* Lunch in Abbeville - 2-3 hours/lunchtime
* Lunch in Abbeville/wetlands tour/Lake Arthur - Several hours/afternoon
* Rip Van Winkle/Avery Island gardens - Several hours/afternoon
* Any route + casino - As long as it takes to loose all your $
Wind your way south on Highway 167 (which is the main drag of Johnston St. in Lafayette). Notice how the skies and clouds get taller over the rice fields and cattle grazing marshes, as you head towards the Gulf. First stop is Abbeville, home of famed musician Bobby Charles who penned "See You Later Alligator" and iconic tunes for Fats Domino and so many others. Explore downtown with its beautiful church, square, courthouse, and absolutely fantastic seafood restaurants and oyster bars (Dupuy’s, Black's, Shucks, and The River Front --- all four are downtown and are exceptional). October is prime time for some delicious salty oysters and a starter of duck & andouille (pronounced ahn-doo-ee... a prairie Cajun smoked pork sausage) gumbo! If you wanna get a nap in before Jimmie Vaughan!!! at Downtown Alive, then you can roll back to Lafayette after lunch... Of course making sure to stop in at the world famous Maurice City Bar in the speed trap hamlet of Maurice (midway back down 167 between Lafayette & Abbeville).
If you'd like to tool around further after lunch, head south from Abbeville on Highway 82 and you will be on a road that takes you through scenic marsh and wetlands that are the fall and winter home for the largest population of waterfowl in North America. This is where we hunt our ducks and geese, and you will see hunting camps and large flocks of birds and probably some gators sunning themselves on the blacktop along the route. You may want to stop and visit the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge between Pecan Island and Grand Chenier. If you get out the car, be sure to keep an eye out for gators in the canals and beside the road (though they're usually pretty chill). At Oak Grove head north on Highway 27 through more wildlife refuges, and then turn east on Highway 14 which will eventually take you through Lake Arthur, the home of famed Cajun musicians Rusty & Doug Kershaw. The Regatta Restaurant on the lake there is also a very good and their deck bar out on the water is a nice place to wet one's afternoon whistle. From Lake Arthur you can either head north and take I-10 east back to Lafayette (45 mins) or head back east down Highway 14 through Gueydan (the “Duck Capitol” of the world), and back to Abbeville, then North to Lafayette (this route takes about an hour).
Another equally as lovely alternate afternoon trip from Abbeville, is after lunch, take Highway 14 East on a short trip through Erath to the picturesque shrimping village of Delcambre. You can see all the boats parked from the road. Just over the bridge in Delcambre take Highway 675 that leads to the gates of the Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island. These gardens showcase one of Acadiana's most mystical and romantic spots, and it has a nice café that serves lunch only. Next, it's back to Highway 14 and nearly straight onto Parish Rd 706 (in La. we have parishes instead of counties). At Highway 329 go south to Avery Island, which is owned by the McIlheney family of Tabasco fame. The beautiful and spacious Jungle Gardens are located here, and are perfect for stretching out, catching the sun and walking around/picnicing. You can also put-put around all the gardens, and seemingly travel back in time, on a little one-way lane. And make sure to take the tour of the Tabasco factory if you have time - it's really cool! After Avery Island, it's backtracking toward New Iberia and, depending on time and your schedule, north to Lafayette via Highway 90. New Iberia is a historic old town on the Bayou Teche. Pop in and take a drag down historic Main St. where there are nostalgic old buildings and movie theatres and a beautiful antebellum home called “Shadows on the Teche” (which you may want to also stop and tour). New Iberia is where all the Coco Robicheaux detective novels are set. Author James Lee Burke and recently deceased "Blue Dog" artist, George Rodrigue, are New Iberia's most famous sons.
OR... If from Avery Island you want to keep riding take Highways 83 and 319 to Cypremort Point (the Cajun Riviera). There you will see fishing camps ranging from very basic to very extravagant, as well as "beaucoup" (lotsa) boats. "The Point" is a great place to catch the sunset. Continue on Highway 83 to the Cypress Bayou Casino at Charenton and enjoy full gaming, shows and superb dining at its Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse. On a daytime sight-seeing trip, it's nice to wind back to Lafayette through the sugar cane fields and bayous surrounding Jeanerette, Loreauville, New Iberia, and St. Martinville. Or just hop back onto the 4-lane Highway 90 and head north back to the "Hub City" of Lafayette (Cypress Bayou Casino to Lafayette via 90 is 50 mins).
Laissez les bon temps roulez (let the good times roll)!