Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known as the Happiest City in America and it’s no mystery why. Their distinctive blend of food, music and culture has people from all over heading down south with a smile on their face.
Cultural History lafayettetravel.com/explore/history-of-acadiana/
The region’s history dates back to the 18th century, when Canada’s Acadians were expelled in the late 1700s and settled in Louisiana. More than two centuries later tourists come to Lafayette to get a rare taste of the genuine Acadian experience, from traditional food fixings and music to the warm hospitality that greets you at every turn. For a taste of genuine history, visit Vermilionville, a 23 acre historic and folklife village that demonstrates Acadian, Creole and Native American history form the time period 1765 – 1890.
No matter what time of year you visit Lafayette they will have something for you to celebrate. That’s in large part because the region is teeming with celebratory events year round, from the largest outdoor francophone festival in the world, Festival International, to the fall’s Festival Acadiens et Creoles and of course Mardi Gras. One thing unique to Lafayette is the free concert series that take place in the fall and spring. Starting on Wednesday and going through Friday each evening in the fall and spring is filled with live music courtesy of local and traveling acts, all for free.
Lafayette has the Cajun & Creole flavors you crave, along with the freshest in Louisiana seafood, and always a little something unexpected. Homegrown chefs are putting an inventive spin on time-honored recipes with the freshest local ingredients. But don’t take their word for it. Lafayette has received many awards for their cuisine including being named the Tastiest Town of the South by Southern Living magazine, Best Food Town by Rand McNally and a Top 10 Foodie City by Livability.com.
One staple to the area’s unique cuisine is the smoked pork and rice delicacy known as boudin. While the ingredients are basic, the variations of how to cook boudin are endless, which is why you need to take a trip down the Boudin Trail. Stretching across the metro area there are a dozen restaurants cooking boudin every which way you can imagine, and some you can’t.
Lafayette also happens to be situated on the Mississippi Flyway and the Atchafalaya Loop of America’s Wetland Birding Trail. Nature watchers and photographers have access to some of the best birding sites in North America, including Spanish Lake. At last count, birders have spotted 240 species in its expansive shoreline and bottomland hardwood forest.
If paddling is your passion Lafayette is the perfect starting point to explore their rivers, swamps and bayous. The newest addition to Lafayette’s paddle trail is the creation of a three day, three night paddle trip that takes you through two parishes and multiple cities along the way where both primitive camping and lodging is available.
There’s no other place where you can experience multiple types of fresh and saltwater fishing all within a short drive of Lafayette. Cast your line from the shore of some of the most peaceful fishing spots along the banks of Lake Martin or the Atchafalaya Basin. Paddle or launch your boat near the Gulf of Mexico to discover the abundant species of fish, crabs and shrimp that can all be caught and cooked in a day.
Whether your passion is for their rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene or distinctive blend of Cajun and Zydeco music, you can be sure you will leave beaming from ear to ear.