Southern Louisiana is hot and humid year-round, and rain falls throughout the year. New Orleans has a subtropical climate with temperatures hovering around 0 (C) in winter and the 30s in the summer.Further north in Shreveport, winters are colder with about five weeks of freezing or below-freezing temperatures, and ice and sleet storms are a possibility. Summer temperatures are over 35 degrees Celsius for about a month with very high humidity, sometimes exceeding 90 per cent.The hurricane season is June through November. The northwestern corner of the state is in tornado alley, and the peak tornado season is April.
When to fly to Louisiana
The Gulf Coast is busiest April to September, but remains warm and inviting year-round.
In winter, Christmas, New Year, Carnival, and Mardi Gras keep New Orleans jam-packed. Carnival begins January 6 and continues until midnight of Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is the final blowout on Fat Tuesday. Travellers looking for flights to Louisiana during Mardi Gras need to plan ahead and book Louisiana flights and hotel accommodations in advance. Prices are likely to increase during the peak travel season.
Natchitoches is busiest in December for its City of Light Festival.
If you like heat and humidity, it's likely you'll find cheap flights to Louisiana during the summer months. Along the Gulf Coast, fishing is popular during the off season, and the fall is a good time to visit Louisiana.
Getting around Louisiana
Regional airports serve the state, there is train service via New Orleans and Lafayette, and buses connect the larger and smaller towns. Two major highways cross the state and another runs north-south. Driving is a great way to see the state, especially regions like Cajun country and northern Louisiana.
For city destinations, walking is usually the best way to see the sights. New Orleans’ attractions, accommodations, and events are within walking distance of each other. Of course, at least one mule-drawn carriage ride would be fun. There is also a public transportation system with the RTA buses, streetcars and trolleys, and the riverboats. In fact, once you have arrived in New Orleans, not only do you not need a car, parking can be expensive and hard to come by.
Baton Rouge has local bus service. The best way to explore Natchitoches, setting for the film Steel Magnolias, is on foot, but getting around Lafayette requires either a car or taxis. Shreveport has taxis, buses, and shuttles.
Louisiana insider information
- Though not the state’s capital, the most populous and popular destination in Louisiana is New Orleans. The city is once again back on a vacationer's list after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. A popular outing from the city is on one of the numerous swamp tours. Weaving their boats in and out of cypress trees and weeping willows, the tour guides entice the gators close to the boat with offerings of marshmallows.
- Baton Rouge is the capital of the state and the fastest growing city in the South. The city is very flat, so if you want to get a good view of it, you need to head upwards. Visit the Louisiana State Capitol. 137m tall, with 34 floors, it is the tallest capitol building in the US. From the observation deck you get an excellent view of the city.
- Gibsland is home to the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, on the site where the infamous gangster duo were shot dead. “Highlights” of the museum include one of Clyde’s shotguns, a tire that he stole and gave to an old man and the V8 Ford, riddled with bullet holes, that was used in the film.
- The old town of Natchitoches has been designated a national historic landmark. This is the original French settlement in Louisiana, and much of it is well preserved. The town was also the location of the film Steel Magnolias. The home which appeared in the film is now a B&B on Jefferson Street , the Steel Magnolia House. Stay in Shelby’s room for $150 a night.
- The Kisatchie National Forest, in the Crossroads region of Louisiana, is a spectacular 800,000-acre park. Popular with hikers, the area is covered by pine and cypress trees. There is an abundance of wildlife to be spotted: armadillos, raccoons, alligators, bears, possums and deer.