Road trip ideas: Day-long adventures on one tank of gas

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Looking for a getaway during the long, hot summer days? Here are eight road trips that use just one tank of gas from the greater Baton Rouge area.

Downtown Natchitoches


Louisiana's oldest city is also one of its most interesting to visit.

Natchitoches, the original French colony in Louisiana, is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. 

Be sure to pick up a meat pie to fuel the adventure, as there is plenty to see in the historic area.

The Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District is comprised of 33 blocks of historical buildings dating back to the late 1700s. 

The drive time is about three and a half hours north on Interstate 49.

A pelican windsurfs along side a surfer in Grand Isle

Grand Isle

A trip south leads to Grand Isle, located along the Gulf of Mexico.

The area is known for its beach, state park, trails, campsites, fishing, and birding.

The drive time is two and a half hours south on Hwy. 1.

Biloxi Lighthouse • Biloxi, Mississippi • This cast-iron beacon on the Mississippi Sound of the Gulf of Mexico has stood strong through storms for more than 170 years and has come to represent the area’s resilience. “It’s a tough little tower,” Shelton-Roberts says. “That little light has survived so many hurricanes, it’s amazing.” Climbers reach the top of the 65-foot tower by climbing a spiral staircase and then an eight-rung ladder through a trap door.

Biloxi, Mississippi

Whether beach-bound or feeling lucky, Biloxi has something for everyone. 

Biloxi is home to several casino resorts and outdoor activities.

Located along the Mississippi Coast, the city features many cultural attractions, such as the 64-foot Biloxi Lighthouse.

The drive time is around two hours east on Interstate 10.

Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Just across the border of Louisiana in Texas is Beaumont. 

The southeastern Texas city is home to the Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown Museum, Texas Energy Museum, and Art Museum of Southeast Texas. 

Cattail Marsh is a popular spot for birdwatchers.

The drive time is over three hours west on Interstate 10.

First settled by the French, Natchez is the oldest city established along the Mississippi River.

Natchez, Mississippi

Historic Natchez is nestled on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. 

Natchez has a wealth of historic sites, museums, outdoor recreation, and cultural offerings.

Among the attractions is the Delta Music Museum, which celebrates the pioneers of rock and blues from the delta area.

The drive time is about two hours north on U.S. 61.

With nearly 6,500 acres of protected land, 28 miles of paved and enhanced trails and almost three miles of beachfront, Gulf State Park is one of those state parks that feels like it could easily be a national park instead.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

This one might be a stretch for your gas tank, depending on the vehicle you drive. Nonetheless, a trip to Alabama's coast is worth consideration.

Those feeling extra adventurous could tack on a few additional miles and cross the Florida line into the Pensacola area, renowned for its emerald beaches.

Gulf Shores and neighboring Orange Beach offer "miles of pristine white quartz sand washed by blue-green Gulf waters," according to the beaches' website.

The drive time is four hours east on Interstate 10.

Homochitto National Forest

The Homochitto National Forest is a U.S. National Forest located in southwestern Mississippi.

At nearly 192,000 acres, the forest includes many creeks and trails.

The Clear Springs Recreational Area consists of a man-made lake, campground, picnic grounds, swim area, and two hiking trails.

The drive time is just over two hours north on U.S. 61.

Nearly 200 runners and cyclists participated in the 9th annual Wild Azalea Trail Challenge held in the Evangeline Ranger District of the Kisatchie National Forest Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. The Wild Azalea Trail is the longest continuous trail in Louisiana at 26 miles. Runners and cyclists participated in one of five categories: 13.1 miles, 27 miles or 50 miles for runners and 27 or 50 miles for cyclists.

Kisatchie National Forest

The only national forest in Louisiana is located in the forested hills of the state's central and northern parishes. 

Kisatchie includes more than 600,000 acres of outdoor adventures. The forest offers more than 40 developed recreation sites and more than 100 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

The drive time is three hours north on Interstate 49.