Instead of planning a vacation to Florida or the West Coast, consider a trip to one of the top coastal towns in Louisiana, home to some tucked away and incredible beaches. These sandy and salty retreats are beautiful in their own right and are often less crowded than other touristy beaches on the Gulf.
The Pelican State has 397 miles (7,721 mi) of shoreline, but unlike many other coastal states, most of its beaches do not have developed towns. This marshy region is known for its swamps, flooding, and hurricanes, but a couple of communities boast a seaside feel by the Gulf of Mexico.
Bigger cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge are only a couple of hours by car to the southernmost part of the coast. So even living in a full-metro area gives residents proximity to the shore. People considering moving to southern Louisiana can rake in all the benefits of being close to cities, ocean waters, and thick beautiful bayous. There are several closest communities that have quick access to the water.
Here’s a look at the top beach towns in Louisiana to live and visit, in no particular order:
Grand Isle, LA
Grand Isle is the only inhabited barrier island in Louisiana, and it’s a great place to unwind. Wildlife lovers might like the chance to fish, watch butterflies and birds, crab, or go crabbing, while ocean lovers indulge in Grand Isle’s white sand beaches and the sound of the Gulf surf.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the island has 1,005 residents, making it a peaceful and relaxing location for seniors. Due to its location close to New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge, this coastal getaway is a favorite weekend destination for many Louisianans.
The downtown area offers various alternatives, from fast food to well-regarded seafood restaurants. Most vacation rentals and hotels have private beach access, and the lone public beach is found at Grand Isle State Park on the island’s eastern side.
While visiting Grand Isle State Park’s sandy shores, make a pit stop at the observation tower for breathtaking views of the seaside below. The park contains a looping hiking track, and the beach is perfect for swimming since it has warm water and a gentle slope. People often have picnics and use the pavilions near the 400-foot fishing pier, where they can cast their lines and try to catch dinner.
Nature lovers will think they’ve found heaven in Cameron, a picturesque fishing village. The community can be found along the Creole Nature Trail, a 180-mile road that passes through some of the most beautiful and exciting parts of Louisiana.
If you need to get away from it all for a while, go no further than this sleepy seaside hamlet. This small town of 315 people (as of the 2020 Census) may appeal to remote workers and retirees who want to escape the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.
Because of its proximity to Houston, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge, some Texans and native Louisianans find this town perfect for a day trip. While there are no chain stores or major retailers in Cameron, it’s home to restaurants where you can get some fantastic food, including simple po’boy sandwiches.
The most popular place to stay in the region is at Holly Beach, where you may pitch a tent or, if you’re planning on staying for a while, rent an RV or small house along the shore. Relax on the beach, look for seashells, or take in the breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Crabbers and sunbathers from all around go to Holly Beach. As this is a less prominent part of Louisiana, you won’t find many tourists, but you will find miles of beautiful brown sand beaches.
New Orleans, LA
Most people picture Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and gator-filled bayou excursions when they think of New Orleans. But this big city has a lot of beaches because of its estuary, which is 629 square miles of salty water in Lake Pontchartrain, one of the country’s largest interior saltwater lakes.
New Orleans, the largest city in Louisiana, was established in 1718 and was home to an estimated 383,997 people as of the 2020 U.S. census. Travelers from all over the world come to the “Big Easy” to enjoy the city’s famous Cajun food, a mixed bag of cultures, and a relaxed atmosphere.
New Orleans is an excellent option for anyone looking to move to a vibrant city since it offers the advantages of both city life and has plenty of access to the Gulf.
Grand Isle, Holly Beach, Cypremort Point Beach, and even Biloxi, Mississippi, can all be reached from New Orleans within three hours. Most notably, Lake Pontchartrain is surrounded by several beautiful sandy beaches perfect for a day of sun and saltwater exploration.
Some of the best sands in the area include Northshore Beach, Olimpic Beach, Fontainebleau Beach, Ponchartrain Beach, and Lincoln Beach. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water, making it easy to travel between beaches on opposite sides of the lake.
Stop by one of these excellent Louisiana towns or the coastal capital city after you’ve filled the state’s renowned bayous. Experience the sand and sun without the hassle of tourists at one of these local favorites.