Lafayette Louisiana was originally founded as Vermilionville in 1821 by a French-speaking Acadian named Jean Mouton. It was renamed in 1884 after the Marquis de Lafayette for his assistance to the U.S. during the Revolutionary War. The economy of Lafayette Louisiana depended upon agriculture up to the 1940s. After that time, Lafayette LA became a center for the petroleum and natural gas industry.
Today, Lafayette Louisiana has a strong tourism industry, attracted by the Cajun and Creole cultures of the surrounding region. Lafayette calls itself the heart of Acadiana because the French Canadian Acadians settled here after escaping the oppression of the British in the early 1700’s. It’s also referred to as the unofficial capital of Cajun Country. One of the best things to do in Lafayette is eat. Featuring some of the best dining in the country, the food is a mixture of spicy southern with French influence and will leave you dreaming for years to come. Fifteen miles west of a massive nature attraction, the Atchafalaya Basin, Lafayette LA is also 35 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico. The local area is surrounded by forests, swamps and marshes, making for some excellent outdoor adventures like golf, fishing and hunting.
Lafayette Louisiana events are a big attraction as well. Lafayette is also host to some of Lousiana"s big events and festivals. The Louisiana State Championship Homemade Ice Cream Freeze-Off is a statewide competition for the best ice cream in mid-June. The Creole Culture Day is a festival of the history of the French Creoles in Louisiana and their contribution. You can have a Creole cooking class and learn how to dance to Zydeco music. The Zydeco Music Festival is a great way to learn all about this music that is specific to the Louisiana culture. Te best way to describe this music is spicy country rendition mixed with a bit of jazz. One of the premiere Lafayette Louisiana events is the Crawfish Festival. One of the favorite pastimes of this culture is the catching of crawfish from the nearby swamps and ocean. Hundreds of pounds of crawfish are cooked in every delicious way fathomable and there are dances, crawfish races and many more delights at this granddaddy of all Lafayette Louisiana events.
There are several tourist attractions in and around Lafayette, LA. A great place to witness history is at the Acadian village. This Louisiana attraction is a small village recreated to show how Louisiana’s original settlers lived on the bayou. You can take swamp boat tours with the Atchafalaya Experience. Check out the wildlife and come face to face with the famous Louisiana alligators. There is a Children’s Museum and several art museums, and the Lafayette Natural History Museum and planetarium for some good family fun.
Lafayette is a great place for day trips as New Orleans is a hour and 1/2 drive as is Marksville to the north with its big casino. You can also catch Lake Charles an hour to the West, so renting a car and doing some exploring would be a great idea.
Hotels in Lafayette LA are plentiful especially the budget hotels. You can try the big Hilton Hotel and towers which has a big convention center, or take in one of the many budget Lafayette hotels. There are plenty of choice Lafayette hotels like Comfort Inn, as well as the Drury Inn, Hampton Inn, Best Western and La Quinta. Some hotels in Lafayette LA can be interesting like the Blue Moon Inn Guest House and Salon, more of a hostel with live music nightly. There are also hotels in Lafayette LA that function as bed and breakfast hotels like the Bois des Chenes Inn, listed on the national register of historic places and full of antiques for the history lover and romantic at heart. Like most Lafayette hotels that are very cheap (Travelodge, Super 8 and the like) be prepared for budget conditions, which is basically one step up from camping. If you are looking for a place to discover the bayou and eat some of the best food on earth, a Lafayette Louisiana vacation is the ticket.