Lafayette, LA is known as "The Hub City" because of its proximity to major roadways heading north, south, east and west that lead locals and visitors to explore smaller towns. Though Lafayette is the largest growing city in the region, a great portion of its rich culture here is driven by surrounding communities, the gems that make up Acadiana. Here are some smaller towns that are a short drive from Lafayette’s city limits and are well worth the trip.
Scott – 5 miles | 13 minutes from Lafayette
The city of Scott's motto is "Where the West Begins and Hospitality Never Ends" and that's pretty fair. Its close proximity to Interstate 10 makes its quaint downtown district accessible to visitors for local shopping, art galleries and boudin, lots and lots of boudin. The title "Boudin Capital of the World" was awarded to Scott by the state of Louisiana about five years ago. And trust me, other communities fought for the sausage crown. Here in town, you can find the rice and meat-filled sausage staple at iconic joints like Billy's Boudin and Cracklin, Don's Specialty Meats, Best Stop Grocery and Early's Supermarket.
Photo courtesy of Denny Culbert
Things to Eat, See & Do in Scot
Broussard – 7.5 miles | 15 minutes from Lafayette
South Lafayette Parish remains one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Most of its new residents are young families, embracing first time homeownership in South Lafayette Parish, an area that was established in the late 1800s. Along with the growing population comes new businesses, new places to eat and drink including one of three breweries in Lafayette Parish. Parish Brewing, located at 229 Jared Drive, offers tours, a cozy tap room and rotating list of brews and local sought-afters such as IPA's Ghost in the Machine and Opus Vert. Nearby are locally owned restaurants like Hook & Boil and Ton's Drive In that serve local cuisine from boiled seafood and raw oysters to plate lunch specials and burgers. What should be noted: Broussard, like many communities in South Louisiana, still carries its century’s old heritage with about 14 percent of its population that still speaks French.
Photo courtesy of Parish Brewing
Things to Eat, See & Do in Broussard
Breaux Bridge – 9 miles | 20 minutes from Lafayette
Breaux Bridge was given its name from an early Acadian family who built a bridge over the Bayou Teche, a main waterway used during the Acadian's arrival in the 1700s. The bridge over the Teche now celebrates the town's other title, given to it by the Louisiana Legislature in 1959. Yes, without argument, Breaux Bridge is "The Crawfish Capital of the World". Its downtown district is one of my favorite day trip destinations for a main street walk and bite to eat. Take note, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival is just a few weeks away. A personal anecdote: one Mother's Day brunch a few years back, I brought my visiting mom to Cafe Des Amis. During the meal, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival Parade rolled down the city's main drag. My elated mother, who is a Florida native, ran outside the restaurant to catch the parade, which was filled with beaming pageant queens, local marching bands and tributes to the beloved shellfish. Mom was immediately smacked in the face with a Moon Pie from a traveling float. This, which I've deemed some sort of cultural baptism, still remains a highlight of her trip. Breaux Bridge's downtown district is worth a visit during any season for shopping, dining, and live music. Check out venues like La Poussiere, Buck & Johnny's Pizzeria and Joie de Vivre Cafe for a weekly live music schedule.
Things to Eat, See & Do in Breaux Bridge
Buck & Johnny’s Pizzeria
Joie de Vivre Café
Bayou Teche Experience
Bayou Teche Visitors Center
Cajun Country Swamp Tours
Cajun Works: The Real Cajun Deal
Champagne’s Swamp Tours
Landry’s Seafood House
Louisiana Marketshops at the 115
Poche’s Market & Restaurant
Eunice – 40 miles | 47 minutes from Lafayette
Nestled in Acadia and St. Landry parishes is Eunice, the hometown of several of my friends and the beloved live radio program "Rendez-Vous des Cajuns", also known as the Cajun Grand Ol' Opry. Every Saturday night inside the historic Liberty Center of Performing Arts, the evening radio program offers music, performed mostly in French, to a live audience filled with locals and visitors from around the world. Less than $10 gets you in the door to sit, or preferably to dance, to some of the best Cajun and Creole musicians around. If you are in town for the weekend, it's well worth the trip. The city is also home to a number of restaurants and cultural centers, a farmers market, and if you are looking for one heck of a barn dance check out the Lakeview Park and Beach.
Photo courtesy of the Liberty Center for Performing Arts