A huge ship docked in a marina, seen during one of the best day trips from Baton Rouge

25 Best Day Trips from Baton Rouge (in 2023)

Are you interested in day trips from Baton Rouge? Louisiana is full of interesting places to explore once you’ve tried out all the best activities in Baton Rouge.

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Louisiana, and I will tell you about 25 of the best day trips from the Capital City. From big cities like New Orleans to tiny towns like Carville, a little-known historical spot, there’s plenty to see within driving distance of Baton Rouge.

At the end, I’ll even share the secret to the best hiking area near Baton Rouge!

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25 Best Day Trips from Baton Rouge


The heart and soul of Acadiana–Louisiana’s vibrant Cajun country.

View of the outdoor seating area at the storefront of Sunday’s soda shop and ice cream parlor in Downtown Lafayette
Sunday’s, a soda shop and ice cream parlor in Downtown Lafayette

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Lafayette Website

Lafayette is the biggest and most energetic city in Acadiana, Louisiana’s Cajun region. The drive from Baton Rouge to Lafayette alone is a great reason to make the journey–you’ll drive on long bridges over the Atchafalaya Basin, a beautiful scenic swamp. 

Lafayette has a great downtown with music venues, restaurants, and museums. For instance, the awesome Lafayette Science Museum is right in the central part of downtown. There are lots of places to listen to live music–especially Zydeco. There’s even a bowling alley with live music called Rock N’ Bowl.

Lafayette is a fantastic day trip for families, couples, or single adults who want to meet people or just go exploring in one of Louisiana’s best cities. Keep an eye out for festivals in Lafayette that may be worth the trip.

New Orleans

The most famous of all Louisiana cities–The Big Easy–is about an hour and a half away.

A woman with an umbrella standing at the side of the empty street in French Quarter
The French Quarter

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | New Orleans Website

New Orleans is the most famous of all Louisiana cities–and it’s a great privilege that it’s within a day-tripping distance from Baton Rouge! New Orleans has some of the best food and nightlife in the state. There’s nearly constant live music on Frenchman Street and clubbing galore on Bourbon. There are fantastic restaurants and museums in the Warehouse District as well.

Uptown offers visitors a chance to see mansions on St. Charles Avenue or explore the gorgeous Audubon Park. Uptown would make an excellent date spot for couples looking for a day trip, and families might be excited by the chance to check out Audubon Zoo.

City Park could take up an entire day in itself. At City Park, you’ll find putt-putt mini golf, several kid-friendly amusement parks, kayaks, and swan boats for rent, an entire art museum, and a free sculpture garden. You’ll find lots of awesome things to do in New Orleans

St. Francisville

A charming small town with antique shops, bluffs, and one of the most haunted homes in America.

View of the bridge surrounded with a white fence and greenery in The Myrtles Plantation
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | St. Francisville Website

St. Francisville is an idyllic small town only 40 minutes from Baton Rouge. It is home to the Myrtles Plantation, which is known as one of the most haunted spots in the country. It also has the St. Francisville Inn, an adorable bed and breakfast that would make a fantastic getaway spot for any couple looking for a romantic night out of town.

St. Francisville is a fantastic jumping-off point from which to hike Clark Creek. If you’d like to turn your day trip into a two-day trip, consider combining these two and forming some truly incredible memories!

Clark Creek / Tunica Hills

The most amazing hiking area right over the state line–a hidden gem few know about.

View of the small waterfall at the Clark Creek Natural Area
One of the waterfalls you’ll encounter at Clark Creek Natural Area

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 10 minutes | 📍 Google Maps 

Clark Creek is possibly my favorite hike in the world. It’s pretty hard to find adequate hiking spots in Louisiana since the ground is completely flat in so many areas. Clark Creek is technically in Mississippi, right over the Louisiana line. The terrain is sandstone and mud bluffs, which gives the hike some legitimate elevation change.

The hike follows a river and is best done in waterproof shoes. There are numerous waterfalls that you will encounter along the route, some with deep plunge pools that are perfect for swimming. There are benches along the path to enjoy a picnic lunch.

The hike out of the valley is a bit strenuous, especially for locals who may not have trained for elevation change! Therefore, use caution when bringing young kids or anyone else who might not be gung-ho about or comfortable with a relatively steep climb upward.


A small town on the banks of the Mississippi River that contains the historical site of a home for people with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps 

Carville is a very cool and little-known historical spot pretty close to Baton Rouge. It is a historical site on the Mississippi River that used to be home to a hospital for people with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy). Although the site is now a Louisiana National Guard base, you can still enter and take a self-guided tour in your car. You will need to present an ID at the guard station.

Once inside, you’ll have access to exhibits and a free audio guide you can access on your phone or by borrowing CDs offered at the visitor’s center. Through the driving tour, you will learn where patients and residents of the facility lived and received treatment. I also learned a staggering amount about Hansen’s Disease, and the info debunked some myths I’d believed previously.

At the end of your tour, you can pay respects to prior residents in the facility’s graveyard. I found this to be a powerful experience. On your way back to Baton Rouge, be sure to pull over on River Road and climb up to the levee for pristine views of the river.

Avery Island

Home to the Tabasco Hot Sauce Factory and the beautiful, sprawling Jungle Gardens.

View of the cylinders outside the Tabasco Factory
The Tabasco Factory on Avery Island

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Avery Island Website

Avery Island is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for visitors and locals alike! Avery Island is only a little over an hour and a half away from Baton Rouge. It is a fascinating terrain made from salt domes. The dome is what creates the “island” Avery Island sits upon. 

Avery Island is home to the Tabasco Factory, where the famous hot sauce is made. The site allows you to tour the factory (and even see the peppers growing in greenhouses). 

There is also a large gift shop with fantastic Louisiana-centric items (it was one of my favorite places to do some holiday shopping when I lived in Baton Rouge). The onsite restaurant is highly-themed and incorporates hot sauce in many varieties.

Finally, you can’t miss the chance to tour the Jungle Gardens on Avery Island. The sprawling botanical gardens can be toured on foot or by car. There are multiple themed areas, including an Asian garden with a large, ancient Buddha statue and Bird City, a bird sanctuary. People of all ages will love a visit to Avery Island!


A famous Civil War town in Mississippi with amazing historical sites, bluffs, and architecture.

Low angle perspective of the white exterior of Antebellum House
An Antebellum house in Natchez

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Natchez Website

Natchez is one of the oldest cities in the Mississippi River Valley. It was famously surrendered by the Confederate troops during the American Civil War. The Union soldiers who camped in the Natchez Valley nicknamed it the Devil’s Punchbowl. 

Today, Natchez is a bastion of beautifully restored Antebellum mansions and historic homes like the Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens. There is also a brewery, a winery, and a museum dedicated to African-American history.

Natchez would make a great day trip for couples or adults interested in architecture, history, or just getting away from the noise in a beautiful Southern city.


Another Mississippi Civil War town with a huge battlefield park.

Two green benches with the Mississippi River bridge in the background on a sunny day
Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 2 hours and 50 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Vicksburg Website

Like Natchez, Vicksburg played a critical role in the American Civil War. Today, there’s a sprawling National Military Park to commemorate the event. You can explore the park by foot or car, tracing out the lines of advance and retreat of the troops. The park is also full of memorials and statues.

In addition to the Military Park, Vicksburg is home to a large Army Corps of Engineers Interpretive Center dedicated to maritime engineering, especially concerning the confluence of the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. There is a boat you can tour and explore.

There is also a Court House Museum, riverfront murals, and house tours. Vicksburg will probably most interest couples and adults interested in history, architecture, or hydrology.


A historic town with levee bonfires, historic architecture, and famous meat pies.

A bench near the Cane River which is also surrounded by greenery in Natchitoches
The Cane River in Natchitoches, Louisiana

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 2 hours and 53 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Natchitoches Website

Natchitoches, Louisiana is one of the oldest towns in the land settled by the Louisiana Purchase. It was settled by French Canadian explorers in the early 18th century. The Natchitoches Historic District is famous for its distinctive European-style architecture. The buildings are known for their wrought-iron, stucco, and brick designs.

In addition, Natchitoches is famous for its meat pies and levee bonfires around the holidays. A trip to Natchitoches–especially around Christmas Time–would enchant families and adults alike. 


A bayou town almost as far south as you can go in Louisiana, frozen in time in the best possible way.

View of the Marsh River surrounded by greenery in Houma
The Marsh River in Houma, Louisiana

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Houma Website

Houma is a small bayou city with a rich culture way down South in Louisiana. It has a strong traditional Cajun culture that has remained largely untouched by time due to the remoteness of the city from the rest of Louisiana. 

Houma has a spectacular bon-vivant atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere. You’ll find Cajun dancing, Zydeco music, and fish fried up straight from the Gulf. 

Some of the best attractions in Houma are the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, fishing charter cruises, and swamp tours.

The whole family will enjoy Houma, as will adults on their own who want a wildlife or cultural adventure. It is sometimes known as Sportsman’s Paradise due to its hunting and fishing spots.


One of Louisiana’s hidden gems with one of the coolest breweries in the state.

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Arnaudville Website

Arnaudville is a town in Acadiana with some fabulous restaurants and an amazing brewery called Bayou Teche. Bayou Teche is Cajun through and through. They brew little-known but phenomenal beer and offer free tours of their facility, chock-full of Cajun lore. 

A trip to Bayou Teche Brewery and Arnaudville can be easily combined with a trip to either Lafayette or Avery Island, allowing for no shortage of fun for the whole family.

Grand Isle

A fishing community practically hanging off the land into the ocean, adorned with fishing camps on stilts and a state park.

Aerial view of the houses and long boardwalks on Grand Isle
Aerial photo of Grand Isle

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 2 hours and 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Grand Isle Website

Grand Isle is one of the last vestiges of the southernmost shores of Louisiana. It is largely made up of fishing camps on stilts. Grand Isle is the perfect destination for anyone interested in a chartered fishing trip or just seeing a way of life that might not be long for this world. 

Grand Isle State Park is a pristine state park made up of beautiful beaches and boardwalks. It will interest birdwatchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even literature buffs since Kate Chopin’s The Awakening ended on a beach in Grand Isle.

As a sleepy fishing outpost, Grand Isle will mostly interest adults and couples, but families may enjoy walking along the beach and boardwalks of the state park. 


A small town with fantastic antique shops and a famous alligator in the center of town. 

View of the displayed antique art pieces at a shop in Ponchatoula
Ponchatoula is famous for its antique shops

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 40 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Ponchatoula Website

Ponchatoula is a small town on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. It is famous for its amazing antique shops. You can spend an entire day in Ponchatoula browsing the multiple boutiques and antique shops, which feature a combination of antique collectibles and modern pieces of art. 

Ponchatoula is also famous for the alligator in the center of town (who has since retired to a farm at the age of 65). You can easily combine an antique shopping trip in Ponchatoula with a trip to Mandeville or Covington


A charming Northshore town on Lake Pontchartrain with multiple hiking trails and access to the lakefront.

The author Meg O'Connor and her partner, Casey, opening a present at Rips on the Lake on the Mandeville Lakefront
Casey opens birthday presents at Rips on the Lake on the Mandeville Lakefront

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Mandeville Website

Mandeville is a town right on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain with a lot to offer. You can access the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront two ways. One way is to visit the Mandeville Lakefront, which offers a walking trail, a beach, a splash pad, and a playground. Another is to visit the beach at Fontainebleau State Park. 

Fontainebleau State Park is one of the best state parks in the state, and it offers miles of walking trails.

Abita Springs

An offbeat Northshore town with a fabulous history, a famous brewery, and the infamous Abita Mystery House. 

View of the welcome signage of Abita Springs with the US flag near the entrance of Abita Mystery House
The Abita Mystery House Museum in Abita Springs (photo: Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Abita Springs Website

Abita Springs is a small town on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish. It has a fascinating history as a Victorian resort town where (often wealthy) patrons would come drink and soak in the spring water for the supposed healing powers.

Abita is no longer a resort town, but it has some compelling features that make it worth a trip. The Abita Brewery is located in Abita Springs, and the warehouse-like building holds events like trivia nights in its tasting room. 

In the center of town, you’ll find the Abita Brew Pub, which has frequent live music and excellent food. There’s also a weird museum of local infamy called the Abita Mystery House, which displays a variety of bizarre ephemera.

Abita Springs has a creative vibe and is a great place to see Louisiana art. Abita Springs will please adults and couples, but could also be a great trip with kids, especially if paired with nearby attractions like the Mandeville Lakefront. 


A rural, horse-centric town in St. Tammany parish where the Wild West and the Deep South meet. 

A signage of "Donut Stop" near the road in Folsom
One of the Mom and Pop stores in the center of Folsom

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Folsom Website

Folsom, one of Louisiana’s most interesting small towns, is a little piece of the Wild West right in southern Louisiana! There are lots of opportunities for horseback riding lessons or trail rides. The downtown area also has a cowboy-themed coffee shop called Giddy Up Folsom which also serves alcohol and food and has events on some weekend nights.

Right next door to Giddy Up is a gallery with work from local artists, and Giddy Up hosts art fairs in their parking lot a few times a year. Folsom is also not far from Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton, and the two would be great to combine if you’re looking for an opportunity for a hike.

Folsom could make a great day trip for the whole family if you have little ones interested in farms, ranches, or horseback riding. They will also enjoy the Global Wildlife Center, an immersive zoo.


With a 50% urban vibe and 50% rural vibe, you can get it all in this small Northshore town.

The author Meg O'Connor, posing by a phone booth outside the English Tea Room
Me posing by a phone booth outside the English Tea Room

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 5 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Covington Website

Covington is another town on the Northshore, just south of Folsom and north of Mandeville. It has a slightly more rural vibe than the beachy feel of Mandeville on the shores of the Lake. Covington has a vibrant downtown with lots of excellent places to eat and drink. Some of my favorites are the Grayhound, Cured on Columbia, and Hoodoo Ice Cream.

The English Tea Room is a unique attraction in Covington. It serves a wonderful high tea with scones and loose-leaf tea. Within walking distance is Bogue Falaya Park, which has beautiful river access and a walking trail.

Covington is a quaint town that may be a stretch to keep the kids’ interest, but it will charm adults and couples. If you have the kids in tow, consider combining a trip to Covington with a trip to the Mandeville Lakefront or a horseback ride in Folsom.

Whitney Plantation

The only historical plantation in Louisiana dedicated entirely to documenting the experience of enslaved people.

View of the statues of the children inside the Whitney Plantation
Statues of children at the Whitney Plantation (photo: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 50 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Whitney Plantation Website

The Whitney Plantation is a somber but fantastic museum that can’t be missed by visitors or locals. It is the only plantation in the state that I know of that has fully committed itself to telling the stories of enslaved people. It does fantastic anti-racism work in the region and shares the experience of enslaved people living on a plantation in the Deep South.

Due to the horrifying nature of some of the content, the Whitney Plantation is best suited to adults or families with older children.

National World War II Museum

A world-famous museum in New Orleans about World War II, including several highly-immersive exhibits.

View of the statues sitting outside the National World War II Museum
Statues outside the National World War II Museum in New Orleans

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 20 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | National World War II Museum Website

Although New Orleans is already on this list, the National World War II Museum is its own item because it is truly a day trip in itself. The museum is world-renowned and very large. You can easily spend a full day exploring the exhibits. There are two highly-immersive areas about the European and Pacific theaters (the Road to Tokyo and the Road to Berlin). 

In addition to the fantastic exhibits, the National World War II Museum has a theater with themed shows, a restaurant, multiple gift shops, and a soda shop. The restaurant is a very fun, themed experience that adds some levity to a day at the museum.

Young kids or anyone with sensory sensitivities may be overwhelmed or scared by some of the immersive exhibits. There are also some gruesome images throughout the museum and an exhibit about the atomic bomb that does not hold back. 


An immersive museum modeling a Cajun village with original architecture and docents in costume.

View of the people inside a schoolhouse in the Vermilionville Museum
A schoolhouse in the Vermilionville Museum in Lafayette

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Vermilionville Website

Vermillionville in Lafayette, about an hour from Baton Rouge, is one of the best day trips for everyone. Vermillionville can easily take up most of the day. It is a living history museum that is a mock Cajun village. The buildings span a couple of centuries of Cajun history and are largely original architecture that has been moved to the museum site.

The buildings include a schoolhouse, a church, and homes from several different time periods. In addition to the exhibits, there’s a phenomenal restaurant that usually has a Cajun food buffet. It is one of my favorite places to sample lots of different types of Cajun cuisine.

Vermillionville also has Cajun music jam sessions with local musicians on the weekend, plus Cajun dancing. It’s a popular event amongst locals and is open to visitors as well! The whole family will enjoy Vermillionville. 


A one-of-a-kind opportunity for visitors to be immersed in the Courir de Mardi Gras, or Cajun Mardi Gras.

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Eunice Website

Mardi Gras is a great time for a day trip, and although most people think of New Orleans, don’t forget about Eunice! Eunice is a small town in Acadiana with a fantastic Mardi Gras festival the weekends before and the week of Mardi Gras Day.

Cajun Mardi Gras, or Courir de Mardi Gras, is a true cultural experience. Eunice embraces the opportunity to share their culture with outsiders, especially since there is a National Park Service Acadian Cultural Center located in the center of town.

Festival International de Louisiane

A free annual music festival with bands from around the world playing in Lafayette, the capital of Cajun Country.

View of the crowd at an outdoor concert on a sunny day

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Festival International de Louisiane Website

Another great day trip option is to see Festival Internationale de Louisiane in Lafayette, Louisiana. It’s a giant, free music festival in April with bands from all over the world. I have seen groups from Kenya, Ukraine, Poland, and Ireland before–just to name a few. Lots of amazing local Cajun artists perform as well.

Jazz Fest

A New Orleans music festival with world-famous headliners and crowds drawn from around the country.

View of the crowd enjoying the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (photo: Adam McCullough / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour and 30 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Jazz Fest Website

Another fantastic musical opportunity is Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Although the Jazz and Heritage Festival (located at the Fairgrounds near City Park) is decidedly not free, it’s also one of the best music festivals in the entire country! Headliners are usually world-famous and have included the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, and the Lumineers. 

Jazz Fest is a multi-day event in the spring, so you can peruse the schedule and pick out the perfect day for you (and maybe your family) to ride over to the Big Easy.

Louisiana Renaissance Festival

An annual Louisiana Renaissance Festival with fantastic entertainment and a quirky ambiance.

View of the people watching the performer at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival
A performer at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | Louisiana Renaissance Festival Website

The Louisiana Renaissance Festival might be a little niche, but it certainly draws an impressive crowd from around the state and even from Mississippi. It’s an outdoor event in Hammond themed like a Medieval Village, featuring fire jugglers, singing nuns, and all sorts of other weird performances. 

There’s music, scavenger hunts, and lots of little vendors selling cool homemade wares. So come bring your significant other or family and have a blast at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, where you can dress like a knight and eat a turkey leg. 

Kisatchie National Forest

Fantastic hiking and camping in some of the nearest hilly terrain in South Louisiana.

View of the Backbone Trail surrounded by greenery in Kisatchie National Forest on a sunny day
The Backbone Trail in Kisatchie National Forest

🗺️ Distance from Baton Rouge: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Kisatchie National Forest Website

Head on up to Kisatchie National Forest near Alexandria if you’d like to spend the day hiking some “real hills”. The area makes a fantastic day trip or overnight trip due to the plethora of campgrounds and even the opportunity to go backpacking. 

Other than Clark Creek, it’s the closest opportunity for “real hiking” in the Baton Rouge region. You can also enjoy bird watching and wildlife viewing. 


I hope that after reading this article, you have some great ideas for day trips from Baton Rouge! There are so many amazing places for day trippers to visit. For even more ideas, see our guide to the best spots to visit in Louisiana next!

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