Louisiana is home to more than three million acres of meandering marsh and waterways, popularly known as Bayou Country. While most tourists limit their Louisiana visit to a weekend in dog-friendly New Orleans, there’s more for a dog to love in the Bayou State. Bring Fido to Bayou Country for his next pet-friendly vacation, and come face to face with wicked wildlife, taste the freshest catch, and fall in love with the local Cajun and Creole cultures.
BringFido's Guide to the Louisiana Bayou
Posted by Billy Francis
Things to Do
Fido can sniff out beautiful live oaks, join you on an offshore drilling adventure and play among puppets at a unique festival in this beautiful region.
Half Man, Half Dog
Hang out with your hound in Houma in Terrebonne Parish, one of the stops along the Wetlands Cultural Byway. The best time of year to visit is during Rougarou Fest in October. This vibrant annual event pays homage to the region’s mythical beast with the body of a man and the head of a dog who prowls through the bayous looking for misbehaving children. Leashed dogs are welcome to join the crowds of people and pups in costume, and enjoy live music, cool puppets and more in downtown Houma. Rougarou Fest partners with Terrebonne Animal Shelter to help find local pups a forever home during the festivities.
Tour a Historical Landmark
Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux is “America’s largest surviving 19th- and 20th-century sugar plantation,” and offers visitors the chance to learn about the harsh realities of life during that time on a guided walking tour. Bring your leashed dog along with you to explore 50 original structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places that paint a picture of early Cajun life, slavery, Reconstruction and beyond. After your tour, visit the Laurel Valley Store & Museum to browse antiques and crafts.
My Way on the Byway
Like the famous waterways, you are free to meander slowly around Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes on the Wetlands Cultural Byway. Start in Raceland in the Bayou Lafourche Area, where you’ll witness shrimpers and tugboats at work. Then, continue to Houma to pick up a map of the route from the Houma Visitors Center and drive through the region’s quaint southern towns before reaching the end of the road on the Gulf Coast. The Wetlands Cultural Byway is a 250-mile adventure that takes at least one full day to complete.
Nature Tours in Lafourche
Settled by European families in the 1700s who were followed to the area by Acadians forced to leave Nova Scotia, Lafourche is Cajun Country through and through. This pet-friendly parish allows leashed dogs to join their owners for a walk around the outdoor areas of Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center and learn about Cajun country and life in the watery land. Then, ecologists and their furry companions can wander through the wetlands along Lockport Elevated Wetlands Boardwalk and try to spot hummingbirds racing through the sky.
Paddle the Swamp
Located on the banks of Bayou Lafourche, Geaux Paddle gives you and your dog the opportunity to paddle through the weird and wonderful waterways of the Louisiana Bayou in a dog-friendly kayak rental. Bring your own doggy life jacket and hop in a tandem kayak or on a paddleboard, and venture out through the reeds underneath the shade of cypress trees like locals have done for generations.
Jig on the Rig
Some of the United States’ biggest oil rigs are located off the coast of Louisiana. The Rig Museum in Morgan City, also known as The International Petroleum Museum, is the only place in the world where the public and their pups can explore an actual offshore drilling rig, nicknamed “Mr. Charlie,” and learn about the offshore petroleum industry firsthand. After your tour, enjoy a pleasant afternoon stroll with your dog on the paved loop trail at Brownell Memorial Park on Lake Palourde.
Meet the Wildlife
Alsatians who can smile in the face of an alligator and don’t mind other creepy critters are welcome to join their owners on an excursion on the bayou with Zam’s Swamp Tour. Your Cajun tour guides will enlighten you on life in the region and introduce you to some local wildlife from the safety of a boat. Leashed dogs are also welcome on the walking tour through the ecological park, which houses alligators, snapping turtles and other creatures.
Places to Stay
Drift off to sleep on a houseboat, wake up next to the water and find old country charm in the Louisiana Bayou.
Houseboat on the Bayou
There’s no better way to experience bayou life than getting out in it. The Swamp Tuna uses simple conventional propulsion to glide across the water, which means even inexperienced people can captain the ship. Best of all, the boat is powered by the sun so there’s no noisy generator to ruin the peace and calm of the voyage.
1830s Style Pet-Friendly Cabin
Step back in time at the Atchafalaya Rage’s Cabin in the Canes in St. Martin Parish. This rustic cabin was modeled after an 1830s Acadian Village home, so you can get a feel for what life was like for the people who helped make Cajun Country what it is. In the afternoon, take long walks together around the 27 acres of tree-lined property, then call it a day with a relaxing evening on the porch.
Discover Houma with your Hound
Located in Houma, Fairfield Inn & Suites Houma Southeast is a good place to crash after the thrills of Rougarou Fest. Here, guests will find a clean and comfortable place to put their feet up or mingle with other guests at a reception, held on select days. When nature calls, dogs can do their business on the grassy relief area outside. Just keep your eye out for any half-men, half dogs in the shadows at night.
Pretty Place on the Bayou
Wake up to the sights and sounds of the bayou each morning on the spacious deck of this pretty home on the water. Located in a heritage fishing community, the house comes equipped with crab traps to set out in the water and angling Akitas can help you catch fish from just beyond the back door. If you’re looking for an activity nearby, check out the bizarre sculptures on display at Chauvin Sculpture Garden.
A Cajun Getaway
Situated on Bayou Lafourche between Thibodaux and Raceland, A Chateau on the Bayou B&B is a Cajun getaway with one pet-friendly room that four-legged guests will love. Remote workers can finish projects at the work desk provided, then log off for the day and watch the bayou flow slowly from the swinging hammock or the pavilion.
Camp on the Lake
If you love to camp with your canine, Lake End Park and Campground is a great place to pitch up in Louisiana’s Bayou Region. Campers have free roam of a spacious campsite on the lake with access to fishing, swimming and boating in the water, a sandy swim beach, a paved walking path and a fenced dog park for Fido to enjoy. Dogs are welcome at campsites but are not permitted in cabins.
Taste the freshest catch taken from the bayou, sip on whiskey or toast your adventure with a refreshing beer in this region known for its culinary delights.
Beers in the Bayou
Crawfish live in little “skyscrapers” of mud, which is why they are known as mudbugs by locals, and where Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux gets its name. Find a seat inside or on the patio and enjoy one of the brewery’s five flagship beers like House of the Rising Sun House Ale or Pelican Pilsner.
Lafitte’s Oldest Restaurant
Fill your belly with Cajun delights at Boutte’s Bayou Restaurant in Lafitte. Featuring items caught from the nearby waters, there’s something for every seafood lover at this popular restaurant. Sample smothered shrimp, stuffed crab or go big with a seafood platter. Dogs are welcome to join their owners at the outdoor tables.
Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville is proud to offer beer that “complements the cuisine and lifestyle of Cajuns and Creoles.” This lively hangout offers beer brewed on the bayou and an awesome place outside to enjoy them with locals and fellow travelers until the sun goes down.
Don’t Be Shellfish!
There are no prizes for guessing what’s on the menu at Crawfish Town USA in Breaux Bridge. Dig into a big plate of Louisiana seafood with a selection of southern sides on the pet-friendly patio. Home cooks can visit the shop for fresh seafood, meats and local seasonings to use for Fido’s favorite meals at your pet-friendly Airbnb.
Dine Under the Lights
Pair a fine whiskey and wings with a healthy portion of live music at Pirogue’s Whiskey Bayou. Grab a cocktail with your Cockapoo and sit underneath the lights in the spacious outdoor area for an evening of rock ‘n’ roll. If you get hungry, you can order a burger or a pizza for the table.
Calling All Critters
Whether your pooch is a Cajun critter or simply passing through, he can join you at the outdoor tables at Cajun Critters in Houma. This casual seafood spot features a menu full of delights like crab, shrimp, trout and catfish. The outdoor patio also plays host to live music and is covered during the cooler winter months.
Authentic Italian in the Bayou
Wine and dine with your Wiener Dog at one of ten pet-friendly tables at Cristiano Ristorante in Houma. The delicious menu features Italian dishes, seasonal offerings, lunch plates, and housemade desserts. Pair your chosen dish with a pour from the extensive wine list.
Would you visit the Louisiana Bayou with Fido? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
Banner photo by AngelaBuserPhoto.