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Historic Central Louisiana Tour

Scenic & Historic Sites in Central LA
Rich in history and lore, central Louisiana features a bevy of attractive and charming cities, while blending a flair for the modern touch. Drive through central Louisiana from Natchitoches to Ville Platte and discover a range of historic sites, fun outdoor adventures, and wealth of local charm.

Natchitoches

Begin your drive tour of historic central Louisiana in Natchitoches. Easily accessed from I-49, Natchitoches is an ideal launching point – full of history and popular attractions, you and the family will love your stay in the city.

Home of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, and the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, Natchitoches features a wealth of outdoor activities, and plenty of fun for all members of the family.

Must See
Any visit to Natchitoches should involve some time spent at the Natchitoches Historic District. A charming and enlightening area and neighborhood near downtown Natchitoches, this historic district yields a bounty of memorable experiences.

Don’t miss the Grand Ecore Visitors Center, the Adai Indian Nation Cultural Center, or Alligator Park. The Grand Ecore features the Red River Waterway, while the Adai Indian Center yields a story of the Adai Caddo Indians. The Alligator Park is open April through October.

Local Guide
Visit Natchitoches during the holidays and check out the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Held across several Saturdays from late November through early January, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival is a wide-ranging even, with lots to see and do.

You and the family won’t want to miss the Festival of Lights Parade, the Christmas Festival – usually held two weeks prior to Christmas day – and the City of Lights 5K Run.

Outdoor
Enjoy some time exploring the local wilderness when you head for Cane River Creole National Historical Area. When you visit Cane River Creole, be sure to explore the two major sections – the 44-acre Oakland Plantation, and the 18.75-acre Magnolia Plantation.

At the Oakland Plantation, do not miss a tour of the Prud’homme Store, a vibrant piece of history operating since 1867. What was once a gathering place and small store for locals, Prud’homme Store is now a visitor's center.

Alexandria

Make your way into Alexandria, a scenic and pleasant drive southeast along I-49 from Natchitoches. An eclectic and charming city, Alexandria features a host of top attractions – there really is something for the entire family to see.

Whether you choose to explore the Alexander State Forest, play a round of 18 holes at the Oak Wing Golf Course, or tour the Louisiana History Museum, your time in Alexandria will be unforgettable.

Must See
Plan a tour of the Louisiana History Museum when you stay in Alexandria. A popular and diverse destination, the Louisiana History Museum is found in downtown Alexandria, and features a wide range of exiting exhibits.

Don’t overlook displays all about the important timber industry, the American Revolution, historic central Louisiana plantations, and plenty on both WWI and WWII. You can see a model of the Red River stern wheel steam ship, and a detailed 1872 map of Alexandria.

Local Guide
Experience 18 of the most lush and picturesque holes in central Louisiana when you play a round at the Oak Wing Golf Course. Playing to a par of 72, Oak Wing Golf Course is 7,043 yards from the furthest tee boxes, and features a course rating of 73.7.

Oak Wing Golf Course was designed by James W. Lipe, Jr., and opened in 2002.

Outdoor
Spread across 7,875 acres, the Alexander State Forest is a premier outdoor destination in central Louisiana. Explore Alexander State Forest and check out a wide range of activities.

The Woodworth Fire Tower reaches 175 feet tall, and is widely used for geo-cacheing. The the annual Half Festival is hosted at the Indian Creek Reservation Area and features 10K and 5K races.

Leesville

With a host of attractive destinations, and a charming vibe, Leesville should make the ideal next stop on your historic central Louisiana drive tour. With a close proximity to both the Fort Polk Wildlife Management Area, and the Clear Creak Wildlife Management Area, Leesville is a premier destination.

Must See
Following their motto, “Promoting and presenting the history and culture of west central Louisiana,” the Museum of West Louisiana proves to be a top destination in the area.

Explore the grounds of the West Louisiana Museum and visit the Shotgun Shack, the Section House, the Elbert Dyess House, and the West Louisiana Barn. You can also tour the China Grove Church & School, and the Alexander Airhart Home.

Local Guide
Every year during the first weekend in May, Leesville celebrates art, food, music, and fun at Mayfest. Make your way to the Leesville Historic District for three days of Funnel Cakes, BBQ, and a whole host of vendors.

Local and area artisans venture into downtown Leesville for one of the premier summer festivals in all of Louisiana. Mayfest in downtown Leesville is hosted and produced by the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission.

Outdoor
Opened in 1952, the Leesville Municipal Golf Course is a premier course in the area. Book a tee time soon for Leesville Municipal Golf Course and experience a premier nine-hole golf outing.

The Leesville Municipal Golf Course features a slope rating of 120, with a course rating of 35. Like with most nine-hole, executive style golf courses, Leesville Municipal is fully equipped to accommodate a quick nine-hole match, or a full length match.

Oakdale

From DeRidder, make your way east along Highway 112 through Sugartown into Oakdale. From the quaint shops and local eateries, to the boundless outdoor adventures you’ll find nearby – enjoy your visit Oakdale on this central Louisiana drive tour.

Must See
Be sure to check out the West Bay Wildlife Management Area, just west of downtown Oakdale. Spread across nearly 56,000 acres, the West Bay Wildlife Management Area features a wide range of outdoor activities.

With a mostly flat terrain, West Bay Wildlife Management yields many hunting and fishing possibilities – Mill Creek is your best bet for landing any keepers.

Outdoor
Measuring in at 655 acres, Marsh Bayou Wildlife Management Area is another top outdoor destination for you and the family. Hunters in the area often enjoy the challenge of tracking down quail, deer, and rabbit.

Ville Platte

Head east from Oakdale into the Ville Platte, the final destination on your historic central Louisiana driving tour. With a close proximity to Chicot State Park, and the Louisiana State Arboretum, Ville Platte will yield a memorable trip for the entire family.

Must See
At nearly 6,400 acres in overall size, Chicot State Park is a premier outdoor destination in central Louisiana. With its rolling hills, open pastures, wooded areas, and a bounty of lakes and ponds, Chicot State Park will entertain everyone.

There’s a 20-mile long hiking trail circling the entirety of Chicot State Park, and an eight-mile canoe trail – try one or try both, it’s up to you when you visit Chicot. Chicot State Park also features a marina where you can rent boats and stock up on bait.

Local Guide
Don’t miss out on a tour of the Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum when you explore Ville Platte. Not far from the heart of downtown Ville Platte, the Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum celebrates the musical genre called Swamp Pop and the it’s impact on the area. Notable acts include Warren Storm, The Boogie Kings, and Cookie & The Cupcakes.

Outdoor
The Louisiana State Arboretum is another on the lengthy list of premier outdoor attractions in central LA. Technically a “preservation area,” the Louisiana State Arboretum is one of the top destinations in the state for bird watchers. Open every day to the public, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Years Day, the Louisiana State Arboretum features a wide range of hiking trails, too.

Check out the Baldcypress Trail, which is the shortest at only 500 feet. Don’t miss the Wetland Trail, a little over half a mile, the Paw Paw Loop Trail, and the Walker Branch Trail, the longest at 1.5 miles long.