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Ecotourism in Vermilion Parish

Vermilion Parish has a strong reputation – it’s known as “the most Cajun place on Earth.” This is a lot to say about a small parish in coastal Louisiana, but it couldn’t be more true!

Located along the Gulf Coast of south central Louisiana, the parish is considered a true sportsman’s paradise. The land is made up of winding bayous, coastal waterways, agricultural structures and a welcoming hospitality from the locals. For over 150 years, the parish has continued to grow and develop and has finally reached new heights. What has brought much of the recognition to Vermilion Parish? In a word - Ecotourism.

What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism has different meanings for different people. Many people believe that it’s simply traveling to natural, undisturbed areas, instead of traveling to places of mass tourism - in other words choosing a state park over Disney World. While this is true to some extent, ecotourism is more complex than that. Ecotourism also means that the area is directly benefited by those who travel to it. There are various ways to support a habitat, such as by bringing in revenue and awareness, planting trees, educating the community and cleaning up the land.

Vermilion Parish is a scenic area, which has a multicultural blend of cuisine, fine dining and interesting people. Being near the coast, there are plenty of places to fish, and the restaurants serve up alligator, oysters, shrimp and crawfish. The parish thrives off ecotourism, and with the dynamic blend of activities in the parish, there are many ways to support the local economy.

Farmers Markets and Festivals
This summer, there are a handful of farmers markets, such as the Abbeville’s Farmers Market, Kaplan Farmers Market and the Erath's Farmers Market. Buying fresh produce supports the local farmers and brings revenue to Vermilion Parish. There are also several family-friendly festivals going on in the parish such as Stir the Pot: Louisiana Seafood Cook-off, the Giant Omelette Celebration and the Annual Erath 4th of July Celebration.

Bird Watching and Scenic Byways
If you enjoy a more intimate visit to the parish, be sure to check out the opportunities to bird watch. Vermilion Parish is one of the best spots along America’s Wetland Birding Trail, home to some of the most diverse bird species in the country. If you bring along your binoculars to watch the birds, be sure to take a drive through the scenic byways. You’ll see farms, marshes, native birds, nutria and alligators.

There are several ways to travel through Vermilion Parish, such as by starting at the northern end of the parish in the Village of Maurice. The southern part of Hwy. 82 will take you through the town of Abbeville to Pecan Island. This beautiful roadway will expose you to the most extensive marshlands in the country. Or, you can stay along Highway 14 and drive through the towns of Delcambre, Erath, Kaplan and Gueydan, home to the Annual Gueydan Duck Festival.

Whether you’re coming from northern Louisiana or the opposite end of the country, let your visit to Louisiana make a difference. Visiting Vermilion Parish, indulging in the Cajun foods, taking part in the festivals and becoming one with nature are all ways to enjoy this wonderful hidden gem along Louisiana's coast.

Image: flickr.com

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