Explore Louisiana’s Creole Country

Many Americans may have heard the term "Creole" used in conjunction with the subculture of Louisiana, but few know how deep the roots of this French-Spanish culture go. Taking the RV through Creole Country can be one of the more rewarding trips in the U.S., a fact that National Geographic recognized when they named it one of their "Ultimate Road Trips."

The main road you'll want to stay on is Cane River Road, which connects to several of Louisiana's major highways, such as Routes 494, 1, 484, 493 and 119. While staying on this 70-mile loop is a good guide for this area of the state, the trip is more rewarding if you go off the beaten path a bit. Cane River Road is known for the many pathways and side routes that split off of the main drag, so RVers would do well to plan out some side trips to see more of the surrounding area.

A good place to start is Natchitoches, Louisiana. This is the oldest settlement in the state, originally founded back in 1714. Fans of the movie "Steel Magnolias" may recognize Natchitoches as the quaint town where most of the film took place.

There's plenty of campgrounds around the area for you to park the RV, but it might be worth it to plan one night at a bed and breakfast in Natchitoches. The inns located in town are stunning and known for their hospitality. It's also a good chance to try some Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Creole Country is known for its beautiful plantations, which date far back into American history. Following Cane River Road, you'll be able to visit many of these magnificent mansions. The Oakland Plantation is owned by the National Park Service, who operate daily tours. This structure is also located near Cane River Creole National Historical Park – in fact, the headquarters for the park rangers are located on the plantation.

Continuing along Cane River Road, you'll soon come across Melrose Plantation, which carries an interesting distinction. This operation was actually founded by Marie Thérèse Coincoin, a freed slave. Coincoin was able to amass enough money to found her own plantation, which soon made her and her descendants among the richest African-American families in the South.

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the various attractions scattered around this area, but half the fun is heading out on the road and exploring for yourself.