From fairytale gardens and majestic oak trees draped with moss to Cajun cuisine fit for a king, South Louisiana is a dreamy destination for couples. Whether you’re visiting for Valentine’s Day, planning an anniversary weekend, or just desiring a couple’s getaway, you’ll find plenty of ways to reconnect with the one you love in Lafayette.

Couple enjoying a paddle through the bayou among the cypress trees.

Explore the outdoors with your special someone. Lafayette is known for its romantic swampland dotted with moss-draped cypress trees teeming with wildlife, which makes it the perfect destination for bird watching, paddling, fishing, and numerous other outdoor activities. You can stay in the city limit and explore the Bayou Vermilion or take a short drive to Lake Martin where you can rent a canoe, take a swamp tour, or hike the trails around the lake. No matter what you choose you'll be sure to have a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience.

Oak tree belonging to the legend of Evangeline & Gabriel.

Acadiana’s most famous love story was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie. Star-crossed lovers Evangeline and Gabriel were separated during the infamous 1755 exile of Acadians from their Canadian home to South Louisiana. Evangeline spent the rest of her life searching for her soulmate in the bayous of Louisiana until she finally found Gabriel on his deathbed. Legend has it, they reunited under the giant oak tree on Bayou Teche in St. Martinville. Whether fact or fiction, you’ll enjoy spotting the famous oak tree along with visiting one of the oldest Catholic churches in the U.S., Saint Martin de Tours Church, where Evangeline’s statue rests.

Front view of Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island.

A favorite spot for weddings, Rip Van Winkle Gardens, offers an enchanting setting for a romantic daytime date. Have lunch overlooking Lake Peigneur at Café Jefferson, meander through semi-tropical gardens among colorful peacocks, and relax beside gurgling fountains.

View of Jungle Gardens on Avery Island, home of TABASCO.

Spice up your love life in Avery Island, Louisiana, home of the world-famous TABASCO sauce and Jungle Gardens. Stroll hand in hand through the 170-acre botanical gardens complete with centuries-old oak trees, a bird sanctuary, and frolicking deer. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the camellias are pretty in pink. An especially lovely spot is a serene pond with an ancient statue of Buddha, once belonging to TABASCO founder Edward Avery McIlhenny.

Italian pasta dish at Marcello's Wine Market & Cafe.

It’s amore at Marcello’s, an Italian wine market cafe with a regional twist. Owners were born in Sicily and raised in South Louisiana, so patrons enjoy the best of both culinary worlds. Select a bottle from the wine racks, then dig into the fabulous antipasti, like the calamari, crabmeat contessa, and fried oysters—they’re an aphrodisiac, you know.

Gumbo dish at Charlie G's steakhouse.

One of Lafayette’s finest dining establishments is the locally owned Charley G’s. This sophisticated steakhouse features live piano music every Thursday through Saturday night. Warm up with their signature duck gumbo before tucking into a great steak or the local fresh catch.

Exterior view of the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

Hip, artsy couples should head downtown to Jefferson Street. Pamplona, a local haunt reminiscent of Hemingway’s favorite bistro in Spain, is ideal for sipping a craft cocktail and sharing a few creative tapas—the quail eggs are a must. Afterward, walk over to the Acadiana Center for the Arts, an intimate space with various exhibits.

Front view of the restored 1840s Maison Madeline.

Recently featured in Southern Living magazine, Maison Madeleine is a lovely bed and breakfast on the shores of Lake Martin. The 1840s cottage was restored to its original grandeur by owner Madeleine Cenac. Onsite activities like kayaking and cooking classes are an enticing excuse never to leave the property.