 10 days in Louisiana, all based on her own experience and discoveries whilst visiting this vibrant Deep South state. 

I recently completed a Deep South road trip which took me through the southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. To pick a favourite state out of the three would be hard. If anything it made me realise that all 3 states would be worthy of their own dedicated trip. And if you were going to take one trip that truly gets you to the heart of the Deep South and its diverse culture, wonderful food, friendly people and rich history, I’d tell you to take a Louisiana road trip. Here’s how to do it.

The Very Best 10 Day Louisiana Road Trip Itinerary (4 Stops)

This Louisiana road trip features all of the places I visited and loved during my time in Louisiana (New Orleans, River Parishes and Lafayette), as well as the addition of Baton Rouge, which will extend the trip into a well rounded 10 day trip. I have designed this as a 10 day itinerary so that my fellow Brits can complete the whole trip within 2 weeks of annual leave – flights and time zone adjustments included. 

This itinerary is a great option for those who like the idea of a multi-stop USA adventure without too much drive time. Most of the drives are around an hour or less, with the maximum drive being only 2 hours. If you’ve never driven in the States before, this would be a nice, gentle introduction. 

This article has been created in partnership with Explore Louisiana and is based on my own experience in Louisiana. 

Louisiana 10 Day Itinerary Overview 

Day 1 – Arrival Day – New Orleans 

Day 2 – New Orleans

Day 3 – New Orleans 

Day 4 – New Orleans

Day 5 – Baton Rouge 

Day 6 – Baton Rouge

Day 7 – River Parishes

Day 8 – River Parishes

Day 9 – Lafayette

Day 10 – Lafayette – next morning drive back to New Orleans and fly home 

At A Glance – 10 Day Louisiana Road Trip Itinerary 

This 10 day Louisiana road trip itinerary will guide you through the most unmissable sights of Louisiana, with some scenic drives in between. Your journey starts in the iconic city of New Orleans where you’ll discover authentic Louisiana food, culture and jazz. After a pit stop to visit the alligators in the Bayou of LaPlace, you’ll head on to the city of Baton Rouge where you’ll enjoy a dose of museum culture and sample the city’s evolving culinary scene in local restaurants as well as the chance to try some local craft beer at one of its many independent distilleries. 

Next up is the River Parishes of Louisiana, where you’ll visit Historic Homes and learn about the enslaved people who once lived and worked there. Finally, you’ll spend 2 nights in Lafayette, which is at the heart of Cajun Country. The Wall Street Journal once named it ‘The Happiest City in America’, where people visit for a genuine Cajun and Creole experience.

This Louisiana itinerary requires a hire car, which are readily available and can be collected upon landing at New Orleans airport or on Day 5 of your trip when you depart New Orleans. We hired our car with Alamo, who we found were straightforward and efficient. They also did not apply any hidden costs or charges, so I would definitely recommend them.

The best time to visit Louisiana for optimal weather would be between mid-February to early May and from October to December

Day 1 – Arrival Day – New Orleans 

Your adventure starts when you touch down at New Orlean’s Louis Armstrong International Airport. If you’re hiring a car from the off, hop on the complimentary shuttle bus that takes you to the airport’s dedicated hire car terminal. But be sure to browse all New Orleans hire car providers. The drive from the airport to the city centre is 15 miles and only takes around 20 minutes. Great as a warm-up drive!

An alternative option to save money is to collect your hire car from Day 5 of the itinerary once you’re ready to drive out of New Orleans and onto Baton Rouge. In this case, you’d collect your hire car from another location in the city. 

Where to stay in New Orleans

For the best possible experience whilst in New Orleans, I’d recommend staying in the French Quarter – or at least near it. This is definitely the most buzzy, unique and photogenic part of the city with its French colonial architecture and many bars, restaurants and hotels. Browse the best hotels in the French Quarter

We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone which is a luxurious 4 star hotel with an amazing location in the heart of the French Quarter. The hotel was built in 1886 and has a timeless, belle époque feel to it. However, a new section of the hotel has been built with beautifully styled, modern bedrooms. Valet parking is available for your hire car. 

Wherever you choose to stay during your time in New Orleans, a visit to the unique rotating carousel bar at Hotel Monteleone (dating back to 1949) is an absolute must. There is live music every night of the week.

Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St, New Orleans
LA 70130, United States

Search all hotels in New Orleans.

Overnight in New Orleans

Day 2 – New Orleans

Morning

To start your first full day in New Orleans, head to the nearby Cafe Beignet for an authentic Louisiana beignet. Pronounced ‘Ben-yay’, the beignet is like a sweet square donut with lashings of icing sugar (not the healthiest but when in New Orleans). They’re usually eaten for breakfast with a coffee and this celebrated establishment in the French Quarter is a great place to try them.

Cafe Beignet
334 Royal St,
New Orleans,
LA 70130, United States

In the morning, pay a visit to Vue Orleans, a spectacular 360° indoor and outdoor observation decks and multi-level interactive cultural experience that celebrates all things New Orleans. The exhibition will give you a great introduction to the city of New Orleans whilst you learn about the fascinating history, creole cultures and the diverse roots of New Orleans. Be sure to watch the film before heading up to the 34th floor viewing deck. It’s a great way to get your bearings in the city and its proximity to the Mississippi river. Admission costs $29.95 per adult and $23.95 for ages 3-16.

Book tickets to Vue Orleans.

Vue Orleans
2 Canal St,
New Orleans,
LA 70130, United States

Afternoon

Treat yourself to lunch at Peche, which is an easy walk from Vue Orleans and will guide you to another neighbourhood of the city away from the French Quarter. Peche is an elegant, rustic and buzzy seafood restaurant inspired by the cooking of South America, Spain and the Gulf Coast. There are plenty of New Orlean’s fresh seafood dishes to try and the wine list is excellent. You can tell this place is loved by locals. Serves veggie dishes and high chairs are available.

Peche
800 Magazine St,
New Orleans,
LA 70130,
United States

After a delicious lunch, get ready for a wacky, wonderful and downright mad afternoon at Mardi Gras World, where you can experience the magic of New Orlean’s famous Mardi Gras all year round. See the colourful floats in person, watch a short film and learn how they are made on one of the fascinating studio tours (included in your ticket). Admission costs $22 per adult and $14 per child.

If you’re planning your trip in either February or March, this is Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and so you may be lucky enough to catch the parade itself. Mardi Gras 2025 falls on Tuesday 4th March.

Evening

Explore Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is like marmite, you’ll either love it or hate it. But either way, a walk down Bourbon Street is a must for any visitor. Most bars and venues on Bourbon Street are geared towards tourists, but there are still some authentic venues on this strip including Fritzel’s Jazz Pub and The Jazz Playhouse. Be vigilant on Bourbon Street and watch out for pick-pockets. 

If the noise and chaos of Bourbon Street isn’t for you (don’t worry it wasn’t for me either), I recommend visiting Frenchmen Street. Here you’ll find a slightly more toned down version of the famous Bourbon Street, but with brilliant live music and many bars to choose from. Personally, I much preferred Frenchmen street.

Overnight in New Orleans

Day 3 – New Orleans

Morning

Head to Cafe du Monde which is the legendary home of New Orleans’ beignets and cafe au lait. This place is an institution in New Orleans dating back to 1862 and serving the city’s famous sweet treats. Be aware this place is popular with tourists, but for good reason, so be sure to arrive as early as possible to avoid a lengthy queue (it opens at 07.15am). You can expect great value and no-frills service in this bustling and atmospheric open-air cafe. 

We ordered the famous cafe au lait – although I’m not sure why it’s so famous as it just tasted like very milky watered down coffee. However, the beignets were completely delicious and well worth going for. 

Scene’s of Woody Harrelson’s Now You See Me were filmed in Cafe du Monde, so it may look familiar on arrival. 

Cafe du Monde
800 Decatur St,
New Orleans,
LA 70116

Afternoon

Spend the rest of your day exploring the beautiful and photogenic French Quarter by browsing the boutique shops, bars and restaurants and admiring the beautiful French colonial buildings. My friend and I loved the vintage jewellery store on Royal Street. With so much international and European influence, you feel as though you could be somewhere in Europe or South America with the vibrancy and colours of the New Orlean’s French Quarter. 

Evening

If you want to eat at a special and memorable restaurant during your time in New Orleans, consider making a booking for Commander’s Palace. The restaurant is described as Haute Creole dining and is led by the establishment’s first female Head Chef Meg Bickford.

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans,
LA 70130

Alternative restaurant recommendations from Explore Louisiana include Jack Rose (a buzzy restaurant serving Cajun-Creole dishes and cocktails) and for something extra special with spectacular panoramic views of the Mississippi river check out Chemin a la Mer, located in the Four Seasons New Orleans.

Overnight in New Orleans 

Day 4 – New Orleans

Morning

For your third and final day in New Orleans, start off with a trip to National WWII Museum. Even if you aren’t usually into museums, this attraction is a must-visit for an engaging dose of history. The museum does a fantastic job of bringing the USA’s WWII past to live in an immersive and engaging way. Visitors can expect poignant storytelling, multi-media experiences and an expansive collection of artefacts. 

Afternoon

New Orleans sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, and what better way to understand the landscape than on a traditional paddleboat steamer. Book yourself onto a Mississippi River Cruise with live jazz music and a Southern inspired buffet lunch. You’ll see the city of New Orleans and beyond from an entirely new perspective. 

Evening

New Orleans is a place of spirituality and black magic, so for something totally unique whilst in New Orleans, head to Intuitions for a Tarot and Psychic reading with a Voudou Preistess, CatherinaCatherina runs her readings from a business premises on Decatur Street. If this sort of thing is up your street, I highly recommend it for an experience you’ll never forget. It’s just around the corner from Frenchmen street, so you could combine a visit to both in one go. 

Travelista Tip: Save money in New Orleans with a Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions

Day 5 – Swamp Tour at La Place and Baton Rouge 

Morning

On Day 5, it’s time to say goodbye to New Orleans and to reunite with / pick up your hire car for the first leg of your Louisiana road trip. First you’ll drive 25 miles out of the city for a memorable experience in the ‘Bayou’, a term commonly used in the Southern United States to describe a river or swamp. Book yourself on to a Cajun Pride Swamp Tour where you’ll get to witness alligators – and lots of other wildlife – in their natural habitats. Pre-booking is essential and be sure to turn up on time as the boat won’t hang around for late comers.

Cajun Swamp Tours, 
110 Frenier Rd,
Laplace,
LA 70068, United States

Or browse all Swamp Tours from New Orleans.

After your Cajun Pride Swamp Tour, take the 55 mile drive on to Baton Rouge (taking approximately 50 minutes). You could make it to Baton Rouge in time for a late lunch, so head straight to Cocha for some locally sourced and globally inspired Southern cuisine. 

Cocha 
445 N 6th St
Baton Rouge
LA 70802, 
United States

Afternoon

A visit to Baton Rouge is not complete without a tour of one of its many distilleries. If rum is your thing, head to the Oxbow Rum Distillery for a tour of the facility and learn how their rum is made, from game to glass. A tasting is also included in the tour as well as the option to purchase Oxbow Rum as a souvenir to take home. If you prefer to tour a craft beer distillery, check out this full list of Baton Rouge distilleries from Visit Baton Rouge. 

Oxbow Rum Distillery 
760 St Philip St, 
Baton Rouge, 
LA 70802, 
United States

Evening

Enjoy some southern comfort cooking with a twist at SoLou with menu items including Crawfish Beignets, Charbroiled Oysters, Shrimp Corns Dogs, Boudin Quesadillas and more.

SoLou 
7246 Perkins Rd, 
Baton Rouge, 
LA 70808, 
United States

Overnight in Baton Rouge

Where to stay in Baton Rouge

Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Centre is a good, reliable choice for a 4 star hotel with a great location.

If you prefer to stay in boutique hotels, check out Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge or browse all hotels in Baton Rouge according to your budget and preferences. 

Day 6 – Explore The Iconic Buildings and Museums of Baton Rouge 

For a great breakfast option, head to Simple Joe Cafe in the mid city area. Choose from menu items such as the homepage pancake stack, French toast or the seafood omelette. 

Start your day by visiting the tallest state capital on the whole of the USA. State Captiols are official government buildings and there is one for every state. The Louisiana State Capitol is located in Baton Rouge and stands at 450 ft tall. Guests can travel to the 27th floor observation deck to take in panoramic views of Baton Rouge and beyond. After, pay a visit to the Capitol Park Museum. 

Afternoon

Oysters, or ‘or-sters’ as pronounced by the locals, are a huge deal in Louisiana and Phil’s Oyster Bar has been a Baton Rouge favourite for half a century. It’s also a great place to try the Louisiana Po’Boy, platters, boudin balls and charbroiled oysters.

After some lunch take a visit to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens, which are dedicated to the cultures of 18th and 19th century rural Louisianans. The museum includes 32 historic outbuildings spread over 25 acres including a section on ‘The Working Plantation’. 

This is a great introduction to the concept of sugar cane plantations before moving on to the River Parishes where you’ll discover more about the history of plantations and the core part they played in the slave trade of the Deep South. The museum is self-guided and would take a minimum of 2 hours. The Windrush gardens tour takes 30-45 minutes. Admission costs $12 for adults and $10 for children age 4 and over. 

Louisiana State University (LSU) Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens
4560 Essen Ln,
Baton Rouge, 
LA 70809, 
United States

Overnight in Baton Rouge

Day 7 – Reach The River Parishes 

Morning

Before leaving Baton Rouge, pay a visit to the USS KIDD Veterans Museum where you’ll see the World War II Fletcher class destroyer. The ship has been restored to her 1945 appearance with over 50 inner spaces to see. Displays include a P-40 aircraft, ship models and a memorial to all Louisiana service members lost in combat. Admission costs $14.63 for adults and $10.45 for children aged 5 and over. 

USS KIDD Veterans Museum 
305 South River Road

Baton Rouge 
LA 70802
United States 

It’s worth noting that the ship is in dry dock for restoration during 2024/2025 but it is still open to the public.

Afternoon 

Next stop on your Louisiana road trip is the River Parishes of Louisiana. Take the easy 30 minute drive out to Houmas House and Gardens, where you will spend the rest of your day. Houmas House is one of the South’s oldest and most beautiful historic homes and plantation estates. There is so much to see and explore here as well as 3 wonderful on-site restaurants which I can highly recommend for lunch and dinner. We ate at The Carriage House Dining Room which is the more formal option of the 3 and had the most delicious cuisine; fresh and traditional Southern food at its best.

Houmas House & Gardens
Darrow, LA 70725, 

United States

Book tickets to Houmas House and Gardens.

Firstly, I will say that the grounds of Houmas House are cinematically stunning but the entire complex includes the the Great River Road Museum, the main 1840’s Mansion house, the expansive grounds. The Houmas House Estate allows visitors to experience the life on a sugarcane plantation in the 1800’s, although I did feel disappointed at the lack of acknowledgement on the slavery aspect as I was interested to learn and understand more about this part of the plantation’s history. 

Where to stay in the River Parishes 

For your two nights in the River Parishes, I would recommend staying at either The Inn at Houmas House and Gardens or The Oak Alley Plantation Inn. In both accommodations, you’ll get the unique experience of staying in one of the quaint cottages spread out across the Plantation grounds. A stay at either Inn would make for a unique and memorable experience whilst in the River Parishes. 

I spent one night at one of the cottages at Oak Alley, which were spacious, homely and luxurious. It also really enhanced my experience of visiting Oak Alley as we had the convenience of waking up on site. We got to enjoy the peaceful grounds early morning before the inevitable crowds. Residents of Oak Alley can also walk the grounds at night with torches in search of ghostly sightings, which has become a bit of a phenomena over the years.

Overnight at Houmas House / Oak Alley 

Day 8 – The River Parishes and a day at Oak Alley

The whole of Day 8 of your Louisiana road trip is dedicated to the magnificent Oak Alley Plantation, a historic and world-famous plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Oak Alley is best-known for its striking 240 metre alley of Southern oak trees which were planted in the 18th century. The plantation has been used for various Hollywood films and music videos over the years. After seeing how spectacular this place is in real life, I can understand why it has been the backdrop for many cinematic productions. 

You might question whether two plantations are necessary, but Oak Alley gives a completely different perspective to Houmas House. Visiting both plantations will give you a very well rounded and in-depth understanding of Plantation history and the intrinsic connection to the slave trade.

One of my favourite things about Oak Alley is that it acknowledges the slavery aspect of its history far more than Houmas House. It honours the lives of the enslaved people who once lived and worked there, by telling their stories and exhibiting their difficult lifestyle in a dedicated Slavey exhibition. I would describe this aspect of visiting the plantation as shocking and sobering, as you realise the extreme wealth of these plantations are based on the (often barbaric) exploitation innocent human beings. However, it’s a real part of history and one that should be spoken about, understood and remembered. 

The whole experience of visiting these plantations takes some time to process, so I would recommend taking things easy for the rest of the day and enjoying some time to relax and reflect on what you have seen and learned. 

Oak Alley Plantation
3645 LA-18
Vacherie,
LA 70090

Book tickets to Oak Alley Plantation.

Overnight at Houmas House / Oak Alley

Day 9 – Drive to Lafayette  

Day 9 – Drive to Lafayette

Morning

Your final stop of this epic 10 day Louisiana road trip itinerary is the vibrant Cajun town of Lafayette. The drive from the River Parishes will take you approximately 110 miles or 1 hours and 50 minutes. 

Upon arrival, Sunday’s Soda Fountain is the perfect place for a historical Southern diner experience. I tried the Lavender soda which was way too sweet for me (I swapped it for a Diet Coke) but the fried chicken with salad was beyond delicious. We also shared an ice cream sundae for desert which was out of this world. A visit to Sunday’s Soda Fountain will put you in the heart of downtown Lafayette, so be sure to explore the area and the many local shops whilst you’re there. 

431 Jefferson St, 
Lafayette, 
LA 70501, 
United States

Sunday's Soda Fountain Food Lafayette

Afternoon

For a dose of calm and nature on your Louisiana road trip, head to Cypress Lake on the campus of the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Here you can expect to find swampland, cypress trees, alligators, turtles, fish, birds and much more. 

Cypress Lake 
620 McKinley St,
Lafayette, 
LA 70503

Alternatively, to learn more about the culture and history of Lafayette, head to Vermilionville Living history Museum and Historic Centre. This is a 23-acre historic and folklife park along the banks of the Bajou Vermilion that depicts Acadian, Creole and Native American cultures from 1765 to 1890.

We were lucky enough to visit here on a Sunday, when there was a live band and country dancing in one of the outbuildings. We also got to experience an authentic Southern Sunday plate lunch, which was an education in itself. Thanks to Caroline Marcello from Travel Lafayette for being such a good tour guide and talking us through all the food. I learnt so much from this.

Vermilionville Living history Museum and Historic Centre
300 Fisher Rd, 
Lafayette, 
LA 70508 

Evening

Head to Rock and Bowl for some live Zydeco music, line dancing and a guaranteed good time. Enjoy dinner at Whiskey and Vine. Unfortunately Whiskey and Vine was closed when we visited but it came highly recommended by our host Caroline, who is a local living and working in Lafayette. Alternative restaurant recommendations include Vestal, Park Bistro and Laura’s Cafe (for the best plate lunch in Lafayette).

A Louisiana plate lunch typically consists of a a plate loaded with comfort foods like smothered pork or crawfish étouffée and accompanied by hearty sides such as Mac and cheese, fried okra, dirty rice and more. Each person can pick a different combination of meat and sides. 

Overnight in Lafayette

Where to stay in Lafayette 

Maison Mouton is a charming and boutique B&B with individual rooms and cottages. We stayed here during our time in Lafayette and had a really personal and friendly experience. Communal breakfasts and friendly hosts make it feel like a little home from home. 

Maison Moutin
338 N Sterling St
Lafayette
LA 70501

Browse all hotels in Lafayette.

Day 10 – Cajun Food Tour in Lafayette 

Morning

Follow this recommendation and I guarantee the final full day of your Louisiana road trip will be one to remember…Book yourself on to the one and only Cajun Food Tour Lafayette – a wild and wacky bus tour which will guide you around some of the very best and most authentic eateries in Lafayette. The great thing about this tour is that you’ll end up in places you’d never have found on your own and you’ll learn so much about the origins and history of authentic Cajun and Acadiana food. 

The tour bus (which best resembles the Mystery Machine and is equally as crazy inside) can collect you from many Lafayette hotels and all food is inclusive of the tour price. Food tours can range in duration but take approximately 3 hours and if you’re lucky enough to get Founder Marie Ducote-Comeaux as your host, you’re in for a treat. The tour was so much fun and really felt like a true taste of Cajun cuisine. 

On the tour we made a total of 5 stops and I got to try; beignets, Po Boys, gumbo, fried gator, oysters cheese and bacon, andouille sausage and more.

The Original Cajun Food Tour (the one we did) lasts 3 hours and includes 5 tastings for $65 per adult and $39 per child under 11. Other tours are also available on the same website.

Afternoon

Spend the rest of your time in Lafayette relaxing or exploring at your own leisure and soak in your final afternoon in the wonderful state of Louisiana. From here you could spend one final night in Lafayette before making the journey back to New Orleans for your flight home. Alternatively, you could drive back to New Orleans and spend one final night there before flying home the next day. 

You can’t help but fall in love with the charm and energy of this exciting Southern state and I look back on my travels through the great state of Louisiana very fondly. Until next time! 

Follow this itinerary to experience one of the very best Louisiana road trip. Whether you copy it to the letter or simply pick out a few recommendations, I hope this Louisiana road trip itinerary has provided you with plenty of ideas and inspiration to plan your own adventure. 

Read more of our published articles about Louisiana and other Deep South states; 

The Ultimate 18 Day Deep South Road Trip Itinerary

How to Spend 48 Hours in New Orleans

15 Good Reasons to Visit Oxford, Mississippi

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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