7-Day Itinerary Lafayette Louisiana Cajun Country USA

Anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Lafayette Louisiana. Anyone who asks me about my favorite places so far on my big road trip will know how much I adore Lafayette Louisiana. Since people often ask me what there is to do in Lafayette and how many days they should spend there, I put together this 7 day itinerary to help anyone plan a trip to Lafayette.

With a one week itinerary you get to spend some time exploring the art, food, museums and music of Lafayette along with plenty of outdoor activities. Whether you are traveling solo or on a family vacation to Lafayette you’ll find plenty to do and see!

If your preference is to wing it then I’ve got you covered too – check out my great big list of things to do in Lafayette. You can pick and choose your favorite type of activity and plan each day to your liking. I also made a separate list of 11 great day trips from Lafayette so use that for your guide to daily outings around Lafayette.

 

Hey, you can listen to the podcast on Lafayette LA right here!

I was interviewed about Lafayette by Chris Christensen from Amateur Traveler. We cover the 7-day itinerary in this podcast – click the play button to listen now.

Amateur Traveler Episode 671 – Travel to Lafayette, Louisiana

 

This post contains compensated links. See my disclosure about affiliate links here

7 days in Lafayette Louisiana itinerary

 

Lafayette may be Louisiana’s best kept secret! Everyone has heard of New Orleans and I love visiting NOLA but Lafayette is my favorite place in Louisiana. Why?! It’s the culture, sweetie.

Lafayette is the heart of Acadiana region in Louisiana, the area where the Acadians (French settlers) found a new place to live, years after the British expelled them from the lands now known as Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in eastern Canada.

Where is Acadiana? The region stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to about 100 miles inland but excludes the greater New Orleans region. Acadiana includes 22 parishes – there are 64 in total in Louisiana. Parishes are administrative districts – in other states they are called counties.

You will find French influence all around South Louisiana, particularly with the music and food of the Cajun and Creole people. Lafayette will fill your belly with good food and your heart with love.

 

1 Week Itinerary Lafayette Louisiana

WEDNESDAY – Day 1 in Lafayette

Breakfast downtown – Black Café at 518 S Pierce St #100 (open Sunday through Friday)


Just a couple blocks away you want to visit Park Sans Souci – the little downtown park with the BIG Lafayette sign. Actually, giant letters spell out LAFA_ETTE and you stand in place of the Y – with your arms outstretched – you fill in for the Y of the Lafayette sign.

 

Giant letters spell LAFF ETTE so you can stand in for the Y in downtown Lafayette LA

Giant letters spell LAFF ETTE so you can stand in for the Y to complete LAFAYETTE

 

201 E Vermilion Street

Next visit San Souci Fine Crafts Gallery – it’s right next to the park. The gallery features handmade art and crafts by local artists – a great place to pick up some gifts for friends and family.


219 E Vermilion Street

Also nearby is Sola Violins where you can see or shop for beautiful violins, cello, bass, and violas.

100 E Vermilion #102


If you want local souvenirs visit Jefferson Street: Lagniappe Records, Parish Ink, and Mattea Studio. There are also many restaurants and cafes on Jefferson Street.


Next up on the itinerary is Vermilionville – a Living History Museum

300 Vermilion Rd

Vermilionville sits on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion, with 7 restored original homes with costumed artisans that provide demonstrations on crafts performed by the early settlers – wood carving, weaving, etc.

 

Cliff Mire - wood carver demonstrates his skills at Vermilionville museum in Lafayette

Wood carver Cliff Mire demonstrates his skills at Vermilionville museum

 

Their mission is to increase appreciation for the history, culture, and natural resources of the Native Americans, Acadians, Creoles, and people of African descent in the Attakapas region through the end of the 1800s. (Attakapas Parish – one of the 12 parishes in the Territory of Orleans – Louisiana Purchase 1803 – became State of Louisiana in 1812.

 

Le Petit Bayou Ferry at Vermilionville history museum in Lafayette LA

Ferry yourself across the bayou on Le Petit Bayou Ferry at Vermilionville history museum in Lafayette LA

 

While at Vermilionville you can transport yourself across the bayou via the Petit Bayou ferry – you use a rope to ferry across the bayou – it’s fun!

 

 

Head back downtown for lunch at Johnson’s Boucaniere – grab a plate lunch or try some boudin, BBQ, or smoked meat.

1111 St John Street

What is a plate lunch?

A plate lunch is basically the special of the day and features down home comfort foods like smothered pork chops, fried catfish, rice and gravy and a choice of side dishes like collard greens, mashed potatoes, etc. Restaurants often have a schedule for the plate lunches, for instance on Mondays they might have a smothered pork chop with your choice of side dishes, then Tuesday is brisket, etc.

 

Drive to Lake Martin (1209 Rookery Road) for a swamp tour – around 2 hours for the tour and allow 30 minutes to get there. The swamp tour is fun and informative.

You will probably see alligators – although they are in sleep mode in the colder winter months – similar to hibernation, reptiles will bromate in the winter. But alligators will come out to enjoy the sunshine on warmer winter days.

 

Large trunks of Cypress Trees in Lake Martin during a swamp tour

Take a Swamp Tour at Lake Martin to learn about the Cypress Trees and wildlife in the area

 

There are at least two tour operators at Lake Martin – Cajun Country Swamp Tours and Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours. It’s best to make a reservation but if you don’t have one or they’re already booked up you can rent a canoe to paddle around the lake. Or you can walk alongside the water – be aware of alligators and do not approach wildlife, give them plenty of space.

 

Great Egret at Lake Martin in south Louisiana

Take a tour of Lake Martin or rent a kayak and paddle around the lake for wonderful birdwatching

 

Happy Hour at Wurst Biergarten – outdoor venue

537 Jefferson Street

Dinner at Pamplona Tapas Bar (631 Jefferson Street) then music and dancing at Blue Moon Saloon Cajun jam session (215 E Convent Street) or dinner and music at Café Vermilionville (1304 W Pinhook Rd) courtyard music series

(Wednesdays only for both events)

 

THURSDAY – Day 2 in Lafayette

Enjoy breakfast at Rusted Rooster  – My favorite menu item is the Ragin Rooster – a buttermilk biscuit with spicy fried chicken breast and a pepper jelly glaze – so delicious! Lots of other biscuit choices and classic breakfast items to choose from.

105 St Landry Street

 

Cathedral of St John the Evangelist Lafayette

Cathedral of St John the Evangelist Lafayette

 

Cathedral of St John the Evangelist and Cathedral Oak. Call to schedule a tour of the cathedral. The Cathedral Oak is recognized as Second Vice President and a founding member of the Live Oak Society. The tree is around 500 years old and almost 30 ft in circumference.

515 Cathedral Street

 

Big and beautiful Cathedral Oak in downtown Lafayette Louisiana is about 500 years oldis about 500 years old

Big and beautiful Cathedral Oak in downtown Lafayette Louisiana is about 500 years old

 

Drive to Avery Island – tour Tabasco factory and Jungle Gardens – botanical gardens and bird sanctuary

Lunch at Café Jefferson at Rip Van Winkle Gardens

Tour Jefferson mansion and stroll through Rip Van Winkle Gardens

 

Tabasco storage tanks at the Tabasco factory tour in Avery Island Louisiana

Touring the Tabasco factory in Avery Island Louisiana is an interesting day trip from Lafayette

 

St Martinville – Visit the Evangeline Oak made famous by Longfellow’s poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie.  Next to the Evangeline Oak visit the African American Museum and the Acadian Memorial – one admission ticket gets you into both.

Afterwards take a short drive to the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site – the oldest state park site in Louisiana.

1200 N Main Street, St Martinville


Dinner at Pop’s Po’boys downtown at 740 Jefferson Street


Live music and bowling at Rock n Bowl located at 905 Jefferson Street

 

Flags wave at the entrance to Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site in St Martinville LA

Flags wave at the entrance to Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site in St Martinville LA

 

FRIDAY – Day 3 in Lafayette

Breakfast downtown at The French Press – Enjoy chicken and waffles, praline bacon, boudin sliders made with bacon, fried boudin balls, and Steen’s cane syrup.

214 E Vermilion Street

 

Fried chicken on top of a waffle at French Press restaurant in Lafayette LA

Try the Chicken and Waffle at French Press restaurant in downtown Lafayette

 

Go kayaking or canoeing at Lake Martin

Lunch at Bach Lunch event – Park San Souci – March/April and October/November downtown concert series every Friday. Local restaurants sell boxed lunches to benefit Lafayette Science Museum.

OR lunch at Poupart’s Bakery or dessert at Poupart’s after Bach lunch

100 E Vermilion Street


After lunch enjoy some art and a couple of short walks. Start out at Hilliard University Art Museum (Paul & Lulu Hilliard)

710 E St Mary Blvd


Girard Park is less than 5 minute walk from Hilliard, and it’s the venue for the Festival Acadiens et Creoles free music event in Lafayette from Oct 11 – 13 2019.

500 Girard Park Drive

 

Sheryl Cormier and family music jam at Festival Acadiens et Creoles in Lafayette LAcadiens et Creoles in Lafayette LA

Sheryl Cormier and family jamming at Festival Acadiens et Creoles in Lafayette LA

 

Cypress Lake at ULL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) is about a 10 minute walk. Look for the alligators  but be careful if it’s mating season around April through June. Wildlife tend to become more aggressive towards intruders during mating season. Who wants to be interrupted during courtship?! Do not approach alligators and NEVER feed wildlife.

Dinner and music with Downtown Alive! event at Parc International in spring and fall from March – May and Sept to Nov.

You can go out for an early dinner at Saint Street Inn (407 Brook Ave) before the Downtown Alive event.

If Downtown Alive is not on the agenda go have dinner and catch some live music at Artmosphere – indoor seating and dance floor plus large outdoor seating area.

 

SATURDAY – Day 4 in Lafayette

On day four in Lafayette you have a couple of options to decide or you can do a bit of both!

Buck and Johnny’s Zydeco breakfast in Breaux Bridge – dance to the Zydeco rhythms.

100 Berard Street in Breaux Bridge – about 25 minute drive from downtown Lafayette


Then visit Lake Martin for canoeing/kayaking, and birdwatching or alligator watching

Lunch in Breaux Bridge at Poche’s Market and Restaurant

3015 Main Hwy #A

 

Poche's Meat Market and Smokehouse in Breaux Bridge Louisiana

Poche’s Meat Market and Smokehouse in Breaux Bridge Louisiana

 

OR drive to Eunice (about 45 minutes from Lafayette) and do the Savoy Music Center Cajun Jam from 9 am to noon.

 

Mural of a man on horseback in a field welcomes visitors to Eunice LA

Explore Cajun culture in Eunice Louisiana – perfect day trip from Lafayette

 

Also in Eunice you’ll visit the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center – music and cooking/tasting demo each Saturday afternoon – FREE admission.

Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Eunice Depot Museum next door. At 6 pm on Saturday nights the Liberty Theater features Rendez-vous des Cajuns Cajun Music Radio and TV Show – enjoy music and dancing.

Stop at Best Stop Supermarket in Scott LA for Cracklins and boudin on the way there or back.

615 Hwy LA-93

Dinner: Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant – a former Conoco gas station converted to a restaurant and bar. Spoonbill opened in 2018 and it’s a popular dining spot in Lafayette so reservations are recommended.

900 Jefferson Street

 

Spoonbill Restaurant in downtown Lafayette LA - formerly a Conoco gas station

A Conoco gas station finds a new life as the Spoonbill Watering Hole and Restaurant in downtown Lafayette

 

SUNDAY – Day 5 in Lafayette

A lot of places in Lafayette are closed on Sunday!

So drive to Arnaudville and brunch at Little Big Cup –then visit NUNU art collective/gallery. Afterwards taste some local brew at Bayou Teche Brewing

 

The big outdoor seating area at Little Big Cup in Arnaudville LA

Little Big Cup in Arnaudville puts on a fantastic brunch – indoor and outdoor seating along the Bayou Fusilier

 

Drive to Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge (open daily)

Hiking, kayaking, or canoeing, fishing, hunting, skeet ranges, RTV trails, and birdwatching.

Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth and paddlefish.

Recreational fishing is open year round, subject to state of Louisiana licensing and regulations.

 

Dinner –  Zea Rotisserie and Bar – Asian and American with a Cajun/Creole twist

235 Doucet Rd

 

MONDAY – Day 6 in Lafayette

A lot of places are closed on Monday too!

Acadiana Day! A lot of things related to Acadian life and culture are on the agenda for day six in Lafayette.

After breakfast start out with a visit to the Acadian Village at 200 Greenleaf Drive

Open from 10 am to 4 pm this Cultural Museum is an excellent place to learn more about Acadian culture. Note the museum is closed November but opens in December with a big Christmas light display.

 

Boardwalk nature trail at Acadian Nature Station in Lafayette LA

Walk the nature trails at Acadiana Nature Station

 

Next up is a visit to the Acadiana Park Nature Station – This is an offshoot of the Lafayette Science Museum. Explore the nature trails and watch for birds and wildlife. Chat with the knowledgeable staff about local flora and fauna. There is also a  small display area with lots of interesting finds from nature.

1205 E Alexander Street

  • Monday–Friday 8:00am–5:00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 11:00am–5:00pm

 

Snake skins and a skull on display at Acadiana Nature Station in Lafayette

Snake skins and a skull on display at Acadiana Nature Station in Lafayette

 

Lunch at Olde Tyme Grocery for a traditional style Po’boy sandwich. Counter service with indoor and outdoor seating.

218 W St Mary Blvd


ACA – Acadiana Center for the Arts – FREE to visit the art exhibits – check their events page for tickets to performing arts events. You’ll have an excellent view of the stage from any seat at ACA.

101 W Vermilion Street


Dinner – Cajun food at Bon Temps Grill in south Lafayette at 1312 Verot School Road. The restaurant is open daily so it’s a good choice especially on Sundays or Mondays when a lot of other restaurants are closed in Lafayette.

 

TUESDAY – Day 7 in Lafayette

Choose your favorite breakfast spot in Lafayette then visit the Science Museum (433 Jefferson St) and the Makerspace at the downtown library (301 W Congress St) – this is a great option if you are traveling with kids.

OR visit Lafayette Museum (Alexander Mouton House)

Built in 1800 by city founder Jean Mouton, it later belonged to Jean’s son, Alexandre, first Democratic governor of Louisiana.

1122 Lafayette Street


Then visit Acadian Cultural Center – Watch the 30 minute film and enjoy the exhibits.

501 Fisher Road

 

The Lafayette Acadian Cultural Center museum in Lafayette LA - photo of display panels

A visit to Lafayette Acadian Cultural Center is a must for learning about Cajun culture

 

A reminder if you want local souvenirs visit Jefferson Street downtown: Lagniappe Records, Parish Ink, and Mattea Studio. And Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery at 219 E Vermilion St.

Lunch Laura’s Two – excellent plate lunch and Creole Cajun food – stuffed turkey wings are Laura’s specialty but if those are sold out try something else like the smothered pork chop or fried catfish. Show up early for best selection – open from 10:30 to 2:30 daily.

1904 W University Ave


Drive to to the small city of Opelousas in St Landry Parish (30 minutes) and try to find all the art work of Fiddle Mania – oversize violins/fiddles decorated by local artists.

 

Large fiddle painted red with an image of a fiddle player on the back - part of Opelousas LA Fiddle Mania public art

Drive to Opelousas and find all the giant fiddles around town created for Fiddle Mania by local artists

 

Ville Platte – Visit the Swamp Pop Museum – that’s Swamp Pop music, not soda pop by the way! And visit Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning store. Spices and seasonings are a great gift for any of you foodie or gourmet friends.

A short drive to Chicot State Park at 3469 Chicot Park Rd in Ville Platte will bring you to hiking among the giant cypress trees, or go canoeing and fishing. Campsites and cabins are available for rent.

 

Map of the trails at Chicot State park Arboretum in Louisiana

Wander the trails of the Louisiana State Arboretum in Chicot State Park

 

Dinner at Tsunami for all night happy hour specials. And Tsunami is not just sushi. My fave menu item is the “blackened” salmon with kimchee smothered collard greens.

412 Jefferson St

Not into sushi at all? Go to Central Pizza or pick your fave restaurant and revisit!

423 Jefferson St

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When you are craving dessert any day of the week in Lafayette check out Carpe Diem Gelato and Espresso

You could even have espresso and gelato for breakfast if you like because they open at 7 am on weekdays and 9 am on weekends.

812 Jefferson St

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Vegetarian Dining Options in Lafayette

  • Saint Street Inn has vegan options available – 407 Brook Ave – close to downtown
  • Masala Indian Kitchen – 2208 Kaliste Saloom Rd – south of downtown
  • Zeus Café – Mediterranean – several locations – check their website for closest one to you
  • Sandra’s Café and Health Food Store – 111 Rena Drive #C (south of downtown)

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 Chill out or Work Out in Lafayette

If you need a chill out day or workout day or it’s too-hot-to-do-anything day – go and enjoy the swimming pools at Red’s Gym.

301 Doucet Rd

  • Indoor lap pool, indoor warm temp pool, outdoor lap pool, hot tub, cold plunge pool
  • Basketball, indoor track, weight rooms, separate women’s only weight room, racquetball, tennis courts.
  • Steam rooms and dry sauna in the change rooms.
  • Healthy food at the café + cookies :)
  • Upstairs lounge serves adult beverages

Day passes available – also 10-day pass – call or inquire the front desk

 

Spanish moss decorates a live oak tree in south Louisiana

Spanish moss decorates a live oak tree in south Louisiana

 

Summary of One Week in Lafayette

Now you have a plan to organize your trip to Lafayette with fun activities and a variety of things to do both indoors and outdoors. Although this is a full week itinerary if you can only do a weekend trip to Lafayette just select the Friday to Sunday section for your itinerary. You’re all set with a travel plan.

If you get to spend some time in Lafayette, you are blessed with good fortune. You will return home, but with a longing to return to Lafayette for the music and dancing, food and drink, the people and folklore.

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One week itinerary Lafayette Louisiana

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

10 Replies

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  1. Jacquelin Hebert says:

    This is fantastic. All my favorite places, plus MORE. Cant wait to try this. Thank you!!!

  2. Joan Shelly says:

    This is terrific! The only thing you missed was the Cajun Food Tour. It’s a ton of fun — samples of local food and commentary on the history of Acadiana.

  3. Andrew Lewis says:

    Originally from Acadiana and now living in Mobile….this article just made me SO hungry and now makes me want to visit Lafayette as a tourist :)

    • Andrew, Writing this article made me hungry too. I think you should plan a road trip to Lafayette soon :) For my next trip I’m already planning out my visit according to where I’m going to eat…Lafayette is the BEST! Cheers, Susan

  4. Jo Harmon says:

    What a fun filled trip. So much to see and do. It’s no wonder you LOVE it there! Love the video of you hauling yourself to the other side.

    • Thanks Jo! I lucked out when I took the little ferry, I asked a guy to take a photo for me, and he took the video instead, nice! Traveling alone I rarely get videos of myself. Looking forward to my next trip to Lafayette this winter, hope to be there for the Cinema on the Bayou film festival at the end of January. Cheers, Susan

  5. Helen says:

    If your ever in Opelousas again try Kelly’s diner for lunch between 11-2

    • Helen, thanks for the tip about Kelly’s Dines – always looking for new places to go to. I looked at their menu and I’ll be trying it out for sure next trip…so hungry for Louisiana cooking right now! Cheers, Susan

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