If you only have a day to spare head to Bayou/Lafourche Parish (www.lacajunbayou.com), an hour west of New Orleans via US 90-W. There is a loose delineation between “prairie” Cajuns (those residing in the area where our 3-day tour takes you) and those of the Coast and bayous. This swath of South Louisiana, which hews to the latter, is known for its celebration of Cajun culture and extensive outdoor activities and seafood-based fare.
Start with the Acadian Wetlands Cultural Center (314 St. Mary St.; Thibodaux; www.nps.gov/jela/wetlands-acadian-cultural-center.htm; tel. 504/589-3882), one of six entries into Jean Lafitte National Park, which celebrates Cajun culture. The free museum also offers a boat tour out to the E.D. White Plantation; a free walking tour of the town of Thibodaux; and free Monday-night music jams. Families can then head to the Bayou Country Children’s Museum (211 Rue Bethancourt, Thibodaux; www.bayoucountrychildrensmuseum.org; tel. 985/446-2200; Tues–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–4pm, which incorporates Louisiana-centric bits like alligators, brown pelicans, sugar thrashers, and Mardi Gras floats into an interactive, educational, and just plain fun museum for the pint-sized traveler.For sustenance, restaurants in this area mostly feature seafood—and it’s what you should get. Try Spahr’s (601 W. 4th St., Thibodaux; www.spahrsseafood.com; tel. 985-448-0487; Sun–Mon 11am–9pm plus early breakfast hours; other locations in Cut Off and Des Allemands).
Back toward New Orleans, get your hair blown back at Arthur Matherne’s Airboat Tours. The six-passenger, customized experience goes deep into the swamps where big tour boats can’t (4262 US 90, Des Allemands; www.airboattours.com; tel. 800/975-9345). Book in advance.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.