Southern Louisiana is hot and humid year-round, and rain falls throughout the year. New Orleans has a subtropical climate with temperatures in the low single digits (Celsius) 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 more than 35 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.
Natchitoches is busiest in December for its City of Light Festival.
If you like heat and humidity, visit New Orleans in July and August. Along the Gulf Coast, fishing is popular during the off season, and the autumn is a good time to visit Louisiana.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Louisiana
Getting around Louisiana
New Orleans has a great public bus system and the oldest streetcar service in the country, which has been designated a National Historic Monument. The buses are the cheapest way to get around, but they can be slow. Vintage St Charles streetcars can take you uptown while the Riverfront streetcar runs along the Mississippi River for two miles. Make sure you have exact change for the buses and streetcars. You can also get VisiTour passes that offer one to three days of unlimited rides on the streetcars and buses. The best way to get around at night is by hailing or calling for a cab. There are plenty of taxis to be found, and a metered ride won’t cost you much. If you want to take a tour of New Orleans, try hiring a cab to take you and up to four of your friends around the city. Head out on the water aboard the Canal Street Ferry for a great view of New Orleans’ skyline. The ferry is free for pedestrians and will take you out to suburban Algiers. It’s easy to drive in the city, but parking is another story.
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 the tourist trail 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. At 137 metres (450ft), 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.