We spent nearly 4 years stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana, where you either have to get creative or be willing to drive for entertainment. Forty-five minutes south of Lafayette, Avery Island was nearly a 3-hour drive from our house on-post, but we couldn’t wait to visit.
Growing up in the south, Tobasco sauce was on nearly every dinner table we ate at. A chance to visit the only place in the world where it is made was the main draw to Avery Island for us, but little did we know that there is so much more to this island than just the factory. Here are 3 reasons you should make the trip to Avery Island!
You can’t make a visit to Avery Island without a tour of the Tobasco Factory. You’ll learn the history of Tobasco Sauce and the McIlhenny family. Then you’ll see, first-hand, the intricate process used to make the famous hot sauce. You’ll also learn a little about the island and even get a peek of what it’s like inside a salt mine.
After your tour, stop for a look around the Country Store. Then indulge your appetite with true Cajun fare at 1868, Tobasco’s cafeteria-style restaurant.
Jungle Gardens was an unexpected, but welcome surprise. We knew very little about Avery Island before making the trip down and seeing the Gardens was something we decided to do on a whim. And I am SO glad that we did.
Jungle Gardens is one of the most beautiful places we saw in Louisiana. From the giant moss-draped oaks to bamboo thickets to the Buddha statue, this 170-acre semitropical garden is one of Louisiana’s best-kept secrets.
As if you needed another reason to visit this unique destination, you won’t want to miss your opportunity to see some of Louisiana’s magnificent wildlife.
In addition to Tobasco, the McIlhenny family is responsible for the founding of Bird City – a private bird sanctuary on Avery Island. Established in 1895, this wildfowl refuge may be responsible for saving the snowy egret population of the U.S from extinction. It is the nesting ground for an estimated 100,000 snowy egrets.
Unfortunately, we did not see the roosting egrets during our trip. I hope to someday visit the island in the spring or summer to see the migrating birds. In addition to egrets, you can find a variety of birds, alligators,and deer.
Our visit to Avery Island was a highlight in our time spent at Fort Polk. So much so, that we hope to return to the island one day in the future!
If you’re ever in the area, make sure you spend a day at Avery Island. You won’t regret it!