Zydeco Breakfast @ Buck & Johnny's
St. Martin Parish is, in some ways, the Louisiana of Louisiana: it's especially French; the food and drink are outstanding; it's even more loaded with history than most of the state; and it's an especially heavenly corner of the Sportsman's Paradise. It’s still a little off the beaten path, but a vibrant tourism industry has emerged. This corner of Cajun country is well on its way to becoming one of the great playgrounds of a state that takes its leisure seriously. St. Martin offers entertainment for everyone: couples seeking a romantic getaway will find as much to do as families who need to keep kids entertained.
Once you get into town, stop for dinner at the St. John Restaurant in St. Martinville. Right on Bayou Teche, St. John offers steakhouse fare as well as a full slate of Louisiana favorites. Rest up that evening, because Saturdays in St. Martin Parish are stuffed with opportunities for fun. For Saturday breakfast, head to Breaux Bridge's Buck & Johnny’s for their Zydeco Breakfast from 8 am till 11:30 am. Over breakfast, you can indulge in the great Louisiana pastime of planning other meals as you eat: the area is home to many family-oriented Cajun restaurants, including local favorites Crawfish Town USA and Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant in Henderson and Myran’s Maison de Manger and The Little BIG Cup in Arnaudville. There’s live music at Whiskey River at 4 pm Sunday and Atchafalaya Club on Saturday and Sunday nights. Once you get full, stroll through the great antique doors that dot downtown Breaux Bridge or swing out to Arnaudville to tour Bayou Teche Brewing, which offers both great brews and Cajun-themed events.
For an outdoorsy trip, check out Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina airboat tours and Mequet Swamp Tours: let an expert guide bring you out on a boat and show you the landscape we all associate with Louisiana but rarely get to see. These wetlands are some of America's most interesting, important, and vulnerable habitats; and to explore them close up with someone who knows how to explain how they work and what to look for is to develop a new appreciation for Louisiana's singular natural beauty. Be sure not to miss Lake Martin: take in a boat tour from a local operator, or stop by the Cypress Island Preserve, home to a rookery that provides a seasonal nesting ground for thousands of native and migratory birds. Also, there are dinosaurs. Henderson is home to Prehistoric Park, which offers twelve acres of outdoor adventure space complete with steel and fiberglass replica dinosaurs, including some animatronic displays that move and roar. Next door, enjoy Cajun Tracks, a family-friendly arcade with all the games and prizes a kid (or adult) could want. Cajun Palms RV Resort is right nearby, if you prefer to sleep in the shadow of the lizards. There are also ample opportunities to take in a little more recent history, since the downtown areas of both Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville have been designated National Historic Places, and both lend themselves easily to walking tours.
For information on accommodations, events, and even more attractions, visit St. Martin Parish online at cajuncountry.org.