Road Trip in Louisiana
A trip through Louisiana can be very diverse, and allow you to experience everything from swamps to cities. Public transportation is available, but if you want to see everything the Pelican State has to offer, you'll have to hop in the car.
If your road trip takes you through the bayou, Bourbon Street, or anywhere else in Louisiana, having some knowledge of the rules of the road there—and where those streets can take you—could be a helpful aspect of your journey.
Major Louisiana Roadways
To get around the state swiftly, there are several major highways that will get you where you want to go.
- Interstate 10—The state's longest highway, it services most of Louisiana's major cities, including Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. Running primarily east-west, with a small southern dip around Lake Pontchartrain to reach New Orleans, the highway transverses the entire state, from the Texas state line at Orange, TX to the Mississippi state line at Slidell, MS.
- Interstate 49—The state's primary north-south route, I-49 begins at the Arkansas state line in the north, before progressing through Shreveport further south and finally ending its route in Lafayette. In between, it also connects to roads leading to Alexandria.
- Interstate 20—This LA highway cuts east-west across the state's entire northern portion. Beginning in the east at the Texas state line near Greenwood, LA, the highway travels through Shreveport, and offers connections to head toward several other Louisiana cities, before exiting the state at the Mississippi state line, near Vicksburg, MS.
- Interstate 12—Shorter than many other roads on this list, I-12 still plays an important part in the LA roadway system, connecting the city of Slidell in the east to Baton Rouge in the west, where it terminates after merging with Interstate 10. In between, drivers can exit at a number of smaller Louisiana cities.
- Interstate 55—Running north-south, this highway begins on the Mississippi state line near Kentwood before connecting to Interstate 10 in LaPlace, LA, which is just a few miles west of New Orleans. In between it offers connections to other major highways, such as Interstate 12.
Louisiana Traffic Laws
Just like every other state in the nation, Louisiana writes and enforces its own rules of the road. Understanding the differences will likely be helpful on a road trip through LA.
Louisiana Speed Limits
Speed limits vary depending on location, but generally, the following Louisiana streets will adhere to these speeds:
- Interstate highways—70 MPH.
- Multi-line divided highways—65 MPH.
- Other major roads (excluding school, residential, and business zones)—55 MPH.
Seatbelts & Car Seats
In Louisiana, it is mandatory for all passengers—including the driver—to wear a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle.
Car seat laws for children are as follows:
- Children who EITHER—
- Are 6 years old or younger
- Weigh less than 60 lbs.
- Are 6 years old or younger
- Any child weighing under 20 lbs. must be in a rear-facing, federally-approved car seat.
- Children 1 up to 4 years old, who weigh at least 20 lbs. but under 40 lbs., must be in a forward-facing, federally-approved car seat.
- Children 4 up to 6 years old, who weigh at least 40 lbs. but under 60 lbs., must sit in a booster seat with restraints.
Once a child is 6 years old or over and weighs over 60 lbs. they must use a booster seat, he or she must wear a lap shoulder belt.
Motorcycle Laws in LA
Motorcycles are allowed the right to a full traffic lane in Louisiana. If you're driving behind one, you should allow a following distance of at least 2 seconds.
All motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear helmets in Louisiana. For more tips on staying safe on your LA road trip, check out our following guides:
A state as varied as Louisiana has plenty to offer in terms of unique destinations. Whether big cities, great music, and great food is your thing, or you prefer to get away from it all, Louisiana has something for you.
It's certainly not difficult to find fun in the Big Easy. The city is notorious for its amazing food, incredible music scene, and practically non-stop nightlife—most of which is anchored in the French Quarter.
History lovers will also have plenty to see in this culturally dynamic city. Aside from a number of historical sites—and historical tours—available in New Orleans, visitors can explore the unique cemeteries filled with beautiful mausoleums (since the city is built on swamp land), or go on a number of different New Orleans ghost tours.
There are also parks to enjoy, along with Jackson Square, where street vendors, musicians, and performers converge to offer a distinctive mixture of art, food, and music.
All of this goes without mentioning what is perhaps the nation's number one party that the city hosts every February: Mardi Gras.
The state's capital city, Baton Rouge is home to a number of different museums featuring not only art but also exhibits on the origins of Louisiana and life for its residents. Louisiana State University—and its football stadium—are also in town, along with parks and nature centers. History lovers can check out both the current state capitol building and the beautiful old capitol, built in 1847.
Located along the Vermilion River, the city is home to parks, museums, and performing arts centers, often featuring Cajun musicians. Visitors can check out the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, go on a food tour to taste the delicious mixture of flavors unique to Louisiana cooking, or stroll through downtown to do some shopping.
Bayou Swamp Tours
If you love nature, don't mind mosquitos, and prefer getting down and dirty, there are a number of Louisiana companies offering tours of the state's famous swamps, where you can ride on an airboat, see a whole new side of the state, and maybe even meet an alligator.
New Orleans was home to a number of antebellum-era plantations. While a symbol of a difficult time in the nation's history, many of the estates still stand, and the expansive grounds are kept up and beautiful. Many companies in Louisiana offer tours of individual or groups of these plantations—a perfect trip idea for a traveler who loves history or nature.