Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Houma, LA

  • Published 2022/12/20

The city of Houma is the seat of Terrebonne Parish in southeastern Louisiana.

It is located just 50 miles southwest of New Orleans.

Houma is ideally situated along Bayou Terrebonne and the Intracoastal Waterway, which is connected to the Gulf of Mexico.

The first settlers in this area were the Acadians from Nova Scotia.

Founded in 1810, this city was first developed through fishing and shrimp port.

The population in Houma reached 33,727 as per the 2010 census.

Its total land area comprises 14.47 square miles of land and 0.13 square miles of water.

Houma has become a famous center for seafood and lumber products.

This is also where you can taste the famous Cajun food.

But Houma still has a lot more to offer.

What’s more exciting is that you won’t have to spend a penny to have fun and appreciate this city.

Here are the free things to do in Houma, Louisiana:

Spot Beautiful Migratory Birds at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge

Mashes at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge

TexanLifePhotography /

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is a 4,212-acre natural area on Bayou Black Dr.

It is nestled five miles southwest of Houma.

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1996 and now serves as a conservation and protection area for freshwater marshes in the city.

Thousands of migratory birds visit the refuge, so you’ll get a high chance of spotting some fantastic and beautiful birds during your visit to this area.

You can find the American alligator and bald eagle at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge.

Besides freshwater marshes, this wildlife refuge also features artificial canals and a cypress-tupelo swamp.

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by oak, gum, and cypress trees.

Photography, boating, hunting, and fishing are also allowed.

Expand Your Knowledge at Terrebonne Parish Library System

Terrebonne Parish Library System is located on Library Dr.

You can find all the reference books and other reading materials you want.

It also serves as a venue for writers’ festivals.

Terrebonne Parish Library System aims to bring library services and resources close to the community.

This library contains materials fit for people of all ages.

Terrebonne Parish Library System also offers online catalogs, eBooks, and other services.

Attend the Rougarou Fest

Rougarou Fest is a family-friendly festival being held on West Park Ave.

It is a celebration of the rich folklore that exists in Southeast Louisiana.

You and your friends will have a great time in this festival’s live music, cultural activities, Krewe Ga Rou parade, and more.

Some fun things you can also do here at Rougarou Fest are the costume contests, experiencing all the carnival rides, and doing some arts and crafts.

You can bring your little ones here and let them enjoy exciting children’s activities.

After all the fun and party, fill your stomach with Cajun food.

Rougarou Fest is so popular that it was even ranked among the Top 10 Costume Parties in the country by USA Today in 2014.

In 2020, the Louisiana Travel Association hailed the Rougarou Fest as the Festival of the Year.

Enjoy Nature at Mandalay Nature Trail

Mandalay Nature Trail is a 1.4-kilometer trail situated on Rue De La Manson.

This trail is considered an accessible route.

Mandalay Nature Trail is also where you can watch some birds and observe different native trees and swamps.

You can also spot other kinds of wildlife here.

Mandalay Nature Trail is the perfect place for quiet time with nature.

Admire the Architecture of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral

Exterior of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral

Infrogmation of New Orleans, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

St. Francis de Sales Cathedral is situated on Goode St.

Founded in 1847, St. Francis de Sales Cathedral is also the first brick church built in the Romanesque style.

A hurricane destroyed the first St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in 1926, and was later rebuilt based on the French-Gothic style of Europe.

It also underwent a massive renovation in 2002.

The structure of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral now serves as a place of prayer and devotion and an attraction for architecture enthusiasts.

Stroll Downtown Houma

Downtown Houma is a lively and energetic area nestled on Main St.

This street is filled with business establishments, food hubs, and captivating architectural structures, perfect for sightseeing with friends or alone.

Public walkways will lead you to the most scenic spots of Downtown Houma.

Visit Lafayette and Barrow St., and you’ll see the oldest commercial architecture surrounded by local stores and bars.

The Beaux Arts building also becomes visible as you further explore Downtown Houma.

See Amazing Art Collections at Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild

Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild is an art gallery that can be found on Belanger St.

It was organized in 1963 to promote and bring art and culture to Terrebonne Parish.

Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild features art collections from various local artists.

It has paintings, drawings, and other artistic creations.

Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild also conducts fun activities like live music, craft booths, a songwriter fest, cultural food cook-off, and more.

You can also let your little ones join its free art classes.

Spend the Afternoon at Jim Bowie Park

Jim Bowie Park is located on Bayou Black Dr.

It has picnic tables and a gazebo perfect for afternoon relaxation with loved ones.

Breathe fresh air and forget the problems of everyday life under Jim Bowie Park’s large oak trees.

People believe that families of fallen soldiers planted these oak trees during World War I.

This park is perfect if you’re looking for a peaceful and quiet spot to recharge your mind and body.

Jim Bowie Park also offers a small fishing spot.

You can find the park over a bridge that arches above a little bayou.

Spend Quality Time at Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park

Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park is a relaxing park nestled on Williams Ave.

If you want some me time, this park is the one for you.

Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park is a safe and family-friendly outdoor destination.

It is perfect for walking, running, and biking.

Get your dose of vitamin D and spend the morning roaming Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park.

You can spend your time at the park sitting on the grass and just admiring the beauty of the surroundings.

Watching the sunset is also one of the best activities at Glenn F. Pope Memorial Park.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Fishing at Pointe-Aux-Chenes

The waters of Pointe-Aux-Chenes

Realest Nature /

Pointe-aux-Chenes is a 35-acre wetland located on Hwy 665., Montegut, Louisiana, 22 minutes from Houma.

Pointe-aux-Chenes is composed of freshwater wetlands which also serve as home to wintering waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries manages this natural area.

Some animals you can spot here are tall white deer, alligators, otters, and a wide range of bird species.

Pointe-aux-Chenes also serve as a nesting spot for herons, bald eagles, and egrets.

You can also spend your time here catching some saltwater and freshwater fish.

Immerse Yourself in Culture at Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center

Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center is a historical center on Mary St., Thibodaux, Louisiana, 26 minutes from Houma.

You’ll find yourself lost within the rich and exciting culture of the Acadians or Cajuns features inside this center.

From clothing, furniture, artifact, and film, Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center remains committed to keeping Cajun’s way of living alive.

It also hosts cultural performances related to the culture of the Cajuns.

Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center also conducts walking tours, boat tours, live music, and summer camps.

The area is also wheelchair accessible, so everyone in the family can have a great time here at Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center.

Picnic tables, seating areas, and information guides are also available.

Reflect on Life at St. John’s Historic Cemetery

Headstones at St. John’s Historic Cemetery

Z28scrambler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

St. John’s Historic Cemetery is a historical cemetery on Jackson St., Thibodaux, 24 minutes from Houma.

It was established in 1843 on Ridgefield Plantation, owned by George S. Guion.

Several famous and reputable persons are buried here at St. John’s Historic Cemetery.

Among those are Louisiana governor and Chief justice Francis Tillou Nicholls; Georgiana Suthon, an early missionary to Japan; and Richard Henry Allen, a 19th-century owner of Rienzi Plantation.

Veterans who fought in wars from 1812 are also buried here.

The monuments and tombs at St. John’s Historic Cemetery also represent the religious beliefs and craftsmanship from many eras.

St. John’s Historic Cemetery is also an urban oasis surrounded by live oak trees planted in the 1850s.

This cemetery is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visit the Laurel Valley Village Thibodaux

Laurel Valley Village Thibodaux is located on Hwy 308, Thibodaux, 26 minutes from Houma.

Laurel Valley Village Thibodaux is the most prominent surviving 19th and 20th-century sugar plantation complex in the country.

This village is also listed under the National Register of Historic Places.

It is owned by a French Acadian person named Etienne Boudreaux.

Laurel Valley Village Thibodaux is still a sugarcane farm with a store and museum open to the public.

From there, you can find essential farming tools and locally made arts and crafts.

The museum displays various antique materials that are also not farming-related.

Laurel Valley Village Thibodaux is a family-friendly destination that is also handicapped accessible.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane at E.D. White Historic Site

Exterior of E.D. White Historic Site

Z28scrambler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

E.D. White Historic Site is situated on Lane Hwy. 1, Thibodaux, 31 minutes from Houma.

This place will take you back to the historical time of the Bayou Lafourche, Chitimacha Indians, and Acadian settlers.

E.D. White Historic Site is one of the country’s National Historic Landmarks.

It was once the residence of two of the state’s foremost political figures: Edward Douglas White and Edward Douglass White.

E.D. White Historic Site was built around 1825 from hand-sewn cypress.

It is also a perfect example of Creole plantation architecture.

Inside the house is an inverted stairwell that leads to the house’s bedrooms.

Due to its rich historical significance, E.D. White Historic Site serves as a favorite stop for students on an educational tour.

Check Out Intricate Sculptures at Chauvin Sculpture Garden

Daytime view of Chauvin Sculpture Garden

Jon Evans, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chauvin Sculpture Garden is located on Bayouside Dr., Chauvin, Louisiana, 24 minutes from Houma.

This garden is home to some of the country’s most fascinating and intricate concrete sculptures.

From angels, towers, and people, this garden will amaze you with masterpieces of different shapes and colors.

Chauvin Sculpture Garden was even voted the 12th-best sculpture garden in the world by

Chauvin Sculpture Garden is perfect for a quick getaway with family and friends.

Its picture-perfect surroundings will make you feel relaxed and stress-free.

If you’re an art enthusiast, Chauvil Sculpture Garden is the right place.

Final Thoughts

Houma is a place full of attractions suited to each person’s interest.

If you want to have the time of your life without breaking the bank, add this city to your travel goals.

It will leave you with unforgettable memories and teach important lessons about the place’s rich history.

Try these free things to do in Houma, Louisiana!

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