From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, many exciting places in Louisiana exist.
But if you’re looking for a hidden gem that will make you say “wow,” look no further than DeRidder.
The city of DeRidder is the parish seat of Beauregard Parish, Louisiana.
It’s also brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty.
And while it may not be as well-known as some other cities in the state, that doesn’t mean it’s not as enjoyable to visit.
There are plenty of unique things to do in DeRidder that you won’t find anywhere else.
So if you’re planning a trip to Louisiana, add this charming city to your itinerary.
Without further ado, explore the best things to do in DeRidder, LA.
The Beauregard Parish Jail, also known as the Gothic “Hanging” Jail, is a former jailhouse in DeRidder.
Located in the city’s heart, it’s the first attraction you’ll see once you get to DeRidder.
Built in 1914, the Gothic “Hanging” Jail got its name from the four gallows that were once housed inside its walls.
The jail is no longer in use but has become a museum.
Visitors can tour the jail and learn about its history and see some of the cells used to house prisoners.
The Gothic “Hanging” Jail is also known for its “Collegiate Gothic” architecture, a popular style used for public buildings in the early 20th century.
The Beauregard Museum is another interesting historical site located in downtown DeRidder.
Constructed in 1926, this builder currently houses several artifacts that depict the sawmill and timber industries that were once prevalent in the area.
The museum is also home to several Civil War artifacts and a collection of items that belonged to Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard.
The general is the parish’s namesake, too.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the museum or sign up for a guided tour led by one of the knowledgeable docents.
Either way, it’s a great way to learn about the history and culture of DeRidder.
Continuing your history escapade through downtown DeRidder, the First USO War Room Museum should be your next stop.
Located just a few blocks south of Beauregard Museum, the First USE War Room Museum is a military museum dedicated to showcasing items, artifacts, and other memorabilia from several wars.
This War Memorial Civic Center was the first building built and donated to the United Services Organization (USO) in 1941.
This historic structure was well-preserved throughout the years and now serves as a museum open to the public.
The museum contains several exhibits, including a WWII exhibit, a Holocaust exhibit, and a Vietnam exhibit.
The museum is also home to a library, which includes various books and resources on military history.
You can’t visit any place in Louisiana without trying out the famous cajun food.
While there are many options, one of the best places to get your cajun fix is at Cecil’s Cajun Cafe.
Cecil’s is a favorite among locals and tourists regarding Cajun cuisine.
Located on the corner of 120 West 1st Street, Cecil’s is known for their delicious seafood gumbo, shrimp étouffée, and jambalaya.
Their menu also includes various other cajun dishes, sandwiches, burgers, and salads.
So if you’re ever in the area and looking for a place to eat, check out Cecil’s Cajun Cafe.
For a taste of the local DeRidder culture, head over to the McConathy Farmers Market.
This open-air market is the perfect place to find fresh produce, flowers, and other locally grown and produced goods.
Also known as the DeRidder Farmers Market, the McConathy Farmers Market is open every Saturday morning.
It’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking for fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, honey, and even handicraft souvenir items.
Apart from shopping for fresh goods, you can also socialize with the locals and get a glimpse at the active and lively community in DeRidder.
The McConathy Farmers Market is a great place to visit if you want to experience the city’s authentic culture.
West Park Swimming Pool is the best place to go on a hot day in DeRidder.
This public swimming pool is open to everyone and is the perfect place to take a dip, relax, and cool down.
This pool park features a large Olympic-sized pool and a smaller kiddie pool for the little ones.
There are also several picnic tables, grilling stations, sun-bathing areas, and a playground for the kids.
The West Park Swimming Pool also boasts several fun and exciting slides that the whole family will enjoy.
If you’re ever in town looking for a place to have fun and beat the heat, check out West Park Swimming Pool.
The pool park is open every day.
Make sure to bring your friends and family with you on a day filled with water fun and action at West Park Swimming Pool.
For golf lovers, the Beauregard Country Club is the perfect place to visit.
This 18-hole golf course is open to the public for a fee.
The Beauregard Country Club features a beautiful, well-maintained golf course perfect for a game or two.
The rich greenery and peaceful surroundings make it the ideal place to enjoy a round of golf.
The club also has a pro shop where you can buy golf supplies and a clubhouse where you can relax and have a meal.
Other amenities include two full tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.
So if you’re ever in the area and looking for a place to play golf, check out Beauregard Country Club.
The golf course is open every day, except Mondays.
Are you looking for a place to stay fit and active while on vacation?
Look no further than All Hours Fitness.
This fitness center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it the perfect place to break a sweat anytime.
All Hours Fitness is a fully-equipped gym with all the amenities you need to stay fit and healthy.
The gym has a wide variety of cardio and weight-training equipment, a CrossFit area, and a sauna for cooling down.
Membership to the gym starts at $10 per month, making it very affordable for everyone.
So if you’re ever in town and looking for a place to get a good workout, check out All Hours Fitness.
The Beauregard Parish Library is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful place to spend the day.
This library has a vast collection of books, literary pieces, and local publications that you can read and enjoy.
Located on South Washington Street, the Beauregard Parish Library is a historic establishment in the area.
The library has served the community for seven long and fruitful decades.
It has provided knowledge and information to the residents of DeRidder.
The Beauregard Parish Library is also a great place to bring your kids to while you’re visiting DeRidder.
The library hosts several fun and educational activities and programs for kids to enjoy and learn.
Some of their events include a summer reading program for kids and adults.
The Beauregard Parish Library is open from Monday to Saturday.
The Lois Loftin Doll Museum is a unique and exciting museum worth visiting.
This museum is dedicated to the art of doll-making and features a vast collection of dolls from different cultures and countries.
With more than 3,500 dolls housed inside DeRidder’s “Old Post Office,” the Lois Loftin Doll Museum is one of the largest doll museums in the United States.
You can take a guided or self-guided tour of the museum and learn about the different dolls on display from the informational collections.
The Lois Loftin Doll Museum is open from Tuesday to Friday, with free admission.
Finish your DeRidder trip with a delicious seafood meal at Steamboat Bill’s.
This local seafood restaurant is excellent for enjoying some good Louisiana cooking.
Some of the must-try dishes at Steamboat Bill’s include their famous shrimp and grits, crab cakes, oysters, and catfish.
They also have a wide selection of beers and wines you can enjoy with your meal.
Steamboat Bill’s is open daily.
One of the best places to bring kids and teenagers with you in DeRidder is at Veterans Park and Splash Pad.
It’s a robust city park that’s brimming with all sorts of amenities, making it a great all-rounder for kids who are looking for all sorts of fun.
Some of the best things you can do here as a family is play disc golf, but there are also basketball courts and a splash pad.
Its splash park is particularly famous in this part of Louisiana, making it a popular destination during the summer.
Veterans Park and Splash Pad is located along Ronald Reagan Highway—a convenient stopover during your visit.
Let Your Dog Loose at Beauregard Bark Park
Beauregard Bark Park is a great place for fur parents and their fur babies because of its cleanliness and huge open spaces.
It’s a great place to let dogs socialize with other pets, as the dog park is a go-to area by many locals as well.
Not to mention, it’s almost like a city park with how nice the greenery is; there’s also an abundance of shade and benches.
Beauregard Bark Park also has two areas separating big and small breeds, adding an extra layer of security.
You can find this neat dog park along West 8th Street.
Have a Feast at New Asia Buffet
If you want a straightforward experience of just filling up your belly with good food, look no further than in New Asia Buffet.
A local icon in DeRidder, this buffet has been serving customers with delicious and affordable food for several years now.
They’ve got a wide array of options, ranging from their sushi to their Chinese dishes—the variety of Asian food here is why many flock to the restaurant.
The service is also good, and you can expect a nice vibe when dining here, making it great place for large groups.
To visit New Asia Buffet, drive along North Pine Street.
Drink and Dine at Double D Steakhouse
Double D Steakhouse is another popular local restaurant in DeRidder that you should try if you’re feeling carnivorous.
They serve great prime cuts here, along with an abundance of other appetizers.
One of their most popular items are actually their dinner rolls, which many locals rave about for its freshness and buttery texture.
Double D Steakhouse has a great vibe all-around, especially for the adults who are planning to go drinking.
Located just a stone’s throw away from New Asia Buffet, this is a great evening option in DeRidder.
Go Shopping at Park Terrace
Park Terrace is another nice destination to dine in DeRidder, but you can do a lot more here because of its various shops.
One of the primary shopping areas in DeRidder, Park Terrace has a lot in store, whether you’re looking for a general store or a grocery store.
It also has clothing stores as well, along with several thrift shops.
Overall, this is a great place to satisfy a bit of your shopping thirst, but it’s also great for essentials.
Park Terrace is located along North Pine Street as well, making it a convenient stopover location.
Check out the Warrior Lanes Bowling Center if you’re up for some fun and excitement.
You can find this place in Fort Polk South, Louisiana, a 26-minute drive from downtown DeRidder.
This bowling alley is the perfect place to enjoy a game with your family and friends.
The Warrior Lanes Bowling Center is a state-of-the-art facility that features 24 bowling lanes, a full-service bar and grill, and a video arcade.
The bowling alley also has a souvenir shop to buy bowling shirts and other memorable items.
If you’re ever in the area and looking for a place to have fun, check out Warrior Lanes Bowling Center.
Another military museum that’s worth a visit is the Fort Polk Museum.
This museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich history of Fort Polk—a U.S. Army installation located in Vernon Parish, Louisiana.
The Fort Polk Museum features iconic objects that interpret the historical significance of the U.S. Army from the early 40s to today.
Fort Polk has a rich military history that dates back to post-World War II, and the museum does a great job of sharing this history with visitors.
The Fort Polk Museum is open from Monday to Friday.
You can take a guided or self-guided tour of the museum.
It also welcomes visitors for free.
Anderson Farms Pumpkin Patch is the perfect place to take your family for a day of fun and excitement.
Apart from its iconic pumpkin patch, this local farm offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that the whole family can enjoy.
You can find this park in Leesville, Louisiana, 29 minutes from DeRidder.
Some of the activities that you can do at Anderson Farms Pumpkin Patch include picking your fruits and vegetables, taking a hayride, private camping sites, and pavilion rentals.
They also have “After Dark” activities called “Terror in the Corn” and “Zombie Paintball Hunt.”
These activities are perfect for older kids and adults who are looking for a little bit of thrill.
If you’re into art and the outdoors, you must check out Leesville Art Park.
Located in Leesville—a 28-minute drive from downtown DeRidder—Leesville Art Park is a great place to enjoy the arts and nature.
This art park features various sculptures and installations created by local and regional artists.
There’s also a nature trail that you can explore and a pond where you can go fishing.
Leesville Art Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset and offers free admission.
There’s a lot to see and do, from historic architectural sites to unique museums in DeRidder.
This small city may not be as famous as other places in Louisiana, but it still has a lot to offer visitors.
Whether you’re looking for a place to learn about the area’s history or want to have some fun and excitement, you’ll find it in DeRidder.
So what are you waiting for?
Start planning your trip to DeRidder today!
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