St. Martin Parish
With lush forests, scenic waterways and rollicking Cajun communities, St. Martin Parish is one of Louisiana’s best-kept secrets. Standout towns in the area include Breaux Bridge, a picturesque city with deep cultural roots and an unrivaled passion for crawfish. St. Martinville, meanwhile, lives up to its 1800s nickname, “Petit Paris,” with charming streets lined with grand homes and stately museums beneath canopies of mossy oaks.
Visitors to Breaux Bridge will enjoy walking quaint Bridge Street, lined with antique and curio shops, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Acadian history is brought to life at the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville, where historical displays elucidate the survival of 3,000 Cajun men, women and children who were expelled from French-speaking eastern Canada during the Great Deportation of the mid-18th century. Aficionados of Louisiana beer won’t want to miss a visit to the quaint town of Arnaudville, home to one of the state’s top breweries, Bayou Teche, where you can take a complimentary behind-the-scenes tour.
From down-home restaurants serving Acadian staples to authentic zydeco music halls, and ebullient festivals and events, St Martin Parish overflows with Cajun verve. In downtown Breaux Bridge, Buck & Johnny’s has garnered cult status for its epic breakfasts, including the don’t-mess-with-my-tasso omelet, loaded with grilled onions and Cajun-styled pork.
Crawlin’ With Crawfish
There’s always a crawfish-related event on offer here, but the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, held the first weekend of May, is the biggest. Three stages host popular Cajun and zydeco musicians.
Into the Bayou
From the mysterious “wild snake” river of Bayou Teche to the lush expanses of the 15-mile-wide Atchafalaya Basin — the nation’s largest river swamp, teeming with plant and animal life — St. Martin Parish is a land of plenty. Enjoy hiking and biking trails, prime birding, and fowl and game hunting.
Island of Wonder
Just outside of Breaux Bridge, Cypress Island Preserve consists of over 10,000 acres of cypress-tupelo swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, and its recreational showpiece, picturesque Lake Martin. At the lake’s western edge, the 2.5-mile Lake Martin Levee Trail provides excellent wildlife watching for alligators, egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills and nutria. Visitors can get prime views from an elevated boardwalk.
A 1.4 million-acre wilderness laced with waterways, the Atchafalaya Basin draws nature lovers to its unspoiled beauty, mind-boggling scale and exuberant diversity of plants and wildlife. The Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina provides the hub for airboat tours, fishing trips and swamp tours through waterways and forests of moss-draped cypress trees, where nearly 300 species of birds thrive. In the pristine setting of Bayou Pigeon and Grand Lake, anglers hook bass, bream and white perch. Active families canoe or paddle along scenic waterways.
For More Information
St. Martin Parish Tourist Commission
Louisiana Office of Tourism