Planning a trip to the Gulf Coast this summer? Don’t let the BP oil spill cancel your vacation. Many areas of the coast are unaffected by the oil and remain open to the public. Contact local campgrounds for current conditions and any special promotions they might be running. If you still have hesitations, there are plenty of other lovely attractions in the area to keep you entertained.
This One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory
We all know that Louisiana is world-famous for its spicy Cajun cuisine, rich Creole culture, antebellum mansions, and of course, the annual Mardi Gras celebration. For most people, that’s more than enough reason to keep coming back. But if you’re looking for something different, we may have some ideas that will pique your interest. If you are wanting to take a quick weekend getaway, you might want to stop along these locations on your one tank trips journey through Louisiana.
Shreveport & Bossier
Using the twin cities of Shreveport and Bossier City as your kick-off to Louisiana, have a look around before you hit the road. In particular, treat your nose to a walk through the American Rose Center, which is nearly 120 acres of beautiful looking and smelling roses from all across America. A path winds and twists through meticulously landscaped gardens. There are plenty of benches for you to “stop and smell the roses.” This will set the tone for your road trip, putting you in a relaxed frame of mind that should last throughout your vacation.
Moving onward, take the State Highway 1 for a little less than 20 miles until you come to Oil City. This was once “Indian Country,” inhabited by the Kadohadacho Indians, before the oil rush of the early 20th century transformed it into Oil City, changing the area forever. While you’re here, investigate the Louisiana State Oil & Gas Museum, which illustrates the region’s development and includes a demonstration of how fossil fuels are extracted from the ground. Tours are free and run weekdays only.
Retrace your route back to Shreveport and follow the I-49 south for 68 miles into Natchitoches. The French originally colonized this area in the early 18th century, and you can learn all sorts of fun facts and trivia about that period and this city by taking a trolley tour past the Old Courthouse State Museum and into the Historic District. You may even want to enjoy historic Louisiana camping in the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. Here you’ll also see nearly 30 acres of boutiques, galleries, antique shops, and historic homes. There are even several plantation homes in restored condition, some of which offer daily tours.
Remaining on the southbound I-49 for about 140 miles brings you to the eastbound I-10, which you’ll stay on for another 50 miles, as it’s your road into the state capitol of Baton Rouge. Here you’ll be able to experience the wide range of activities a metropolitan city has to offer. One of the large local draws is the sheer number of casinos in the region, leading one to wonder if maybe they’ve somehow landed in Vegas or Reno. Unlike Nevada, however, Baton Rouge allows you to try out Lady Luck aboard a paddle-wheel riverboat casino, a throwback to the days when an ace up one sleeve and a Derringer up the other beat a royal flush every time.
Another popular tourist draw is the Old State Capitol building, which was used as a Civil War-era prison. It was rebuilt after two fires gutted it, and remained the state capitol building until the state government moved lock, stock and barrel to its current location, a 30-plus story high-rise in Baton Rouge.
One thing that comes up a lot when thinking about Louisiana is the word “plantations.” To this day, many of the large manor houses still stand as a monument to those bygone days. One of the most impressive of these southern villas is Houma’s House, a sugar plantation built in the mid-1800s. Tour the grounds and sit under the shade of a live oak tree that’s more than two centuries old.
Take the eastbound I-10 25 miles, then merge with the westbound LA-70, which brings you the remaining 10 miles to the tour’s final stop of Donaldsonville. Once upon a time, this city was Louisiana’s capitol, and it sits smack-dab in the middle of plantation country. There are more plantation manor homes in the surrounding area than you can shake the proverbial stick at, and all beg the visitor for a tour. You can also sit by the river’s edge and watch the paddle wheel boats glide by, or hop on one of them and wave from the upper deck. Just don’t spill that mint julep!
This article was only one of many other exciting one tank trips also found in Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory. Enjoy an eventful weekend getaway of Louisiana camping & experience it all on just one tank of gas.
See a list of Woodall’s Recommended Louisiana RV Campgrounds.
For a complete list of one tank trips visit Woodalls.com.