Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in St. Francisville, LA

  • Published 2023/04/03

As the parish seat of West Feliciana, Louisiana, St. Francisville is steeped in Louisiana history and culture.

It overflows with plantations and historical sites.

You’ll never run out of places to see while you’re there.

Apart from that, the area’s natural beauty is truly something to behold.

Overall, the place is an excellent representation of the South, its traditions, and its culture.

Here are the best things to do in St. Francisville, LA:

Visit the Myrtles Plantation

Exterior of the beautiful Myrtles Plantation

DanaForeman /

The magic and beauty of the antebellum South is something that’ll take your breath away.

The Myrtles Plantation, surrounded by Live Oak trees, is an excellent example of the splendor of 1700s architecture.

Join a guided tour and explore the beautiful environment featuring a large verandah, exquisite iron works, and hand-painted glass.

A wooden footbridge at Myrtles Plantation

Penny Richard /

Learn about the place’s history and the many stories that have occurred there over the centuries.

Listen to the stories of the people who lived there and how they have shaped the community you’re exploring.

The Myrtles Plantation also offers accommodations for people who want to experience luxurious Southern living.

They offer various gorgeous rooms and cabins filled with intricate decor to visitors who need them.

Each stay includes a history tour and a complimentary breakfast so visitors can experience what genuine hospitality feels like.

Night scene at Myrtles Plantation

Roberto Michel /

Host an Event at the Hemingbough Cultural Center

The Hemingbough Cultural Center is a site for the arts, education, religious seminars, and many other things.

It’s the perfect place to host events, given the beautiful and tranquil atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a place to get married, this is the place to go.

Your guests will be amazed by the beautiful area, and you’ll make many wonderful memories with your loved ones.

Explore the Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site

Exterior of Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site

Z28scrambler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the West Feliciana area, you’ll find the Rosedown Plantation Historic Site, which is a marvelous sight to behold.

It’s another destination that perfectly captures everything people love about the old South.

Owned by one of the wealthiest men in the country at the time, Rosedown Plantation truly captures the life of plantation owners at the time.

Constructed in 1834, the house took around a year to complete.

Once they did it, its owners furnished the house with the finest pieces available, most of which were imported from Northern Europe.

A statue on the grounds of Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site

Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1950s, the original owners decided to sell the entire plantation, which Catherine Fondren Underwood bought.

She succeeded in restoring the place to its former glory.

Now, the property features 13 historic buildings and hundreds of acres of plantation land as a state landmark.

Canopy of oak branches over Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site's entrance

LindaPerez /

Wander the Butler Greenwood Plantation

If you’re looking for a place to stay while you’re in St Francisville, then why not stay at a beautiful historic plantation like the Butler Greenwood Plantation?

It’s a bed and breakfast with eight rustic and gorgeous cottages that’ll provide you with all the comfort you need during your stay.

All around the property, you’ll see various interpretive signs of the historic area, which adds to its charm and charisma.

There’s a gazebo with towering glass windows, clear ponds that highlight the garden’s elegance, and much more.

It’s the definition of peace, and you’ll have the chance to rest and relax while you’re there.

Stay well away from the chaos and unpredictability of the modern world.

Shop for Jewelry at Grandmother’s Buttons

Exterior of Grandmother’s Buttons

Valerie Everett, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another iconic spot in St. Francisville is Grandmother’s Buttons, a store steeped in the area’s rich history and culture.

A dynamic woman started the shop with an uncommon passion.

With the help of her family and community, she built a thriving business that’s lasted for years.

In the store, you’ll find all sorts of jewelry that will bring out the beauty and elegance of any outfit you choose to wear.

You can choose from various options and use what you buy for yourself or give it as a gift to someone you care deeply about.

The place also offers antiques that any history buff will find interesting.

Remember that each piece has its own fascinating story and background just waiting for an interested person to find them.

Sample the Dishes at the Francis Southern Table and Bar

If you’re looking for a place where you can fully sample the superb cuisine of Louisiana, then the Francis Southern Table and Bar is the perfect place to go.

Start your meal right with their vast array of appetizers that’ll indeed prepare you for the culinary delight that’s about to come your way.

Try their crab cakes, the fried eggplant, or the Francis fancy fries.

You can also try some of the salads and soups they have in the kitchen to get the complete Southern dining experience.

Once done, you can move on to the main course with one of their entrees, such as the blackened redfish or the crawfish bisque.

There are also pork and beef options for people who prefer red meat.

Don’t forget to finish your meal with some dessert-like key lime pie or a triple chocolate cake.

Marvel at the Afton Villa Gardens

Hedge maze at Afton Villa Gardens

Zack Frank /

Bartholomew Barrow purchased the land of Afton Villa in 1820 from his brother, which led to the gorgeous gardens that we know today.

Barrow lived on the property for twenty years.

During that time, he stayed at a white house with towering white columns and galleries.

Afterward, the property changed owners several times through the years.

In all that time, it never lost its beauty and charm.

A rowboat on the waters of Afton Villa Gardens

Zack Frank /

Eventually, the Trimble family bought the place to prevent real estate developers from taking over the land.

The Trimbles undertook a 20-year-long project to restore the property to its former glory.

Unfortunately, the home was destroyed in 1963, and now only the gardens remain.

Afterward, they would purchase the property again, and they finally restored the garden to what it once was.

Chairs and tables at Afton Villa Gardens

Zack Frank /

Get a Souvenir From Sage Hill Gifts

After every vacation, most people give gifts to their friends and family once they’re back home.

While you’re in St Francisville, the perfect place to get the things you need is Sage Hill Gifts.

Several items there will be perfect, such as little trinkets and souvenirs for your loved ones.

You can also look through their jewelry inventory if you want something unique or if you’re looking to get something nice for yourself.

The merchandise at Sage Hill appeals to people of all ages.

Don’t worry about not finding the perfect gift for a specific person.

Try the Ice Cream at Away Down South

Of course, a vacation isn’t just visiting the sites and hopping from one historic spot to another.

It’s also important to immerse yourself in the area’s culture.

What better way to do that than by first sampling the local cuisine?

When people hear that, they may first think of three-course meals and sitting down at restaurants and ordering several dishes.

If you don’t have time to do that at the moment, there are still options for you.

Away Down South is one of the most iconic places in St. Francisville, and it has served delicious ice cream for years.

See what flavors work for you, or try the new flavors you’ve discovered in the place.

Once you’re done, you can also look at some of the items and souvenirs for sale nearby so you can take a memento home with you.

Stay at the Greenwood Plantation

Scenic view of the Greenwood Plantation

Bailey L Wilson /

Built in 1830, the Greenwood Plantation stands as a testament to the beauty and elegance of the antebellum South.

Tours are available by appointment, so make sure to schedule one if you want to learn more about the area and its history.

The place also features a bed and breakfast where you can stay to experience local hospitality.

There are eleven luxurious rooms to choose from, so you’re never out of options while you’re there.

Purchase Gifts from Ma Milles

Shopping is half the fun when it comes to vacations, and there’s no better place to do that than at Ma Milles.

Browse their fashion collection and see what fits your tastes the best, whether it’s a fancy dress or a simple t-shirt, you’ll find something in this store.

They also offer different kinds of shoes and footwear.

If you look hard enough, you may even find some exciting and fun looks to go with your current outfit.

Learn Local History at the West Feliciana Historical Museum

Founded in 1969, the West Feliciana Historical Society promotes local history and raises awareness of the community’s collective past.

At this historical museum, you can find various exhibits that’ll teach you so many things about the local history and its culture.

You can find displays on the West Florida rebellion and the different stories of the plantations of West Feliciana.

You can also learn about the railroad that ran through the area.

If you’re still interested, the museum has exhibits on the history of education in the area as well.

Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to get a little token.

Remember all the knowledge, history, and culture you’ve learned while exploring the museum.

Explore the Oakley Plantation Grounds

Exterior of Oakley Plantation Grounds

Kathryn (2Things@Once), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Constructed in 1815, the Oakley Plantation’s true beauty lies in its simplicity and elegance.

They built the structure to adapt to the Louisiana climate.

Despite the house’s imposing figure, it’s tall and airy, providing shade for the weary traveler.

However, the house’s unique architecture isn’t the only thing it has going for.

It’s also a significant place since the famous ornithologist James Audubon once lived there temporarily.

These days, the house has a lot of offerings for any traveler who ends up visiting.

It gives a snapshot of what Southern life was like back in the day, warm and laid back, breezy and relaxed.

It’s the perfect place to visit for anyone looking to relax.

Play Golf at the Bluffs on Thompson Creek

Golfing is a refined and elegant sport that’s perfectly in line with the area you’re visiting.

Why not give it a shot while you’re in St. Francisville?

The Bluffs on Thompson Creek is not just a great place to golf, but it also features a fantastic view.

Be careful not to get distracted by the beautiful environment around you as you play.

Remember that the key to any sport is focus and concentration.

Don’t forget to appreciate the view in your downtime and breathe in the sweet fresh air.

Follow the Beast Trail

You can access the Beast Trail through the West Feliciana Parks, and it’s around eight miles long.

When you go through this trail, you’ll see beautiful ravines, steep bluffs, various wooden bridges, and a truly spectacular view.

It’ll help you appreciate the graceful and wild beauty of the natural world.

You’ll venture far away from the city, away from the historic plantations, leaving you alone with your thoughts.

It’s a great spot to visit for people looking to find inner peace.

There’s nothing to distract you there, so you’re free to find whatever it is you’re looking for.

As you’re following the trail, take the time to reflect on where you are in life.

It’ll help you appreciate the world around you and the people who love you.

Spot Birds and Other Wildlife at Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area

The 6,000-acre Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area is the perfect getaway from the downtown buzz of St. Francisville.

This preserve has two different tracts: a North and a South one.

It boasts scenic bluff lands amidst ravines and river confluences.

And within this natural site, you can find diverse habitats and a wide selection of native plants you won’t find anywhere else in the state and country.

Some of the activities you can do while at this site include hiking, birding, and horseback riding.

The site also has a camping ground within its South Tract.

You can get to Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area via Louisiana Highway 66.

Try Fried Alligator Bites at Magnolia Cafe

Make sure your St. Francisville itinerary is complete with historic sites, nature adventures, and food stops.

And in your food stop to-visit list, add Magnolia Cafe.

This artisan restaurant is family-owned and has passed over four generations of the same family.

It stands out for its local cuisine servings with a dash of Southern and Mexican culture on its menu.

Some of its bestselling dishes are the Magnolia House Salad and Fried Alligator Bites.

But what makes this restaurant different from the rest is its adjoined rentable cabins owned by the same family.

A historic landmark, 3V Tourist Courts offers original motor cabins that have been around since 1938.

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay for the night, these small cabins may be the best idea.

Magnolia Cafe is along Commerce Street.

Watch a Retelling of The Day the War Stopped

You aren’t truly experiencing St. Francisville’s history and culture without attending The Day the War Stopped.

This annual event staple tells the story of brotherly love in 1863.

In the wake of the war, Confederate masons helped Union soldiers mourn the loss of their commander under masonic honors.

Several years later, this event remains an unforgettable part of the town’s legacy.

The Day the War Stopped’s program includes a reenactment, vintage music and dancing, and a raffle announcement.

This event takes place every June in various locations in downtown St. Francisville, including Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery and the Courthouse Grounds.

Go on a Self-Guided Historical Building Tour All Over St. Francisville

Exterior of Grace Episcopal Church

Nina Alizada /

St. Francisville’s historic district is a must-experience for history lovers.

This district covers parts of Prosperity, Fidelity, and Ferdinand streets.

Make your first stop at Grace Episcopal Church and its Gothic Revival architecture design.

On Fidelity Street, Julius Freyhan School stands as the first public school in West Feliciana.

Temple Sinai on Prosperity and United Methodist Church on Royal Street are also worth checking out.

Get to the center of the town’s history with a self-guided historical building tour.

Exterior of the United Methodist Church

Roberto Michel /

Catch a Workshop or Lecture at Southern Garden Symposium

It’s a floral adventure when you attend Southern Garden Symposium.

This annual gardening program takes you on a trip all over the town’s budding gardens.

It also features lectures, workshops, and other social activities.

Learn from seasoned gardeners, farmers, and horticulture specialists from within the state and outside of it.

Southern Garden Symposium takes place every October for two days.

Final Thoughts

A trip to St. Francisville feels like a journey to the past.

As a place determined to preserve its culture through its history, it’s a destination you’ll surely appreciate when you visit.

So take in as much as possible while you’re there and inscribe what you’ve seen into your memory.

Book your St. Francisville trip today!

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