For a state known for Mardi Gras revelry, a Louisiana vacation surprises visitors with its mellow charms. Near Baton Rouge, the River Road follows the Mississippi through a vanished era of grand sugar plantations, many open for tours. Take a walking excursion through the French Quarter, the historic heart of New Orleans, where mazes of cobblestone streets front centuries-old buildings. The low-lying Atchafalaya Basin sprawls a width of more than 150 miles, a remarkable world of swamp and bayou. Louisiana campgrounds near Lafayette let you celebrate local Cajun culture in food, dance and attractions like Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park.