3 Reasons Avery Island, Louisiana is Worth the Drive

Tobasco display at the factory on Avery Island.

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We spent nearly 4 years stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana, where you either have to get creative or be willing to drive long distances 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, Tabasco sauce was on nearly every dinner table. And Avery Island, Louisiana is the only place in the world where it is made!

The Tabasco factory 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!

The Tobasco Country Store
(The country store at the Tabasco factory!)

Visit the World Famous Tabasco Factory

You can’t visit Avery Island without a tour of the Tabasco Factory.

You’ll learn the history of Tabasco 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 at 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, Tabasco’s cafeteria-style restaurant.

The Tobasco Factory on Avery Island in Louisiana.
(The Tabasco Factory.)
The bottling process at the Tobasco Factory.
(Bottling the famous sauce!)

Get Lost in Jungle Gardens

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.

The century-old oak trees at Jungle Gardens on Avery Island.
(There are century-old oaks in the Gardens.)
In the bamboo thicket at Jungle Gardens.
(The girls loved the bamboo ‘forest’ the best.)
The 900-year-old Buddha statue on Avery Island, Louisiana.
(The 900-year-old Buddha statue.)

See the Wildlife

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 Tabasco, 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, as we were there at the wrong time of year. 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.

The empty rookery at Bird City on Avery Island.
(The empty rookery at Bird City.)
(Great Egret inspecting an egg – courtesy of junglegardens.org.)
Small alligator in Jungle Gardens.
(We spotted a small gator during our visit!)

Our visit to Avery Island was one of the highlights of our time 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!

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