Embrace the Joyride: 7 Fun Things to Do in Louisiana with Friends

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Planning a US vacation? You can’t go wrong with Louisiana. I have toured this state and can honestly say there is something thrilling for everyone to do here – and there’s so many fun things to do in Louisiana.

Louisiana is the south-eastern state in the country. Famous for its Gumbo and jazz – its capital city, New Orleans, is “The Big Easy” – easy-going and hospitable.

Before I jump straight into the fun, a few essential reminders. If you are coming from abroad, you need to know how to apply for a US visa, or an ESTA. Depending on your nationality you will need one or the other. Also, be sure to have a valid passport before you start your application process. There are certain items you are not allowed to bring to the country.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin our journey around the ‘Pelican State’.

Louisiana is an eclectic mix of vibrant cultures, scrumptious food, and rich history. Here are seven fantastic things to do to ensure a memorable vacation.

1 Join the Mardi Gras Celebration

New Orleans, Mardi Gras.
New Orleans Guide. Fun things to do in Louisiana.

Mardi Gras is the epitome of Louisiana’s festive spirit, and there’s nothing quite like experiencing this carnival first-hand with friends.

The festival is known worldwide for its grand parades, vibrant floats, masquerade balls, and colorful costumes.

What makes Mardi Gras unique is its deeply rooted cultural significance. Originating from medieval Europe and brought to Louisiana by the French explorers, Mardi Gras has evolved into a celebration that reflects Louisiana’s multicultural heritage. From throwing beads and doubloons to enjoying a slice of king cake, Mardi Gras is a sensory overload you don’t want to miss!

2 Explore the French Quarter, New Orleans

New Orleans Mardi Gras
New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Step into the French Quarter, and you’ll feel like you’ve entered a different world. Known for its Creole townhouses, quaint antique shops, jazz clubs, and lively bars, the French Quarter offers endless exploration.

Visit iconic spots like the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America, and stop by Cafe du Monde for their world-famous beignets.

3 Ride an Airboat in the Bayous

Local’s Guide For Best Things To Do In New Orleans

If you’re looking for an exciting, adventurous day out, take a swamp tour on an airboat. These high-speed boats buzz through Bayou country and give you the chance to spot alligators, raccoons and many different bird species.

Furthermore, you’ll glide through the shallow waters of marshes, wetlands, and meandering waterways in a flats boat equipped with a powerful fan-like propeller. It is an up-close encounter with nature that can be enjoyed only in Louisiana, and one of the best fun things to do in Louisiana.


4 Visit the Historic Plantations

New Orleans- fun things to do in Louisiana

Take a step back in time by visiting Louisiana’s historic plantations. Destrehan Plantation, Laura Plantation, and Oak Alley Plantation are some of the most famous ones.

The plantations feature stunning examples of antebellum architecture, often in the Greek Revival, French Creole, and Georgian styles. This architectural grandeur, together with meticulously maintained gardens, creates an ethereal ambience.

Furthermore, visiting the plantations offer insight into an important, albeit grim, part of American history. The guided tours often discuss the lives of both the plantation owners and the enslaved people who lived and worked there, providing a rounded historical context.

5 Experience a Zydeco or Jazz Night

Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans.

Spend an evening at a Zydeco or Jazz club in Louisiana to immerse yourself in the state’s rich musical heritage.

The foot-tapping rhythms and soulful melodies will make for a memorable night of camaraderie and fun.

The state is renowned for its rich musical heritage, especially in jazz and zydeco. Jazz originated in the early 20th century in the city’s African-American communities.

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Zydeco, on the other hand, is a lively and rhythmic music genre rooted in the Creole culture of Louisiana. By attending a Zydeco or Jazz Night, you’ll have the opportunity to witness and be a part of these musical traditions firsthand. It’s definitely one of the fun things to do in Louisiana.

6 Try Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Cuisine

New Orleans: Skyline of the city

Louisiana is renowned for its exceptional and distinct flavors that are deeply rooted in the diverse cultural influences of the region. A trip to this state isn’t complete without indulging in its local cuisine.

The fusion of culinary heritage has given rise to iconic dishes like Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish Boils, Po-Boys, and Étouffée. Louisiana offers abundant natural resources for distinctive flavorful dishes including seafood, crawfish, alligator, and farm fresh ingredients.

The generous use of aromatic spices like cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, and garlic infuse every bite with a tantalizing complexity. Moreover, the emphasis on communal dining and hospitality enhances the overall dining experience.

7 Go for a Haunted Tour in New Orleans

If your group enjoys a bit of spooky fun, take a haunted tour in New Orleans. Known as one of the most haunted cities in America, its ghost tours provide an intriguing blend of history, culture, and supernatural tales.

From its vibrant festivals and deep-seated history to its unique cuisine and diverse landscapes, Louisiana is a state that continues to enchant its visitors. So gather your friends, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the magnificent Louisiana!

New Orleans Guide: Best Places For Culture, History And Nightlife

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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