When we hit the road in Louisiana and South Carolina this year, these are the places we can’t wait to visit. Local flavors and attractions—steeped in Southern tradition—are always worth the drive.
No matter how you enjoy the outdoors—hiking, birding, paddling, biking or maybe photography—Louisiana can fit the bill. What’s more, Louisiana’s climate allows visitors to take advantage of outdoor adventures year-round, and the mild temperatures during the winter months make it an ideal time to get outdoors. Paddle through the bayous, hike the pine forests, spot the abundant and unique wildlife, fish in legendary freshwater or saltwater and bike through our hills and gorgeous scenery. All these varied experiences and outdoor environments are just a short drive from each other. And for those not as athletic, Louisiana is wonderful for photography and sightseeing nature adventures.
At Louisiana’s 22 state parks, you can connect with nature on biking and hiking trails, where birding is some of the finest in the country. Numerous waterways flow through the verdant hills and rich marshlands. You’ll find excellent camping and picnic areas, including well-equipped cabins and RV parks.
Louisiana is legendary fishing territory thanks to its thousands of acres of productive waterways. The state’s bayous, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries are a paradise for freshwater fishermen. For saltwater action, book a charter adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. Come drop a line and learn why Louisiana is a sportsman’s paradise at these or hundreds of other locations throughout the Bayou State.
The 14-parish Atchafalaya National Heritage Area in the south-central portion of the state is rich in interesting wildlife and otherworldly landscapes. Take a Spanish-moss-filled swamp tour, go paddling through the serene waters or follow one of the winding walking trails. The area also boasts gardens to find gorgeous flora and rookeries and preserves to see the fauna distinct to Louisiana. Alligators, the elusive Louisiana black bear and birds such as great blue herons and roseate spoonbills. There are also more than 300 active bald eagle nests in Louisiana so keep your eyes peeled and you might see one soaring through the skies.
One of the best ways to explore Louisiana’s natural beauty is by the breathtaking rivers, bayous, canals, reservoirs, ponds and marshes throughout the state. Paddle under cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss and watch graceful egrets take wing or glimpse an alligator on the bank. There’s no better snapshot of the Atchafalaya’s bounty than from the water.
Enjoy some of the best birding in the country in the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. With landscapes ranging from coastal wetlands to rolling hills and prairies, Louisiana is home to almost 400 bird species, including waders such as herons, egrets, ibises and spoonbills. The area is a major wintering ground for ducks, geese and eagles and the warmer months bring swallowtailed kites, Swainson’s warblers and Bachman’s sparrows.
Cycling the back roads is a great way to get to know Louisiana. You’ll get to taste famous food, hear the music and get to know the people. In short, you’ll get to experience everything that makes Louisiana a unique and exciting place. And because of the mild climate and flat terrain, you can enjoy biking all year long.
Can’t-Miss Toledo Bend Seafood Restaurants
For a great seafood platter after you fish the waters of Toledo Bend, try these local, family-owned restaurants.
With a seafood buffet on the weekend and a daily lunch buffet, you’ll love the home-style cooking at this casual spot.
14934 Texas Highway, Many, LA
Country Boy Restaurant
Fried chicken and seafood are the specialty at this Toledo Bend area restaurant.
105 N Highland Drive, Many, LA
Brandon’s on the Bend
Fresh seafood and steaks are served here as well as their Toledo Bend Lunker Burger, topped with sliced brisket, barbecue sauce and plenty of toppings.
14137 Texas Highway, Many, LA
Festivals are a large part of what makes South Carolina the perfect getaway. Whether you live in the area or you’re vacationing in the Palmetto State, there is a festival to suit almost everyone. Many of South Carolina’s festivals celebrate the culinary and art scenes that contribute to making the state so unique and diverse.
South Carolina is home to some of the biggest culinary sensations in the country and is fondly known as the “Birthplace of Barbecue. With the Gullah community of the Lowcountry, Charleston’s iconic culinary scene and the vast number of farm-to-table restaurants scattered throughout the state, there is plenty to discover. From the Upstate to the Midlands to the Coast, there is a dish to satisfy every palate.
Hit the Road for These Hot Festivals and Culinary Adventures in South Carolina.
Charleston Wine + Food”
March 2017, Charleston
Charleston Wine + Food celebrates the culinary scene and culture of Charleston. Featuring some of the area’s very best wine and food, Charleston Wine + Food has become an iconic festival in the South. The highlight is the Culinary Village, located in Marion Square in historic downtown Charleston.
Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival
March 2017, Hilton Head Island
This week-long event highlights some of the area’s top chefs, as well as local seafood, live music, entertainment and more. From oyster roasts to sunset cruises to dishes from local restaurants, the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival offers guests a little bit of everything when it comes to coastal seafood.
World Grits Festival
April 2017, St. George
The World Grits Festival started in St. George when grit manufacturers discovered that the residents of St. George ate more grits per capita than any other place in the world. Highlights include food booths, a 5K race, a “rolling in the grits contest” and a dunking booth.
September 2017, Greenville
Music and food come together in one celebration at Euphoria in Greenville, with the objective to share and highlight Greenville’s culinary and arts community. The festival features live music, tasting events, food trucks, wine seminars, live concerts and much more.
Balloons Over Anderson
October 2017, Anderson
Balloons Over Anderson takes place in South Carolina’s Upstate. Throughout the festival a total of 25 hot air balloons will take flight over the city of Anderson. Guests can ride in the balloons during flights, as well as take a tethered balloon ride or enjoy a helicopter ride. The festival celebrates all air-sports-related activities.
South Carolina Culinary Destinations
The Original Gullah Festival
Summer 2017, Beaufort
This three-day festival celebrates the significance of the Gullah community in the Lowcountry. The festival features delicious Gullah dishes and cuisine, quilting and sweetgrass basket-making workshops, as well as entertainment
and much more.
Slightly North of Broad
Located in historic downtown Charleston, Slightly North of Broad offers guests a genuine Southern dining experience in a Lowcountry bistro setting. While you’re there, be sure to try the Shrimp & Grits, which is served with Geechie Boy Mill grits.
192 East Bay St.
Lizard’s Thicket has been family owned and operated since it opened in Columbia more than 35 years ago. With 15 locations throughout the Columbia area, the chain boasts classic Southern dishes such as Southern Fried Catfish and an endless list of vegetables.
The menu at Soby’s is made up of dishes that combine classic Southern cuisine with a modern flair. With everything from She Crab Soup to French Fried Oysters, Soby’s brings the coast of South Carolina straight to the dinner table.
207 South Main St.
For more than 30 years, Scott’s Bar-B-Que has been serving the people of South Carolina delicious down-home pit-cooked barbecue. The hogs are slow-cooked all night and ready to be served the next day. Open Wednesday through Saturday.
2734 Hemingway Hwy, Hemingway, SC 29554
North Augusta, SC
BBQ Barn’s authentic hickory-smoked barbecue is prepared on two pits and then soaked in a house blend of herbs and spices. BBQ Barn offers guests five different sauces to accompany their barbecue, four of which are South Carolina’s famous regional sauces. Open Wednesday through Saturday.
10298 Atomic Rd, North Augusta, SC 29841
Fatback’s BBQ & Grill is fairly new to the state’s barbecue scene, but according to one South Carolina Barbecue Association judge, “You’ve just gotta try Fatback’s.” The barbecue sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu. Open Thursday through Saturday.
3609 US 52 Hwy, Coward, SC 29530
Hub City Hog Fest
April 2017, Spartanburg, SC
Attend Spartanburg’s Hub City Hog Fest and see how a true South Carolina barbecue competition works. Cooking teams will compete to make the best barbecue, which means there will be plenty of delicious food to try! This fest is the perfect event for the entire family.
2017 SC Festival of Discovery
July 6-8, 2017 in Greenwood, SC
Celebrate history, culture, music, arts and food at the South Carolina Festival of Discovery. Enjoy some classic South Carolina barbecue at the Kansas City Barbecue Society BBQ and Hash Cook-Off and take part in other exciting Southern traditions at the festival.