Lafayette, Louisiana

En route from Houma to Lafayette, make the side trip to Avery Island. It’s another nature-lover’s paradise, with exotic gardens and a rookery for snowy egrets. “Jungle Gardens” and “Bird City,” as the attractions are called, are part of the Tabasco® campus, one of America’s first names in hot sauce. Take the Tabasco® factory tour to see how the piquant sauces are made, and inquire about culinary tours of the surrounding area.

Lafayette lets you “stew” in that cultural mélange I referenced earlier. This capital of Cajun Country is ideal for exploring southern Louisiana’s French, Spanish, Native American and African influences in cultural repositories like the Acadiana Center for the Arts (check the calendar before you go for amazing musical performances) and Vermilionville, a living regional history village. For more music, settle in at Blue Moon Saloon to enjoy regional acts and the Wednesday evening Cajun jam.