15 Best Things to Do in Avery Island, LA

Avery Island, LA
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Avery Island is a salt dome in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, famous for producing Tabasco sauce.

The Avery family, who settled on the island in the 1860s, gave it its name.

It is about three miles inland from Vermilion Bay, which opens onto the Gulf of Mexico.

The island is on the National Register of Historic Sites and has a small human population.

Bayous, salt marshes, and swampland surround Avery Island.

As a result, it is ideal for a variety of water activities and attractions.

Appreciate its natural wonders and enjoy the best things to do in Avery Island, Louisiana.

Visit the Buddha Temple at Jungle Gardens

A buddha statue at the Buddha Temple at Jungle Gardens
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The Buddha Temple at Jungle Gardens is one of the area's focal points.

The temple is set in a pristine and serene setting in Jungle Gardens.

The Temple features a Buddha statue given to the garden by its namesake, E. A. McIlhenny, popularly known as "Mr. Ned."

Mr. Ned built a stunning Buddha shrine with a beautiful garden.

Estimated to be 900 years old, the Buddha statue instantly became a popular attraction.

It remains the park's focal point today.

The Buddha Temple at Jungle Gardens is a beautiful place to sit, relax, and reflect.

In recent years, local Buddhists have made the shrine a regular destination of devotion.

Numerous annual events are held there in honor of Buddha's birthday and other important holidays.

They are located at Main Rd, Avery Island, Louisiana.

Join the TABASCO® Factory Tour

Exterior of TABASCO museum
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See how that fiery sauce you love gets made by taking the TABASCO® Factory Tour.

Check out the distillery's museum, production floor, bottling line, and aging cellar.

The world-renowned TABASCO Brand Pepper Sauce was first produced on Avery Island in 1868.

The McIlhenny family has produced TABASCO® Sauce for over five generations on Avery Island, Louisiana.

Barrels in the TABASCO museum
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Enjoy the TABASCO Factory tour, which includes a film on the history of TABASCO Brand pepper sauce, historical artifacts in the museum, exciting interactive activities, and shopping for all things TABASCO in the TABASCO Country Shop.

Then, stop by the TABASCO® Brand Museum on Wisteria Rd. in Avery Island, Louisiana.

Learn more about the McIlhenny family and the origins of the TABASCO® Brand.

They are located at Main Rd, Avery Island, Louisiana.

Machines in the TABASCO museum
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Take Cooking Classes at Tabasco Restaurant 1868

Exterior of Tabasco Restaurant 1868
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Take the Acadiana Culinary Experience at Tabasco Restaurant 1868 to learn about regional cuisine and enjoy some of its distinctive flavors.

You may get a real taste of a community and its traditions by trying its food.

Participants can experience Louisiana and TABASCO® Pepper Sauce in all their glory by taking the Culinary Course.

Signage of Tabasco Restaurant 1868
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In addition to a TABASCO® Bloody Mary flight and TABASCO® mash taste, their courses feature six local Acadiana samples.

Your expert teachers can also draw connections between the region's rich history and cuisine.

Anyone can sign up for the Acadiana Culinary Experience class on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Spot Birds at Bird City

Birds on a tree at Bird City
Jan Kronsell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jungle Gardens on Avery Island is home to Bird City, a private refuge for wild birds.

Great egrets, snowy egrets, and cattle egrets have found the elevated, artificial platforms in Bird City to be ideal nesting locations.

The birds start showing up in late January to scout a potential platform nesting spot.

Edward Avery McIlhenny, the heir to the Tabasco sauce fortune, was also a dedicated conservationist and helped establish Bird City.

McIlhenny started the sanctuary in 1895 on his 175-acre property.

Because of the high demand for its delicate feathers to decorate women's hats, he feared the extinction of the snowy egret population.

He brought the egrets back to his property on Avery Island.

There, he released the birds into what he called a "flying cage," and they quickly adapted to their new environment.

McIlhenny let the birds go in the fall when they were preparing for their annual migration south.

There were already thousands of egrets using the refuge as breeding sites by 1911, and that number has only grown since then.

June and July are prime times to visit because most birds will nest there.

Go Boating at Bayou Petite Anse

The waters of Bayou Petite Anse
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Bayou Petite Anse is the best spot for a holiday if you enjoy being near the water.

There are numerous public boat launches in the area, perfect for launching your boat or canoe.

"Petite Anse" means small cove in Louisiana French.

This bayou begins on the western side of Avery Island and continues south, eventually emptying into Vermilion Bay and then the Gulf of Mexico via the Avery Canal.

A trail at Bayou Petite Anse
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In the 19th century, schooners frequently journeyed up the bayou to collect cargoes of salt and sugar en route to New Orleans and other ports as far away as New York.

Today, boats of all kinds use Bayou Petite Anse to reach the Intercoastal Waterway and Vermilion Bay.

It is located at Avery Island Rd., Avery Island.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy the Lush Scenery at Rip Van Winkle Gardens

Signage of Rip Van Winkle Gardens
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Intriguing discoveries and exciting opportunities await you around every Rip Van Winkle Gardens.

This beautiful estate, constructed in 1870 and once owned by the renowned actor Joseph Jefferson, is available for tours and weddings.

Explore the nearly 15 acres of semi-tropical gardens hidden among 350-year-old oak oaks.

These ancient oaks are covered in moss, which glistens in the sun, and the gardens are roughly a mile and a half in circumference.

Landscape of Rip Van Winkle Gardens
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Some garden paths are narrow, so visitors must be cautious walking through the grounds.

Outside dining is permitted with your canine companions, provided they are always kept on a leash.

You are not allowed to bring the dog inside the mansion.

Rip Van Winkle Gardens is at Rip Van Winkle Rd, New Iberia, Louisiana, 21 minutes from Avery Island.

A bird at Rip Van Winkle Gardens
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Visit Bayou Teche Museum

The Bayou Teche Museum is in the heart of New Iberia, voted America's Prettiest Town by Forbes Magazine.

Visit the Bayou Teche Museum to learn more about one of the country's most vibrant, fruitful, and historically significant regions.

The Bayou Teche Museum comprehensively introduces the region's sugar cane industry, salt mining, culinary traditions, and musical styles.

The tranquil South Louisiana bayou snakes its way through the landscape.

Likewise, the museum is a great place to learn about the rich diversity of cultures, arts, industries, and legends that have emerged there.

Hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions are all easily accessible on foot.

Don't forget to take advantage of the museum's proximity to the scenic Bayou Teche and its floating kayak/canoe dock.

You can visit them at E Main St, New Iberia, Louisiana, 19 minutes from Avery Island.

Explore Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum

Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum showcase the culture of the Bayou Teche region.

Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the sugarcane industry, cypress lumber, and the steamboat era throughout the past two centuries.

This museum dates back to 1902, constructed using the cypress wood initially harvested in abundance in Jeanerette.

The artifacts housed in the Jeanerette are mostly of regional relevance and have been carefully chosen.

Vintage handcrafted cypress patterns, a paymaster shed, a swamp room, and antique sugarcane farm equipment are just a few of the treasures on display.

There are also many relics from the sugar cane industry, including a great film.

They are located at Main St, Jeanerette, Louisiana, 28 minutes from Avery Island.

Play Golf at Cane Row Golf Club

Formerly known as Squirrel Run Golf Club, Cane Row Golf Club was rebranded in 1986.

Joe Lee, the course's designer, took inspiration from the region's abundant wildlife and lush vegetation.

He created a test for even the most seasoned golfers and a rewarding experience.

Cane Row Golf Club features a variety of holes bordered by water features and natural features like trees and shrubs.

Although on the shorter side in terms of overall length, the course is nevertheless quite challenging.

Their course has what is arguably the world's smoothest putting surface thanks to the Champions Grass greens that have been installed.

Instructor Ryan Desormeaux, a PGA Associate, is available for Cane Row Golf Club lessons.

Private sessions are available by appointment for students of all ages and skill levels.

The Cane Row Golf Club is in New Iberia, 24 minutes from Avery Island.

Go Kayaking at Bayou Têche Paddle Trail

Located on Louisiana's most historically and culturally significant waterway, the Bayou Têche Paddle Trail is 135 miles long and passes through four parishes and thirteen villages.

It has taken its name from a Native American tribe in Louisiana.

From Port Barre to Calumet, you can hop on the National Water Trails System's Bayou Têche Paddle Trail, which runs the length of the bayou.

Five docks are spread out throughout the 11.5 miles from the beginning in Loreauville in Iberia Parish to the end in Jeanerette.

Bayou Teche Trail is a fantastic place for canoeing or kayaking due to its slow-moving water.

You can expect to see bald eagles, turtles, snakes, alligators, egrets, and nutria, and the banks are lined with oaks, cypresses, magnolias, and redbuds.

The bayou meanders through a historical landscape, passing by sites like the original Chitimacha settlement.

The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail starts at Jeanerette, 39 minutes from Avery Island.

Catch Fish at Bayou Carlin Cove Boat Landing & Pavilion

View of a boat at Bayou Carlin Cove Boat Landing & Pavilion
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If you appreciate water sports like fishing, boating, and more, you should check out Bayou Carlin Cove Boat Landing & Pavilion.

There are many waterways in the Vermilion Bay area, and you can access them all from Bayou Carlin Cove.

Boaters, fishermen, hunters, and eco-tourists love this place for its picturesque beauty and abundance of fish and shellfish straight from the sea.

This location is also excellent for a day out with the kids.

The renowned Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market is in a huge pavilion and surrounding open areas.

The pavilion measures 75 feet by 150 feet and is an excellent venue for private parties and public events, including cook-offs, festivals, and fishing tournaments.

The Bayou Carlin Cove Boat Landing & Pavilion is located at S Railroad St, Delcambre, Louisiana, 23 minutes from Avery Island.

Walk along Main Street

Main Street is along the Bayou Teche National Paddle Way in New Iberia.

It is the setting for many of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels.

Tourists can enjoy a variety of attractions on Main Street, including historic buildings, unique shops, art galleries, museums, live performances, and delicious eateries.

In addition, the city has recently installed four new interpretive kiosks along Main Street.

Keep an eye out for these kiosks if you want to learn more about their history and culture.

Main Street is always bustling with activity, from a farmers market, street fair, performance, art show, and holiday celebrations.

Visit LaRoc's Main Street Market for antiques or Taunt Na Na's Flea Market for more finds.

Then, go to the A&E Gallery or NILA Gallery and see work by local artists.

You can go to Main Street in New Iberia after a 21-minute trip from Avery Island.

Test Your Golfing Skills at Sugar Oaks Golf Course

New Iberia is also home to the 18-hole Sugar Oaks Golf Course.

The Luca Barbato-designed Sugar Oaks Golf Course first welcomed players in 1959.

This is an excellent training venue for golfers of all skill levels.

You'll find vast open fairways, but abundant pine trees in the rough may force you to adjust your stroke.

At its longest, the par-72 Sugar Oaks Golf & Country Club spans 6,935 yards from start to finish.

Designed for play on Bermuda grass, the course has a rating of 70.0 and a slope rating of 113.

Bring your pals along for a great round of golf and enjoy its beautiful surroundings.

Sugar Oaks Golf Course is at Sugar Oaks Rd, New Iberia, 27 minutes from Avery Island.

Catch Broadway on the Bayou at Essanee Theater

Essanee Theatre first welcomed its patrons in November 1937.

Julius Scharff and Elias Elias founded the theater and combined their initials to come up with its name.

The state-of-the-art theater, which Owen Southwell had built in the Art Deco style, was equipped with two RCA high-fidelity sound machines and the newest Super Simplex projectors.

After screening its last film in 1980, the Essanee Theater shut down.

It was eventually revived into a performing arts center and home to the Iberia Performing Arts League (IPAL).

IPAL acquired the theater on October 31, 2001.

IPAL has restored the facility and started staging "Broadway on the Bayou" performances year-round over the past few years.

Bring your friends along to watch five full-scale Broadway shows each season thanks to the efforts of the Iberia Performing Arts League or IPAL.

The theater is located at Iberia St, New Iberia, Lousiana, 20 minutes from Avery Island.

See the Birds at Rip's Rookery

Rip's Rookery on Jefferson Island is a popular destination for photographers and birdwatchers due to the many rare species that nest there.

The avian population of Jefferson Island comprises over 260 birds, including the roseate spoonbill.

They nest in and around the rookery.

The roseate spoonbill is a well-known and frequently photographed bird.

The bird's vibrant crimson hue directly results from its crawfish diet.

Some roseate spoonbills may even carry their young with them while they nest.

However, the spoonbill is only one among the numerous other wading birds you might encounter.

Bring a pair of binoculars to see more of the landscape.

However, practice extreme caution as the lagoon surrounding the island/rookery is open and known to host alligators.

Rips Rookery is at Rip Van Winkle Rd, New Iberia, Louisiana, 21 minutes from Avery Island.

Final Thoughts

Avery Island is one of five salt dome islands rising from the otherwise flat Louisiana Gulf coast.

It is a popular tourist and travel destination because of its unusual topography and unique attractions.

The salt dome is also close to several attractions, such as museums, restaurants, and art exhibitions.

Discover the best things to do in Avery Island, Louisiana!

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