Columbus Day weekend in Louisiana brings warm weather and a respite from the summer humidity, making it the perfect time to enjoy the natural beauty of Grand Isle or Lake Bistineau State Park. The fall leaves start to change colors in many places around the state by early October, adding an extra pop of vibrancy to your travels. While you plan your Columbus Day getaway, start your search for Louisiana vacation rentals in these lovely spots.
Vacation rentals in Alexandria make the perfect jumping-off point for a weekend of adventure in the Kisatchie National Forest. Watch for changing leaves at the Kincaid Lake Recreation Area as you hike the park’s trails and canoe the Kincaid Reservoir. Bring your fishing rod and cast from the banks or the pier, or pack bikes and pedal through the trees on the park roads.
Enjoy a classic autumn Louisiana experience in Monroe, where the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge provides a unique tour through the cypress swamp. Walk along the refuge’s boardwalk system and look out for frogs and prothonotary warblers. If you’re feeling active, rent a canoe and explore the complex waterways in the pleasant early October weather. Back in town, stroll through the pecan trees at Uncle Robert’s Orchard and check out the animals at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.
3. New Iberia
Take advantage of sunny days and warm weather on Columbus Day weekend in New Iberia. Head straight for the Bayou Teche and walk along the water — at night the Bayou Walk is lighted for convenience. Stop at The Shadows, a historic mansion, and take a walking tour of the downtown area. Make time for the Tour du Teche Canoe Race, when racers paddle the entire 133 miles of the Bayou Teche.
Attend the West Louisiana Forestry Festival this Columbus Day weekend in Leesville, a small town in southern Louisiana. Bring your little ones to the carnival, get a taste of local culture at the livestock show, and enjoy carnival food in the warm early October weather. Then, check out the surrounding wilderness with a hike in the nearby Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area or head to South Toledo Bend State Park to fish in the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Escape the crowds in your search for fall colors with a trip to Homer. This tiny town puts you close to Lake Claiborne State Park, where you’ll find solitude and early signs of changing leaves. Temperatures often hit the low 70s Fahrenheit in October — capitalize on the weather with a swim from the park’s sandy beach. On cooler days, fish for largemouth bass and black crappie. Bring your disc golf supplies to play on the park’s two popular courses.
6. Grand Isle
Hang on to the summer on Columbus Day in Grand Isle. Situated at the southern tip of the state, this friendly community offers plenty of warm October days. Fish for more than 280 different species on Bayou Rigaud, or watch for terns and skimmers along Grand Isle Beach. Hit the beaches at Grand Isle State Park to enjoy a fall swim in the warm Gulf waters, or hike the nature trail to enjoy the weather.
7. New Orleans
Early October is the perfect time to visit New Orleans. Days are warm, evenings are pleasant, and the city’s fall festivals are in full swing. Drink a beer at Oktoberfest or indulge in local pastries at the Beignet Festival. The lovely temperatures make Columbus Day the perfect time to get outside. Bike under live oak trees at Audubon Park, explore the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Riverfront Park, or paddle a canoe through City Park.
Ring in the fall with a weekend in Shreveport. Start your trip with a visit to Lake Bistineau State Park. Fish for bluegill and red-ear sunfish in the lake, or lace up your hiking shoes and look for changing leaves on the park’s kid-friendly hiking trails. For a unique view of the forest, bring your canoe and paddle the 11-mile water trail. In the evening, head to Shreveport’s riverfront casinos for live music and gambling.
Get off the beaten path in Springhill, a small town near the Arkansas border. Load up your ATV and head straight for Muddy Bottoms ATV and Recreation Park. Spend the weekend exploring the 5,000-acre park, which features trails, bogs, and tracks that are suitable for everyone in the family. After your adventure, go fishing in Murray Lake, or head into the Bodcau State Wildlife Management Area and enjoy the pleasant October weather with an afternoon of birdwatching.
10. Baton Rouge
Blend classic fall activities with warm weather in Baton Rouge. Visit the Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum for Harvest Days to watch live demonstrations and learn how early pioneers spent the fall season. Make the drive to Pine Grove and try your luck at the Cajun Country Corn Maze. The maze also offers a kid-friendly petting zoo and cow train. Another fun fall activity is Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch, where you can go zip-lining or explore the hay maze.
11. Lake Charles
Soak in the warm fall weather on Columbus Day in Lake Charles. Drive down the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road and search for alligators — be sure to pack your swimsuit and spend a few hours at the many white-sand Gulf beaches along the way. When the winds are low, rent a kayak from Paddle Up and float down the Calcasieu River. At night, visit the L’Auberge Casino Resort or the Delta Downs Racetrack Casino for live entertainment.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Louisiana vacation rentals on Tripping.com.