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Iberia Travel Hacks: La. Summers

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By: Brittany Racca

Summer is here! School’s out and you’re getting ready to hit the highway on your way to vacation and relaxation in the South, namely Louisiana.

We here in Iberia Parish, know all too well the pros and cons of Southern summers and we’re here to help make sure your trip is one to remember and not one to regret with a few tips and tricks to conquer the area like a local.

What might seem like the most obvious on this list is quite often the most overlooked. Yes, mom always told us to lather on that SPF, but did we listen? No. But look, just put it on.

The average temperature in July down here is 91°. Don’t get us wrong, summertime in the South is like nothing else in the country.

We love our summers because it means boating and fishing on the lakes and bayous as well as family cookouts, but putting on a bit of sunscreen while walking our beautiful historic district or Shadows-on-the-Teche’s plantation gardens will definitely be in your best interest.

You want to eat the crawfish, not look like one.

The second thing Louisiana is known for during the summer? Mosquitos!

Those little diablos are something else and, if you plan to take a swamp tour or stroll near grassy areas like Avery’s Island’s Jungle Gardens or Rip Van Winkle Gardens, that deet will be a life saver.

Nothing ruins a trip more than constantly hopping on one leg trying to scratch that mosquito bite, especially when ya mama and ‘dem done told ya to spray before you left the house because “dem bugs are bitin’.”

Trust us, cher, don’t mess with our unofficial state bird and spray it like it’s going out of style.

No, not the brown kind of the Bayou Teche. Drinking water.

Like we said before, the heat down here can be a scorcher, and staying hydrated is vitally important if you want to see everything the area has to offer.

We recommend carrying a water bottle to fill up so you won’t have to spend to much time looking for places to purchase bottles of water.

Soft drinks may taste delicious, but when the sun is hot and your mouth is sticky, water will help keep you energized to walk around the Bayou Teche Museum or Konriko Rice Mill.

And this way, when you might’ve overestimated your tolerance for spice at the home of Tabasco on Avery Island, you have a handy dandy water bottle with you to quench the heat. You can even get fancy and get one with a filter.

However you decide to stay hydrated, make sure you do. There are better ways to act like a Southern belle besides fainting.

While Delcambre Reeboks will never go out of style, they’re not very practical for touring the area.

The right pair of shoes are essential. They have to be comfortable, durable and have good traction so you don’t fall in the bayou while you’re getting too close to the edge to snap that perfect photo.Yes, we saw you, random stranger!

Closed-in shoes are usually recommended, as sandals are fine for touring the inside of the Jeanerette Museum, but can hurt your feet if you’d want to walk down the street to LeJeune’s Bakery.

There’s a lot of ground to cover in Louisiana and not all of it is easy with sandals. For example, tennis shoes are recommended if you’re doing any sort of boating so you have a better grip on the deck.

Ultimately, it depends on your touring plans and what you’re comfortable walking in.

And remember, just because Boudreaux and Thibodeaux don’t wear closed-in shoes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Those couillons (Coo-Yawns) aren’t exactly good examples for the phrase “do as the locals do.”

Those are the basics for tackling Louisiana in the summer.

There are a lot of other small things to keep in mind like, don’t try to do much of anything after eating a seafood platter, or don’t be surprised at the amount of people who smile at you.

We deal with these dilemmas every year, but we wouldn’t trade our piece of Acadiana for the world.

The main thing to remember is to have a good sense of humor, which is hard not to have down here. No matter what nature decides to throw at you on your trip, we can promise the food will be ça c'est bon, the music foot-tappin’ and the people friendly.

See ya soon cher!