New Orleans has a jam-packed fall festival schedule with dozens of can’t-miss events within the city limits. However, the rest of Louisiana offers several fall festivals worth day-tripping to. There’s Andouille Fest in Laplace, Rougarou Fest in Houma, and Festival of the Bonfires in Lutcher, all just a short road trip away, so you can start and end your day in New Orleans. Dive into Louisiana’s unique culture with a day trip to one of the festivals below (distances were calculated from downtown New Orleans). Pack your snacks and hit the road!
When: September 23-24
Where: Cassidy Park, Bogalusa, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 68 miles
Head north this September for Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival at Cassidy Park in Bogalusa, LA. This Friday and Saturday festival will feature music from acts like Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Kenny Neal, and Chapel Hart. Enjoy mouth-watering food, a 5K run, and the option to camp during the festival dates.
When: October 14-16
Where: St. John Community Center, Laplace, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 28 miles
St. John the Baptist Parish’s Andouille Fest returns this October to LaPlace, LA. Here you’ll find all the hallmarks of a Louisiana festival: great food, great music, arts and crafts, and more, including a second line parade and a five- and two-mile run. Don’t miss your chance to see Partners-N-Crime, Sean Ardoin, Amanda Shaw, and more in concert, plus all the cuisine centered around the festival’s namesake.
When: October 15-16
Where: Water Street, Madisonville, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 38 miles
Boat enthusiasts won’t want to miss this one; the Wooden Boat Festival returns for its 31st year this October. On the banks of the Tchefuncte River, enjoy musical performances, arts and crafts, children’s activities, hundreds of classic, spectator, and wooden boats, and the Quick 'n Dirty Boat Building Contest and Parade. Register in advance if you and a team of four-to-six friends would like to participate in the boat building contest.
When: October 21-23
Where: 132 Library Dr., Houma, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 57 miles
Part werewolf, part man, part mythical creature: the beloved Rougarou is a monster from Cajun folklore, so naturally there’s a festival about it. Rougarou Fest is a free family-friendly festival with a spooky flair showcasing live music, cultural activities, Cajun food, and much more. The festival strives to become Zero Waste, and all proceeds go to the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a nonprofit organization that is revolutionizing how we think, teach, and learn about Louisiana’s disappearing coast. Experience a wide array of activities, including the Krewe Ga Rou Parade, the Atchafalaya Narrative Stage, the costume contest, and the nutria pardoning, where Beignet lives to see another day.
When: October 27-November 6
Where: Lamar Dixon Expo Center, Gonzales, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 58 miles
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair is a festival spanning 12 days this fall, complete with amusement rides, live music, variety acts, a goat and lamb show, a Lego Extravaganza, fair food, and more. It’s fun for the whole family at the State Fair.
When: October 28-30
Where: 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 61 miles
Celebrating Louisiana’s French heritage and Cajun bayou, French Food Festival takes place south of New Orleans in Larose, LA. Enjoy live music, dancing, and an incredible array of local specialty dishes.
When: November 5-6
Where: S Magdalen Square, Abbeville, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 149 miles
Okay, okay, so perhaps this is more than a day trip for most people, but you can’t miss your chance to see the creation of a 5000+ egg omelette with 15 pounds of Louisiana crawfish tails and 50 pounds of butter. And that’s not all—there’s additional food, live French-Cajun music, an egg cracking competition, arts and crafts, an antique car show, and a kid-sized giant omelette with 600 eggs. Allons-y!
When: November 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 25-27; December 3-4, 10-11
Where: 46468 River Rd., Hammond, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 58 miles
There’s so much to see and do at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival. Each weekend has a different theme: Romance & Masquerade, Viking, Celtic, Myths & Magic, Pirate, and Fireworks Finale. Dress accordingly in costume or come in plain clothes and enjoy a variety of performances, plus food, shopping, and special tastings, including tea, whisky, rum, mead, beer, and wine tastings.
When: December 9-11
Where: Lutcher Recreational Park, Lutcher, LA
Distance from New Orleans: 46 miles
There’s a tradition out in the River Parishes that bonfires must be lit to guide Papa Noël (Santa Claus) along his journey on Christmas Eve. Get a taste of the tradition during Festival of the Bonfires in early December. Bonfires will be lit on Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoy live music, delicious food, the gumbo cookoff, a 5K, a car show, a cookie and gingerbread contest, fireworks, and all the magic of the holiday season at this festival.
For a full list of fall festivals in Louisiana, see here.