March 7, 2019
Exploring Cajun Country
Posted by: Mae Mayeux
Cajun Country is a region in South Central Louisiana home to the majority of the state’s Francophone population. Also referred to as Acadiana, this vast and diverse region encompasses 22 parishes and stretches 100 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. In the North, you’ll find prairies and marshes, while closer to the coast, there’s swamps and bayous. Thriving cities and towns like Lafayette and Breaux Bridge boast great arts and culture scenes while the rich Atchafalaya Basin is home to an abundance of wildlife and natural wonders. Whether you come for history, culture, nature, or all of the above, Cajun Country has it all. Be sure to check out the Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association’s many charming properties located all throughout Cajun Country, from cottages and guesthouses to bed and breakfasts and historic homes.
Cajun refers specifically to the 18th century Acadian exiles expelled from Canada’s East Coast by the British and New Englanders during and after the French and Indian War. Though not everyone who lives in Acadia is Acadian or speaks Cajun French, the region’s fascinating history and culture is well worth exploring. We recommend starting at Acadian Village, a one-of-a-kind, open-air museum in Lafayette where visitors can get a taste of authentic Acadian life. With its well-preserved homes and historic charm, a trip to Acadian Village will surely transport you back in time to the 1800s. Visitors can choose from group tours or self-guided tours. The Acadian Village also offers workshops on Acadian rag doll making, quilting, traditional egg-dying, and more.
Another excellent living museum nearby is the Vermilionville Living History & Folklife Park, dedicated to preserving the Acadian, Creole, and Native American cultures of the area. Since opening in 1990, the village has become one of Lafayette’s finest tourist attractions, welcoming more than 60,000 visitors each year. Sitting on 23 beautiful, tree-dappled acres on the banks of Bayou Vermilion, it is one of the world’s largest physical representations of early Arcadian life. It boasts 19 attractions, including restored homes, gardens, historic exhibits, and local artisans demonstrating traditional crafts. Throughout the year, they host a variety of events, including beer festivals, musical performances, and culture days.
Arts and Culture
Lafayette is a thriving city boasting an excellent arts, culture, and culinary scene. It has even been nicknamed “The Happiest City in America.” After visiting Vermilionville and the Acadian Village, take some time to find out why. With its charming downtown and delicious Cajun cuisine, it’s not hard to see why the locals are smiling.
Music lovers flock to the Liberty Theater in Eunice, also known as the Cajun Grand Ol’ Opry. Located inside a 1924 vaudeville/movie house, the Liberty Theater is listed on the National Register of Historic places and has also been included in the Great American Movie Theaters Preservation Press Guide. During its heyday in the 1920’s and 1930’s, big stars like Fattie Arbuckle, Tex Ritter, Jimmy Clanton, and Roy Rogers graced the Liberty’s stage. It now hosts a variety of musical performances year round.
The Atchafalaya Basin
No trip to Cajun Country is complete without taking a day or two to explore the gorgeous Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, even larger than the famous Florida Everglades. It contains almost one million acres of America's most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes. The basin formed where the Atchafalaya River meets the Gulf of Mexico, creating a unique combination of wetlands and river delta that makes it five times more productive than any other river basin in North America. With its abundance of wildlife, beautiful terrain and waterways, and ample opportunity for outdoor adventure, the Atchafalaya Basin is a true Louisiana paradise. Swamp tours are one of the most popular activities in the basin. The easiest way to explore the area’s rich swamps is to take a tour with LeBlanc Swamp Tours, The Atchafalaya Experience, or McGee’s Louisiana Swamp Tours & Adventures. The basin is also a popular spot for paddling, biking, fishing, and birdwatching.
Planning a trip to Louisiana’s Cajun Country? Book a stay at one of the Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association’s many charming properties located all throughout the region!