Suppose you're looking for an authentic Cajun experience with a twist of French heritage.
In that case, there's no other place in the United States to go but in the city of Houma, Louisiana.
Historically, Houma became the first settlement for Spanish and French colonists in the south, later called Acadians.
Unlike other cities and towns in Louisiana, Houma perfectly exemplifies the French and Cajun culture.
It's because Houma once isolated itself from the entire nation; thus, its people preserved their unique cultural roots that you can experience until today.
Houma's landscape comprises a network of channels and bayous from vast and busy riverways leading to the Terrebonne Bay.
In addition, Houma has also nicknamed the "Venice of America."
It is mainly because of its busy waterways, an integral part of its transportation and other means.
Many consider Houma a perfect jumping point to tour Louisiana's swamps and ecological treasures.
However, Houma itself has dozens of attractions and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Houma has a myriad of things to discover, from the renowned Cajun food to swamp tours, charter boat fishing, exotic animals to dance, and music halls.
Interested to know more about this place?
Here are the 15 best things to do in Houma, LA:
Browse through Impressive Military Equipment at the Regional Military Museum
The Regional Military Museum in Houma boasts one of Louisiana's most extensive war equipment and memorabilia collections.
The museum, situated near Houma's historic downtown district, offers visitors a closer look of the war artifacts.
Its exhibits display different military equipment from World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and War on Terror.
Aside from its exciting exhibits, the museum also aims to educate the public on local history, particularly the contribution of South Louisiana in the war efforts during World War II.
It's a beautiful place to drive down memory lane and interact with different military machines, weapons, and clothing.
Do Outdoor Activities at the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Located just outside the city limits of Houma, the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to commune with nature and enjoy outdoor activities.
This vast 4,619-acre wildlife refuge is part of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
This wildlife refuge is open year-round and offers visitors the chance to get a closer look at exotic birds and other animals commonly found in Louisiana.
The best activities you can enjoy at this wildlife refuge are boating, nature photography, spotting animals, and fishing.
In addition, you can also join various activities and events organized by the Louisiana Wildlife Refuge to add more fun to your experience.
Join the Mardi Gras Festivities
Houma's version of the Mardi Gras is as festive as New Orleans.
It also boasts grand parades featuring colorful costumed dancers and revelers, huge colorful floats, and loud marching bands.
Your Cajun experience won't be complete without joining the festivities of Mardi Gras.
This true Cajun celebration attracts dozens of floats, marching bands, hundreds of dancers, and performers from February 18 to March 1.
Aside from the grand Mardi Gras parade, other exciting side events are lined-up during the festivities.
Cajun food cooking contests, singing, dancing, and other performances highlight the festivities.
Houma's Mardi Gras celebration usually starts at the back of Town Hall Shopping Center and Bond Street.
It traverses Barrow St., West Main Avenue to West Park Ave, and ends at Southland Mall.
Learn about the Natural Wonders at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum
One of the best ways to start your Houma travel adventure is to visit the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum.
This Houma museum aims to educate the public about the area's rich historical relevance to several important cultural traits, including the Cajun culinary tradition, hunting, and water-based transportation.
If you're not entirely familiar with Houma's history and heritage, visiting this museum will enlighten you about this matter.
This museum is equipped with a wide array of exhibits, a spacious reception hall, and many activities.
Discover the Lousiana's Swamps with Annie Miller's Son's Swamp and Marsh Tours
One of the must-try activities in Houma is the swamp and marsh tours, where you'll encounter alligators, turtles, and other exotic wildlife.
Houma's most trusted swamp tour company is Annie Miller's Sons, which offers fun-filled swamp tours into the vast Louisiana swamps.
This swamp tour company will guide you through the mystical and beautiful swamplands and marshes surrounding Houma and Terrebonne Parish.
The swamp tour company's guide is also an expert in storytelling, which offers you an exciting way to understand the diverse and teeming habitat of different animals in the region.
In addition, you'll get to feed alligators with chicken during the swamp tour.
Hike through the Mandalay Nature Trail
The Mandalay Nature Trail located just outside Houma's city limits boasts a scenic 1.4-kilometer out and back trail.
The Mandalay Nature Trail is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
It is teeming with wildlife and beautiful sceneries, featuring Louisiana's vast swamplands and marshes.
During your hike, you'll hear and see exotic birds nestled on treetops while alligators and other amphibians are doing their usual thing on the swamps.
If hiking trails aren't your thing, there are fishing spots and hunting areas you can check out.
Overall, the Mandalay Nature Trail takes you through different natural habitats, wetlands, and swamps that will surely bring out your adventurous spirit.
Cool Down at the Scarlet Scoop Ice Cream
The Scarlett Scoop Ice Cream is famous in Houma because of its nostalgic appeal and theme.
You'll easily notice it from the ice cream parlor's retro architecture, which virtually takes you back to the 1940s and 1950s.
Its interior is the perfect example of a classic ice cream bar you see on vintage movies and posters.
It's a wonderful place to bring your kids to treat them to delicious ice creams.
You should try their signature red velvet cake, king cake, and salted caramel flavors paired with their homemade waffle cones.
Reflect at the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral
One of the most beautiful architectures you'll find in Houma is the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral.
The cathedral is reminiscent of typical churches you'll find in Europe because of its Romanesque style and architecture.
In 1847, Rev. Zéphyrin Lévêque founded the parish.
However, the initial masses happened at the Terrebonne Parish courthouse since the cathedral's construction was completed in 1948.
Aside from being Houma's important religious center, the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral is also a popular tourist attraction.
Whether you're a catholic or have other religious beliefs, you should try visiting this cathedral and be in awe of its amazing architecture.
Or perhaps, you can head inside the cathedral to reflect and join its regular masses.
In addition, the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral is teeming with other historical sites relevant to its back story.
Taste Authentic Cajun Cuisine at the Cajun Meat Market
Every time you travel to Louisiana, an important part of your itinerary is eating Cajun food.
There are a lot of authentic Cajun and Creole restaurants scattered all over Louisiana, boasting their own style of Southern cooking.
If you haven't tried authentic Cajun cuisine, then it's your best chance to sink your teeth into some during your visit to Houma.
With that in mind, visit the Cajun Meat Market in Houma to taste their authentic Cajun delicacies.
They serve boudin, po boy sandwiches, turduckens, hog head cheese, cracklin', stuffed quail, and chicken salad on their menu.
Head to Cajun Meat Market right away whenever you're hungry and looking for authentic Cajun food in Houma.
Celebrate Heritage at the African American Museum
The African American Museum offers visitors a chance to learn about the rich African-American history, culture, and heritage in St. Mary, Terrebonne, and Lafourche Parishes.
Its vast exhibits nicely narrate different stories about the history of African-Americans in the Continental United States.
You should check out the story behind the first slave ship arriving on its shores, particularly the 400 enslaved Africans forced to work in plantations in these three parishes.
In addition, the museum also has soil collections from the plantations, where enslaved Africans worked before in the areas of Thibodaux and Houma.
There are also galleries of photos of enslaved African-Аmericans, their enslavers, and essential documents that tell the story of their struggles back in the day.
This museum in Houma is a perfect eye-opener about the cruelty and struggle of African-Americans back in the day.
Go on a Shopping Spree at the Southlands Mall
Aside from being a popular venue of activities during the Mardi Gras, the Southlands Mall in Houma is also a top-rated shopping destination in Terrebonne Parish.
This compact indoor mall between West Park Avenue and Bayou Gardens Boulevard is packed with shops, from mainstream brands to local specialties.
Suppose part of your itinerary in Houma is shopping.
In that case, you should check out Southlands Mall's retail outlets, like Victoria's Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, Anchor Tenants, Dillard's, JCPenny, Sears, Aeropostale, and Bath & Body Works.
In addition, you can dine at the Tee Tai's, The Lion's Share, and Cuco's Border Cafe in Southlands Mall.
Experience Cajun Culture at the Jolly Inn Cajun Dance Hall
The Jolly Inn is a small restaurant with a dance hall and a lounge packed into one.
It's one of the best places to learn about Cajun culture's unique and festive traditions.
The Jolly Inn Cajun Dance Hall regularly hosts various musical performances and parties.
There, you'll get to listen to Cajun music that will surely warm your heart while enjoying locals and visitors dancing on the dance floor.
It's a nice place to either have fun or unwind while rubbing elbows with locals and experience Cajun culture and hospitality.
Pass the Time at the Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park
The Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park is one of the green outdoor spaces in Houma.
It's an excellent park to pass the time with your family and enjoy the outdoors safely.
Many locals spend their time there sitting on the grass and relaxing, or perhaps jogging along its winding paved paths that make their way around this gorgeous park.
Once you're done roaming around Houma, you can spend your afternoon at this park and watch the sunset.
Feel Cozy at the Mahony's Irish Pub
Aside from Cajun and French culture, you will also come across an authentic Irish Pub in the heart of Houma.
The Mahony's Irish Pub is a perfect place to meet locals and have fun while chugging down a pint of their best beers.
Mahony's Irish Pub is a popular watering hole in Houma that offers an authentic Irish pub experience through its interiors, hospitality, and drinks.
Don't miss their trivia nights where your wits will be put to the test.
Or perhaps, watch live games through their mounted televisions.
Overall, this casual Irish pub is a great place to unwind, enjoy beer, and talk to locals.
Watch Live Performances at the Le Petit Theatre de Terrebonne
Houma's Le Petit Theatre de Terrebonne is not just your typical theater.
The theater itself holds a historical significance to Houma.
It has been listed on Louisiana Historic Registry, making it an interesting place to visit and, of course, watch live performances from its in-house stage actors.
The place is known for its live plays and musicals, regularly performed by its in-house stage actors.
Overall, this compact theater is a hidden gem in Houma that you should consider listing on your itinerary.
They have their official website for their scheduled performances that you can check out.
Or perhaps visit their official Facebook page for more details.
In reality, very few communities in the United States can match the authentic experiences and the authentic Cajun culture that Houma offers to its visitors.
Visiting this place guarantees you a top-notch travel experience that you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Besides, it's a few hours away from New Orleans, which is also teeming with attractions to visit.
So, whenever you're ready to head to Houma, be sure to check the attractions listed on this post to guarantee yourself a fun-filled experience.