Ditch The Cold For This Road Trip Through A Gorgeous, Warm-Weathered State This Winter

Many people associate road trips with the summer time. Windows down, music blasting, and sunshine pouring in through the windows are all key components of such a trip. However, summer isn't the only time to embark on a road trip vacation, especially if you're in a northern region that you'll want to escape in the winter. If you're used to snow and ice, then you can switch things up and venture down south for a sunny trip, specifically to Louisiana.

The state is home to a plethora of towns with their own unique flares. For example, there's the tiny town of Cocodrie, where you'll find great catches if you go fishing, and then there's Ponchatoula, where you'll find antique shops galore. Of course, you'll probably want to spend a day or two in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which offer a variety of things to do and fascinating places to explore. So the next time you're craving sun and fun in the middle of winter, plan your next road trip, leave your heavy coat behind, fill up your gas tank, and get ready to explore Louisiana.

Where to go for nature and culture

Step one to planning your winter road trip includes mapping out which cities and towns you want to traverse. You can figure this out by narrowing your interests. For nature lovers, you'll want to visit places that have parks and outdoorsy activities. One place to pencil in is Atchafalaya Basin, the state's largest swamp. It's about a two-hour drive from New Orleans and offers you a swamp adventure. If you're a little bit scared to explore the basin — there are alligators lurking, after all — then you can opt for a boat tour. McGee's Swamp Tours offers educational swamp and airboat tours that start at $35 per adult. Another spot that's worth visiting, especially for nature lovers, is the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. This wildlife refuge is only 30 minutes outside of New Orleans and is home to a wide variety of animal species and habitats.

If you're hoping to experience and explore the vibrant cultures in Louisiana, then you'll want to stop by towns such as Abbeville or Maurice, where you'll likely hear French being spoken by residents and find local restaurants with delectable Cajun food. Stop by the museums, browse local markets, and chat with the locals if you want to learn more about Cajun culture.

Routes for history buffs

History buffs will want to fill their itinerary with historic sites and museum visits. One great place to start is the African American Heritage Trail. You'll learn about and visit sites that played important roles in the Civil Rights movement, the development of jazz, and so much more. On this "trail," you'll find places like the Delta Music Museum, as well as churches and former plantations, such as the St. Augustine Church and the Melrose Plantation as you drive through towns like Ferriday and Melrose. You can also learn more about Southern U.S. history if you drive along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. You'll encounter more plantations, such as the Oak Alley Plantation, which you can tour and learn about its somber history, and other cultural hubs like the city of Lafayette, where you'll find a variety of art museums, music venues, markets, and more.

Louisiana is home to great natural beauty and rich history. Next time you're looking for a warm-weather escape once the cold settles in, consider making a road trip across Louisiana a vacation priority.