As one of the largest cities in the United States, Houston in Texas is a bustling hub of people, traffic, industry, and commerce. As the location of NASA and the Mission Control Center, the city has become synonymous with the US's space program. While it may appear superficially totally modern, the city does have a quaint and characterful Downtown Historic District which is a little more laid back and you can sit out on the sidewalk to enjoy a coffee and pastry at one of many small cafes – if you can tolerate the humidity and the smog.
Houston's climate, with an average of ninety percent humidity and a serious air pollution problem, is not one of the most comfortable to be outdoors in. Thankfully, most places you'll want to visit in Houston, like the NASA Johnson Space Center, the Downtown Aquarium and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, are all air-conditioned. Sometimes it's good to have some time outdoors without working up a sweat or breathing in toxic fumes though. If you have a few days free and want to escape the city, get your rig ready to roll and make a weekend RV road trip from Houston to New Orleans.
When you've only got a couple of days or three at most for your road trip, the best thing to do is take the fastest route. Leave Houston on the I 10 eastbound and if you don't stop on the way, you could be in New Orleans in under six hours. You'd be missing out though as there are some great places to stop off at on route. Forget about the humdrum of Houston by going hiking at the Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands in Beaumont, then step back in time at a reconstructed Cajun village before camping overnight in an idyllic campground on the shores of Lake Fausse Point. Wake up the next morning to the sound of bullfrogs on the bayou and you'll know you've left Houston well and truly behind.
One of the best places to pitch up camp on your road trip from Houston to New Orleans is the Lake Fausse Point State Park. It's a world away from a city environment with its stunning lakeside campground and although it is slightly off route, it's worth making those few miles of diversion for.
Leave the I10 just east of Pont Des Mouton and head for Catahoula on the LA 352 and you'll almost be there. The state park has a campground with just under fifty campsites for RVs with varying levels of amenities. Some have full hook-ups but the best are the waterfront ones which have just electricity and water hook-ups fitted. You won't miss having a sewer hook-up when you see the view that compensates for the lack of convenience. They're incredible.
There's so much to do at the Lake Fausse Point State Park, you'll probably wish your weekend RV road trip from Houston to New Orleans could last a month rather than a couple of days. Go hiking down one or more of the three trails in the park, get out on the water in a canoe – there's even a canoe trail to follow – or if you haven't got a canoe, you can rent a Jon boat directly from the park to go sailing around the lake.
It's an other-worldly location to navigate, with huge trees jutting out of the water and spooky mangrove swamps to cruise down that will have you forgetting cities like Houston have even been built. Make sure you take your fishing tackle or go ready because you'll want to either hook a big catfish or haul out a bucketful of crawfish to cook up for dinner.
Visit the LARC's Acadian Village in Lafayette and you'll be able to discover firsthand how people lived when they first came to Louisiana in the early nineteenth century. The village is privately owned and run by a non-profit organization. Located on Greenleaf Drive, it opens every day, apart from Sundays or major holidays, from ten until four.
Explore the village and you'll find some amazing buildings that, like mini living museums, contain all the elements of an original Acadian settlement. Watch a blacksmith at work in his forge, a weaver at work on an original loom almost one-hundred and fifty years old, and then stop off at the Doctor's Museum for a dose of medicine 1800s style.
It's all a fascinating look into a bygone age that hasn't been forgotten. From the lunch pails exhibited in the schoolroom to the wood carvings folks made in their free time to the handcrafted four-poster beds they slept in. The village is a testimony to the strength of the Acadian people who were deported from their homes during the war with the British way back in historic times.
Set out on your RV road trip from Houston to New Orleans and after just a one and a quarter hour's drive along the I 10, you'll be able to encounter a completely different world. The Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands and Boardwalk are an easy-to-reach escape back to nature. Located off the I10 along Babe Zaharias Drive in the suburbs of Beaumont, the marshlands cover more than nine-hundred acres of terrains that are accessible from six in the morning until nine in the evening for outdoor recreational activities.
The Cattail Marsh Wetlands are a popular place for bird spotting and bird photography as there have been more than two hundred and fifty different species spotted there. If you just want to take a stroll, go cycling or horse riding, you can do that too as the wildlife refuge has several miles of gravel roadways winding through the wetlands for just that purpose.
If the weather is warm, don't be tempted to dive in for a swim. There are some pretty big alligators inhabiting the marshlands and while they're awesome from a distance, they're not something you'd want to meet face to face.
New Orleans in comparison to Houston has a completely different atmosphere. The colorful buildings of Bourbon Street and the plaza-like Lafayette Square make it seem more like a city in Cuba than North America. New Orleans is steeped in history, has amazing nightlife and hosts one of the most famous street parties in the world, Mardi Gras. If your music tastes are more refined than the blare of a carnival atmosphere, you won't want to miss going to the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
After you've had a couple of bowls of gumbo or jambalaya accompanied by some good music, you might not feel like heading back to Houston at all. But as with all good things, including road trips, they have to come to end sometime. That doesn't mean you can't do it again though or even repeat as often as you want. New Orleans will still be there next year and the year after that.