We are, however, tired of the horrendous, teeth-rattling stretch of I-10 in Louisiana. Every time we drive that road we swear we aren’t going to do it again. And then we do, and we find another screw or bolt rolling around in the trailer, and we have no idea where it escaped from. We’re saving all of the random bits, just in case.
Take The Ferry, Avoid The Hassle
Here’s a tip for any of you who may ever travel east from Galveston. You do not want to drive through Houston, trust me. And you don’t have to! We were thrilled a couple of years ago to discover that there’s a free ferry that travels between Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula. It’s part of the Texas Highway system, and it’s fantastic. A 10-minute ferry ride saves a bunch of miles, time, and stress.
Unfortunately, the ferry does not bypass the awful stretch of I-10 in Louisiana.
On our way to Florida along I-10, we have two favorite stops that we try to include every time we travel the southernmost route. I’ve written extensively about both on our blog, so rather than repeat what I’ve already written, I’m including links to previous posts. Both are some of the most unique places we’ve encountered in our travels.
Cajun Country, Louisiana
We love the music, the food, the history, the bayous, and the joie de vivre of Cajun country. We always stay at Poches Fish’n’Camp in Breaux Bridge and base our explorations from there. A few of our past adventures:
Click on any photo for a larger version
Every visit, we dig deeper into the rich heritage of this fascinating culture. In February, we visited the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, where we learned more about the history of the French settlers who were ousted from their homeland in Acadiana (present-day Nova Scotia) in the 1700s by the British. We’re visiting Nova Scotia this summer, so for authenticity, we chose a French-speaking guide. It helped that our guide pointed a lot.
We discovered a fantastic little restaurant in Lafayette, where the food is a much healthier version of Cajun cuisine. The Blue Dog Cafe offers a small menu featuring local specialties like grilled Gulf snapper, blue crab pasta, and jambalaya stuffed eggplant. It’s a fun, colorful atmosphere decorated with the fabulous folk art paintings of renowned Cajun artist George Rodrigue, and there’s live music on the weekends.
We’ve loved every visit we’ve made to Cajun Country. You can read more about our adventures and the many things there are to do in the following posts, including a video clip of a Cajun music jam and information about the RV Park in Breaux Bridge:
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
This unassuming little coastal town seems to fly under the radar. We stumbled across Ocean Springs several years ago when we were staying next door at the campground in Gulf Islands National Seashore. When we discovered the vast artistic legacy of Walter Inglis Anderson, we were intrigued. The excellent kayaking, biking, and beaches make the area all the sweeter.
On our first visit to Ocean Springs, I was instantly enamored with Walter Anderson’s art and fascinated by his life story. I ended up spending far too much time reading about him and then writing a post, which you can read here:
This happens to me all the time. On the one hand, I love the opportunities for immersion in culture, nature, and history that this lifestyle provides. On the other hand, there is so much input every day—it can be challenging to absorb all that we experience. How do you choose what to focus on when life presents so much?
I love visiting Louisiana. It feels like I’m visiting another country. Looks like you discovered some unique sites.
Ingrid, we always do feel like we’re in another country when we’re in Louisiana—especially Cajun Country and New Orleans. It definitely draws us back time and again!
We second your feelings about I-10 in Louisiana! I like your suggestion about keeping all the parts and bolts rattled loose on that drive!
Sometimes you just have to let experiences wash over and surround you and not even try to absorb or retain them. I often find that I’ve taken in more than I realized that way!
See you soon!
Sue, I never expected that a challenge of this lifestyle would be finding too many interesting things to do! You’re right, there’s no way to absorb it all. I like your image of allowing experiences to “wash over and surround you.”
We’ve definitely become more deliberate in our choices, and we don’t try to do everything. And we put a time limit on museum explorations so that we don’t get lost in minutiae. Sometimes, though, there’s something that really captures my interest—Walter Anderson’s art, for example—and I end up going down a road I never anticipated, spending hours reading about someone that I had never even heard of previously!
We’re looking forward to seeing you guys next week! :-)
That ferry across Bolivar Island was heaven, especially when compared with a drive through Houston!! I loved following it on the GPS–it showed the vehicle in the water. I thought that was pretty cool.
And we have the same little pile of bits and pieces in our Arctic Fox too. We rarely find their home and so we’ve decided that they are parts that were dropped during construction and swept under the rug, so to speak.
Loved reading again about Cajun Country. We drove through and didn’t stop and it was an eye opener for me. There’s so much out there to see.
Thanks for writing and photographing. We enjoy reading so much.
Thanks so much, Nancy. I’m so glad you’re enjoying our blog! And I’m relieved to hear that you also have a little collection of random bits in your Arctic Fox. That makes me feel better to know we’re in good company. :-)
If you ever decide to visit Cajun Country, I think you would enjoy it. It’s such a unique area. And next time we travel by ferry, I’m going to watch our progress on GPS!
Imagine how much money you have saved by not having room to display art in the RV! Your wonderful posts can bring it all back to you over the years to come!
Haha, we have a lot of wall space in our little trailer, Lisa! I find it really difficult to not be collecting art in our travels. That was one of the things we enjoyed in our pre-full timing days—we always looked for a special piece of art on every trip we made.
We still buy small things to decorate our trailer (small prints, carvings, etc). And one of these days I’m going to buy a big print of Walter Anderson’s to ship home and put in our storage unit. :-)
We feel the same way about Louisiana roads, and Poches Fish and Camp. We spent quite a bit of time in Cajun Country 2 years ago, preceded by a trip to Nova Scotia the fall before. Not to be missed is The Landscape of Grand Pre!
Thanks so much for the suggestion, Janie. We’re looking forward to delving deeper into the history of the Acadians, and the Grand Pre Heritage Site is definitely on our list! I looked at your blog and enjoyed your photos of the area. :-)
These are great tips and you have me rethinking our plan to rocket through southern Louisiana without stopping this winter. Many years ago I visited Acadia/Nova Scotia with my family and I think you will absolutely love seeing that area this summer since you enjoyed Cajun Country so much. We may also look into an alternate route to I-10. What’s the very worst section?
Shannon, the very worst stretch of I-10 in Louisiana is between Beaumont, TX and Baton Rouge. There must be a better way, but we haven’t discovered it. We always think, “Oh it won’t be so bad!” Haha. It’s horrible. Let us know when you discover a better route. :-)
You really must visit Cajun Country. And Ocean Springs. I’m sure you will enjoy both tremendously. We’re so excited about our upcoming travels to the Maritimes!
We know that stretch of I-10 well…. Had to have a couple fillings replaced… :>) In order to complete your collection of orphan nuts, bolts, and screws, you really must take the trailer to Alaska where you can enjoy a continuous massage along the road.
“Had a couple of fillings replaced,” LOL! That is exactly why we are reluctant to take our trailer to Alaska. :-(
Hope you guys are having fun, wherever you are this summer!
It’s always fun to revisit an area you know and discover new things. You seem to find the neatest places. We’ve only driven that highway once and that was enough.
Pam, once really is enough for that highway! If there weren’t so many interesting things to do in Cajun Country and Ocean Springs, we would bypass it. We love digging in and finding the unique attractions in each locale (just the same as you guys do!). There’s so much everywhere…
I just went and looked at the website of Walter Inglis Anderson’s work again, and it puts my artwork to shame. He was so creative and inspirational. Thank you for the reminder.
Sheila, you and Walter Inglis Anderson are two of my favorite artists. :-) I’m so glad you appreciate his work, too. He was incredibly prolific—if you ever get the chance, you would enjoy visiting Ocean Springs and seeing the museum dedicated to his work and the incredible community center next door where he covered the walls (and doors!) with beautiful paintings.
I’m surprised to learn that in your travels along the southern gulf coast you have not discovered that little gem that is Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville LA. The draw of Betty’s is the social aspect of the place and that is led by Betty herself. Check it out next time you travel through Louisiana.
JC, thanks for the reminder!! We’ve had Betty’s on our list of places to visit for years…I’m not sure why we’ve never made it there. From what I’ve read, it sounds like a big Cajun party. :-)
I’m from Louisiana and I don’t remember i10 being so bad. La-167 to Baton Rouge will knock all your teeth out however.
Don’t think of missing Billy Ray’s boudin balls in Opelousas and a great RV park for New Orleans is a KOA in River Ridge. They have a free shuttle with lots of information to the French Quarter and they know the back roads to St Charles Ave. You can ride your bike out of the park onto the Mississippi River levee straight to Audubon Park. Or the other way 10 miles. And eat at The Bun, gorgeous doberge cakes and other good food. You can walk there from the French Quarter. And I could go on…oh yeah, swamp tour, Do That!!!
Thanks for all of the tips for Louisiana, Nancy. I love hearing from “locals” about their favorite things! We’ve always stayed across the river from New Orleans at Bayou Segnette State Park and taken the ferry into the French Quarter, but I like the idea of being able to ride our bikes from the KOA.
We’ve kayaked in the swamp (using our kayak), but a swamp tour with a guide would be fun. I’m sure we would learn a lot. And we will be sure to avoid LA-167 near Baton Rouge. I don’t want to lose any more parts to our trailer. Or my teeth. :-)
Oh, Louisiana… what are we going to do with you? Both times we’ve driven through that section of I-10, we’ve sworn we’ll never do it again, but the food… and the music.. and the history…. and the culture. I know we’ll just put up with it once more when we’re back in the area. I have already bookmarked your previous articles about this region because I know you’ve found so many gems to explore. I’ll be adding this article to the folder. You really do find the best spots!
And I completely understand and agree with your thoughts on the overwhelm that is inherent in this lifestyle. I have written so many articles in my head, or planned to write full reviews of so many things we have experienced, but it can all feel impossible to capture. To really dig in and do these subjects justice takes time, and oddly enough, that is something we never seem to have enough of.
On the other hand, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a good problem to have!
Laura, you understand exactly what I mean about the potential for overwhelm in this lifestyle. There’s just so MUCH of everything. Even though we focus just on the things that really interest us, there’s still too much because we’re exposed to so many intriguing opportunities, every single day.
Like you, I’ve written a lot more blog posts in my head than have ever made it to our blog. I keep telling myself, “Simplify! Simplify!” but I don’t seem to be listening, haha.
I know you enjoy New Orleans as much as we do. Once we get to Cajun Country or New Orleans, we always feel like it was worth the torture of traveling along I-10. I’m so glad our posts are helpful for you. Thanks for letting me know that!
We usually slide along I-12, as it avoids dropping down into New Orleans. Up until this year, it wasn’t much better…but I’m happy to report that it is being rebuilt. 😊
Be sure to check out Grand Pre when in Nova Scotia this summer, as it is an important link in the Cajun story, Laurel. Enjoy!
Yes, Grand Pre is definitely on our list for this summer! The story of the Cajun people and their remarkable resilience has intrigued us ever since we first visited Breaux Bridge and Lafayette. We’re looking forward to visiting “Acadia.”
We’ve traveled I-12 several times when we haven’t dipped down to New Orleans, but haven’t found it to be much different from I-10. That’s good news that it’s being redone! (Although the construction can be a nightmare.) :-(
I love Anderson’s mural room … so many tiny details that one can easily overlook if one doesn’t spend time to truly study it. We explored Ocean Springs from Shields RV Park at the SeeBee base in Gulfport … after we escaped from Buccaneer SP. Our Buccaneer site was great but oh those sand flies … Mui’s legs got so bitten that he looked like he had the measles! I’ve often wondered if we would have found the gem that Ocean Springs is if we had not shifted our plans. Unanticipated finds always seem all the more so because they come as a surprise.
All the more sweet because they come as a surprise … that’s what that last portion should have read.
Erin, I was captivated by Walter Anderson’s art the first time we visited Ocean Springs—we’ve been to the museum three times now, and each time, there’s a different show of his work. But I think my favorite part may be the community center, where he covered every inch of space with those beautiful murals. As you said, you really have to take time to look to appreciate the extraordinary detail.
It sounds as though we both discovered Ocean Springs serendipitously—it truly is a gem of the Gulf Coast!
Ok, ok, you have convinced us to take that free ferry and to never take I-10 through Louisiana should we ever be headed that way. I wonder how 190 is? If the interstate is crappy, I can’t imagine a lesser road is better. I’ve seen New Orleans, and TBG has no interest, so perhaps northern LA would offer up something for us…
Isn’t it amazing that you will never, ever run out of wonders to marvel over? 💜
Joodie, I’m not sure if there are any good roads in Louisiana. We’ve concentrated all of our explorations in the southern part of the state—we love Cajun Country and New Orleans, as you know! You’ll have to tell us what you find in the northern part of the state.
True, we will never run out of wonderful things to explore. :-)
We love, love, love the Cajun Country, its people, culture and food!!!
I know you guys do! As I recall, you’ve spent quite a bit of time in Cajun Country enjoying the “joie de vivre” there!
I love that part of the country, the people and most especially the food! Our week stay at Poches was not enough but we got out in time before a line of storm start hammering. You know I completely forgot about the Blue Dog Cafe and we just breezed through Ocean Springs. But thankfully you passed through those states and always gave us good reports of gems along the way.
We tried avoiding I10 and went I12 still all the road/highways in LA are crappy!
MonaLiza, you guys had such a blast on your last visit to Poche’s, dancing and eating and exploring all that Cajun Country has to offer! I know you enjoy it as much as we do. Isn’t it amazing that even staying a week is never long enough? We’ve mostly stayed 4 or 5 days at a time, but even though we’ve been several times now, we still want to return.
I agree all of the roads we’ve traveled in Louisana need some serious work. I always bungee our cabinets shut before we travel there, LOL!
We really enjoy revisiting areas that we love!!! I always discover new things each time!! Our son lived in Baton Rouge for a year so we totally agree with you about I-10!! He never liked Baton Rouge much but we all loved the Cajun culture!!!
We haven’t spent much time in Baton Rouge (in fact, I believe we were only there one night in the rain many years ago) but it has never captivated us. Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and New Orleans, though, are some of the most interesting places we’ve visited in our travels. I’ll bet you guys had fun exploring with your son!
It is funny how going to a different area in the US can feel like a whole other country. So glad to hear about the ferry.
There are so many different regions in our country—geographically and culturally—it does feel like we’re often visiting another country! I love the differences.
It’s always fun to revisit favorite places. I think that they are like vortexes which suck us back in time and time again. That restaurant looks worth the trip and effort, (Ben loves Cajun food, although I find it a bit heavy, this however sounds like a great solution), and I particularly love the artwork. Especially the bird images, which appear to be painted directly on the walls as a part of a mural (I assume).
Amazing the long distances you guys cover! Impressive.
Peta, some of the images I posted photos of were painted directly onto the walls of the community center that Walter Anderson created as a gift to the community. It’s next door to the museum of his work and is quite beautiful (he was extraordinarily prolific!).
We do cover long distances every year (this is such a huge country!) but we do it relatively slowly, which makes it enjoyable. Of course, we often feel as though we could stay longer just about everywhere we go! :-)
How do you choose what to focus on when life presents so much?
Brilliant question that I will continue to noodle as I gaze at pink clouds
Ahhh…gazing at pink clouds sounds like the perfect thing to choose to focus on! I hope your travels continue to unfold in wonderful ways, Leah.
We are forever grateful that you got us to Poche’s a couple years ago so we could also fall in love with the area. Every happier we’ve been able to return :-) I think the historic site is really well done, glad you liked it too! Your pics of Ocean Springs are so beautiful, love the foggy bayou.
We were especially overloaded with all there was to absorb in Utah – it was like we couldn’t say Wow one more time. It’s one of the reasons I like short travel days that land us in interesting, but simple places.
Jodee, I’m delighted that you and Bill love Cajun Country as much as we do! We enjoy digging deeper into the culture every time we go…I don’t recall if you’ve been to Vermilionville, but that was another of our favorite places. It’s a beautiful living history museum.
Having some “down time” in this lifestyle is essential, not only for doing laundry (and blogging, LOL!) but for integrating what we experience. It’s SO different from a vacation, as you know!