CC Adcock - musician, songwriter and native son of Lafayette shares some local tips for cruising and touring the area during your stay.
* 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 gumbo! If you wanna get a nap in before Jimmie Vaughan at Downtown Alive!, then you can roll back to Lafayette after lunch.
Speaking of birds, if you'd like to tool around further, head south from Abbeville on Highway 82 and you will be on a road that takes you through 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 all 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 alligators in the canals beside the road (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 Rusty & Doug Kershaw. The Regatta Restaurant on the lake there is also a very good out on the water. 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 more scenic route takes an hour).
Another equally as lovely alternate trip from Abbeville, is after lunch, take Highway 14 East on a short trip through Erath to the picturesque shrimping village of Delcambre. 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 travel back in time, on a one-way lane. And make sure to take the tour of the Tobasco factory - it's really cool! After Avery Island, it's backtracking toward New Iberia and, depending on time and your schedule, onto Lafayette via Highway 90. New Iberia is a historic old town on the Bayou Teche. Pop in and take a drag down Main Street where there is nostalgic old buildings and movie theatres and a beautiful antebellum home called “Shadows on the Teche” (which you may want to 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, Rodrigue, are New Iberia's most famous sons.
If from Avery Island you want to keep riding with the sunset, take Highways 83 and 319 to Cypremort Point (our Cajun Riviera) where you will see fishing camps ranging from very basic to very extravagant, as well as beaucoup 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 interstate Highway 90 and head north back to the "Hub City" of Lafayette (Cypress Bayou Casino to Lafayette via 90 is 50 mins).