The author, Meg O'Connor, outside the Longfellow-Evangeline National Historic Site, in one of the best small towns in Louisiana

12 Small Towns in Louisiana to Visit in 2023 (By a Local)

Everyone knows about New Orleans, but there are plenty of small towns in Louisiana with big personalities. While it’s always fun to see the major cities in Louisiana, sometimes you don’t get to know a place until you explore its small towns!

This is particularly true in Louisiana, where the towns off the beaten track are infused with authentic Cajun culture and feel different than anywhere else in America. Once you’ve finished exploring the best things to see in New Orleans, it’s time to discover Louisiana’s small towns.

I’m a Louisiana local, and I can guide you to all the spots you shouldn’t miss! Read on to learn more about the little Louisiana towns scattered between the major cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge. 

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12 Best Louisiana Small Towns


A small cowboy enclave in bayou country.

A pony ride during Christmas season in Folsom
Christmas pony rides at a small fair in Folsom

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Folsom is a small town northwest of Covington that has a bit of a wild west flair to its bayou spirit. It is full of ranches and horse farms. At some of these farms, you and your family can pay to trail ride either independently or with a guide.

For a small town, Folsom has several hip places to hang out and even some art galleries. One of my favorites is Giddy Up Folsom. It’s decked out in leather western decor, and although it’s predominantly a coffee shop, it also serves snack, lunch, and alcoholic drinks. Giddy Up has frequent events like live concerts in the evenings.

Folsom has the added benefit of being quite close to Covington in one direction and Bogue Chitto State Park in the other. Bogue Chitto Park is full of adventure, with a wonderful campground, hiking trails, horseback riding, and a riverine beach.


Locally famous for its antique shops, strawberries, and resident alligator.

Close up view of strawberries on a market in Ponchatoula
Ponchatoula is famous for its strawberries

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Ponchatoula was originally established as a fishing village. It’s located in Tangipahoa Parish in South Louisiana and has a population of a little over 6,000. An interesting fact about Pontchatoula’s founding is that the first mayor was a leading member of the Temperance Movement and kept out of Ponchatoula for as long as he could.

The downtown is made up of a few adorable streets lined with many antique shops. One of my favorites is C.J.’s Antiques and Collectables, which has multiple buildings full of treasures and can take literal hours to explore. 

The center of Ponchatoula has a famous white alligator on display, and the town is known for its Ponchatoula Strawberries and annual strawberry festival.

St. Francisville

A beautiful Victorian town near some excellent hiking.

The Myrtles Plantation from the outside
The Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville

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St. Francisville was originally founded on a ridge atop a Mississippi River bluff and was historically called the “town two miles long and two yards long.” The population was less than 2,000 during the 2010 census. 

St. Francisville is home to many incredible mansions and historic homes. The Myrtles Plantation is a popular tourist destination, in part for its beauty and in part for its haunted reputation. The Audubon State Historic Site holds the temporary home of John James Audubon and remains a hub for bird watchers. 

Perhaps best of all, the bluffs upon which St. Francisville was built makes for some epic nearby hiking. Be sure to check out nearby Clarks Creek just over the Mississippi border. The hiking trail passes multiple waterfalls and is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Abita Springs

Famous historically as a Victorian spa town and in modern times for its brewery.

A man visiting the Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs
The Abita Mystery House in Abita Springs (photo: Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock)

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Abita Springs is a town of just over 2,000 people on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain about 45 miles from New Orleans. The town was first occupied by the Choctaw people who valued the natural springs flowing through the area. According to legend, a Spaniard married a local Choctaw woman who became very ill before the waters of Abita Springs healed her.

Today, you can still collect these supposedly healing waters from a spigot in the center of town. But downtown Abita Springs also caters to more modern sensibilities, with the Abita Taproom and its frequent live music and a weekly Farmer’s Market.

The Abita Mystery House is an unusual attraction that’s extremely difficult to describe. I’ll give it a try: it’s an eclectic, quasi-artistic, quasi-mystical assortment of ephemera that you can only find in Abita Springs. An Abita Mystery House bumper sticker on the back of your car is a local handshake of sorts.


A charming old-world town complete with an English tea room.

The author with her friends kayaking at Bogue Falaya Covington
Some friends and me kayaking the Bogue Falaya in Covington last summer

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Covington is a charming Northshore town about 40 miles from New Orleans with a scenic river–the Bogue Falaya–running through it. The Bogue Falaya stays cool even in the hottest months of Louisiana’s summer, making it a fantastic bayou for kayaking and swimming. 

The river weaves its way through the sleepy, picturesque Bogue Falaya Park. It also meanders past The Chimes Covington, which has a beautiful porch overlooking its banks and phenomenal local cuisine.

Downtown Covington dates to the early 1800s and features the English Tea Room as well as trendy restaurants and the historic Southern Hotel. The Southern Hotel has an amazing bar that feels like a 19th century university library and is open to the public.


A charming old world town complete with an English tea room.

The author smiling inside a submarine displayed in Lake Pontchartrain Basin Museum
Me in a submarine at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Museum in Madisonville

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Madisonville is one of the smaller towns on the Tchefuncte River on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain about 30 miles from New Orleans. For a small town of less than 1,500 people, Madisonville really packs a punch when it comes to experience.

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville is an immersive educational experience unique to the region. The museum holds nautical events frequently. They also own the Tchefuncte Lighthouse, which can only be accessed by boat. The lighthouse keeper’s cottage has been moved to the museum.

The Madisonville riverfront is lined with small funky bars and seafood restaurants as well as opulent mansions (including actor John Goodman’s). 

St. Martinville

The literary and romantic hidden gem of Acadiana.

The author outside the Longfellow-Evangeline National Historic Site, in a small town in Louisiana
Me in front of a historic house at the Longfellow-Evangeline National Historic Site

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St. Martinville is located about 40 minutes from New Iberia in Acadiana (Cajun Country, or Southwestern Louisiana). It is one of the most truly Cajun locales you will find and exudes pride for its longstanding heritage.

The Longfellow-Evangeline Historic Site in St. Martinville has a visitor’s center and historic grounds dating to 1815. The site has an example of raised Creole cottage architecture that is a National Historic Landmark. 

In the center of town you’ll find the Evangeline Oak Tree. Just like the Longfellow-Evangeline house, the Oak honors Longfellow’s famous poem about two Acadian lovers that has come to symbolize the region’s identity and pride.


A beer and dog lover’s paradise.

A colorful wall art inside the Parish Brewing Co
Parish Brewing Co. in Broussard

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Broussard (also a 30 minute drive from New Iberia in Lafayette Parish) is home to the famous Parish brewing. The Brewery tasting room is a low-key neighborhood gathering spot that welcomes dogs both inside and out. The room is decorated with colorful and macabre street art, and the beer is excellent.


A Cajun town with the most educational and inviting Courir de Mardi Gras.

Men on costumes riding a horse during Courir de Mardi Gras
The Courir de Mardi Gras in Eunice (photo: Elliot Cowand Jr. / Shutterstock)

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Eunice is the perfect destination for anyone interested in an authentic Cajun experience. First of all, it’s home of the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, run by the National Park Service. The cultural center features a movie about the Acadian diaspora that is unparalleled. I have a friend still talking about that movie (that she saw in a hole-in-the-wall Park Service office) five years later.

Eunice also has some amazing music venues. A friend and I saw the Pine Leaf Boys (a Cajun band) at an amazing barn venue in Eunice. I strongly recommend music in barns in Eunice. The Liberty Theater is a famous music venue in the center of town.

Each year, Eunice has a phenomenal Mardi Gras (Courir de Mardi Gras) festival that caters both to locals and visitors who want to learn more about Cajun Mardi Gras.

Breaux Bridge

It’s the Crawfish Capital of the World and might have the best food in the state.

View of people during the Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge
The Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge (photo: Pierre Jean Durieu / Shutterstock)

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Breaux Bridge is the Crawfish Capital of the World. The town hosts an annual crawfish festival that draws in locals and visitors alike. The town also has some of the best food in the region and is a great jumping-off point for swamp tours of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Grand Isle

The fishing town at the end of the world, known as Sportsman’s Paradise.

View from a beach in Grand Isle
A beach on Grand Isle

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Grand Isle is a fishing community that is almost as far south as you can go in South Louisiana. It is chock full of fishing camps on stilts and opportunities to take a chartered fishing cruise. Grand Isle is also home to Grand Isle State Park with its beaches and trails.

The Grand Isle beach is the location of Kate Chopin’s narrator’s final demise in The Awakening, making it a potential pilgrimage site for literary buffs in addition to avid fishermen.

Regardless of your interest in either of these subjects, Grand Isle is part of a dying breed of Louisiana town. As the sea level rises and the muddy subsurface of the Louisiana Delta wears ever-more thin, the fragility of places like Grand Isle has become clear. If it’s for that reason alone, make sure you see this gem of a fishing outpost when you visit the Bayou State.


Home to a road that ends at the sea and a bizarre sculpture garden.

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There’s not much south of the city of Houma, but there is Chauvin. It’s home to a marine studies field station, one restaurant that will serve you fish caught in the Gulf about an hour ago by some guy the waitress knows personally, and maybe two hotels.

Although Chauvin might not seem like much, it’s one of the places that first made me fall in love with Louisiana. Where else can you drive down a road that just…ends? Because it hits the ocean? Just for a moment, you feel like you’ve reached the end of the world.

If that’s not enough to draw you in, maybe Chauvin’s sculpture garden will pique your interest. The sculptures are life-sized depictions of religious themes made from brick and concrete by a self-taught artist from the bayou. The sculptures took the artist ten years to complete, and after he finished, he left the area with no explanation, leaving his sculpture garden behind.

FAQs About Towns in Louisiana

What are some interesting small towns in Louisiana to visit?

Some interesting small towns in Louisiana include Ponchatoula, St. Francisville, St. Martinville, Eunice, and Grand Isle.

How many towns and cities are there in Louisiana?

According to the census bureau, Louisiana has a total of 169 census-designated towns and cities. 

What towns in Louisiana are good to live in?

Some of the best towns to live in Louisiana include Covington, Madisonville, St. Francisville, Abita Springs, and Breaux Bridge. For more, see our guide to the best places to live in Louisiana.


I hope after reading this article about the small towns in the Pelican State, you have some more ideas about good towns in Louisiana to visit or live in. To find more major cities and other spots to visit, check out my guide to the best places to see in Louisiana.

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  1. I just wanted to say all the towns you told us about are great, but how about some of the small towns in Northeast, northwest, Louisiana. Could you look into towns in this area. Oh I forgot southwest part of the state to. Thank you
    Vickie Alford, USAF veteran

    1. There are a lot of small towns in north Louisiana with a lot to see and do . With good places to eat at and great people . There is the farm country and the hilly part of the state .

    1. What about Natchitoches? First settlement of the Louisiana Purchase. Beautiful town known as the Cotynof Lights. South Louisiana is wonderful, but there is a lot to see and do in the rest of the state.

      1. Yes, Natchitoches is a nice place to visit.
        I love Natchitoches, the lights, the energy, fun places, and the ppls are amazing.

  2. I live in Rayville and there are a lot of small towns near me. It’s quite around here and 19 miles from Monroe. Yes Northeast Louisiana has great small towns, its seems as if you might need to come up above Alexandria. I’m just saying.

  3. I stay in a small ghost. It is called Newellton. All they have is a post office gas station and family and dollar general store. 😞

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