August 5, 2018
Exploring Louisiana's Plantation Country
Posted by: Mae Mayeux
Louisiana’s Plantation Country is a timeless place of enchantment, mystery, and beauty. If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling back to the romance of the antebellum South, then traveling through Plantation Country might just be the next best thing. One of the most historic corridors in all of Louisiana, Plantation Country is home to ten Civil War-era plantations where you can take a tour and learn a little bit more about the complex and tumultuous period in our nation’s history. There is nothing quite like stepping inside one of these well-preserved plantations, where you can feel the region’s rich history and culture with every step. However, there is more to do in Plantation Country beyond touring plantations. You’ll also find thriving cities, beautiful wildlife refuges, and fascinating swamps brimming with wildlife.
The heart of Plantation County is Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge. Once a sleepy river town overshadowed by New Orleans, Baton Rouge is a now a thriving cultural center boasting delicious food, great music, and fascinating historic sites. For more information, read our guide to the Perfect 48 Hours in Baton Rouge. While you’re there, we highly recommend visiting its two historic Capitals and the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, a 103-acre stretch of protected land dotted with cypress and tupelo trees and populated by hundreds of species of birds.
History buffs will fall in love with the glory and romance of Plantation Country. Though there are many plantations to choose from, we recommend paying a visit to Oak Alley, also a LBBA member property. Oak Alley gets its name from the stately, 300-year old oak trees that form a scenic arch over the road leading up to the property. With its Greek columns and elegant, shuttered decks, Oak Alley is a stunning example of 19th century plantation architecture. After you tour the Slavery at Oak Alley and Civil War exhibits and visit the Sugarcane Theater and Big House, grab a delicious lunch at the on-site restaurant.
The Nottoway Plantation is the South’s largest antebellum mansion. This magnificent 1850s sugar estate is located on the banks of the Mississippi River just off the historic River Road. Visitors often find themselves entranced by Nottoway’s grand balconies and the spectacular three-story Rotunda that overlooks brilliant lawns dotted with oaks.
If you’re in St. Francisville, head to the Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, once a successful cotton and timber plantation and now a beautiful, 371-acre historic site consisting of a main house, charming European gardens, and 13 immaculately preserved buildings.
While in St. Francisville, we also recommend paying a visit to the Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, dedicated to conserving, restoring, and protecting the region’s diverse flora and fauna. The refuge is home to the largest tree of any species east of the Sierra Nevadas. At 96-feet tall, 16-feet wide, and 1,500-years old, the Bald Cypress tree is truly a sight to behold. Cat Island Wildlife Refuge encompasses 3,000 acres of cypress-tupelo swamp habitat, where you’ll find a variety of hardwood trees and spot some of the region’s migratory waterfowl.
Every nature lover should take time to explore the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland and swamp in the entire United States. The basin formed where the Atchafalaya River meets the Gulf of Mexico, creating a unique combination of wetlands and river delta. The easiest way to explore the basin’s swamps is to take a tour with LeBlanc Swamp Tours, The Atchafalaya Experience, or McGee’s Louisiana Swamp Tours & Adventures.
Wherever you go in Louisiana’s Plantation Country, romance and history are never far away. A trip through Plantation Country is a true delight to the senses and to the imagination. You’ll hear stories of haunted plantations and war-torn lovers, explore the region’s swamps and bayous, and get a taste of the history and culture that make this part of the state so beautiful and unique.
Planning a trip to Louisiana Plantation Country? Book a stay at one of the Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association's many wonderful and unique properties located throughout the region.