Beyond the Basin in Henderson
Nov 04, 2020
Discovering décor, dinosaurs, and more
To get a closer look at the watery wildlife who call America’s largest wetland area home, look no further than Henderson, where swamp life is second nature. Dubbed “The Gateway to the Atchafalaya Basin,” the town is an easy entryway into the natural beauty of the basin and the Acadiana cultural region.
The basin is a mecca of outdoor recreation, and offers the standard to-do’s, such as swamp tours, paddling, and fishing. Beyond the basin, though, Henderson is full of local gems that you won’t find anywhere else (for example, if you’re a Jurassic Park fan, do we have something in store for you). If you’re searching for a unique ware or a thoughtful gift, Henderson has that, too. Louisiana Marketshops at the 115, named for the Interstate 10 exit in Henderson, isn’t just a store; it’s a gallery, an antique mall, a maker’s market of motley miscellany. The vibrant, eclectic storefront favors maximalism within its multicolored digs, featuring over three hundred local artists and Louisiana-made products in its 3,000-square-foot space. If you can dream it, chances are owner Jennifer Casanova has thought of it and handpicked it. Wandering through the shop, which is organized categorically, you’ll find home décor, art, books, music, metalwork, souvenirs, and much more.
Just down the road on Grand Point Highway, you can’t miss the bright red nineteenth century barn adorned with glowing neon letters: welcome to local favorite restaurant, Crawfish Town USA. It seems only fitting that “the town that crawfish built” would have a restaurant-slash-market with an extensive menu devoted to the beloved mudbug. Crawfish Town USA also offers Fresh Market next door, where you can purchase fresh seafood or prepared food portions to take home. Other local standouts include Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf, a Henderson establishment since 1948 that includes their famous Cajun restaurant, the Atchafalaya Club dance hall, and Edgewater Inn hotel all in one.
Henderson is also home to the Cajun Palms RV Resort—voted Louisiana’s best campground in 2017—and its full service amenities and proximity to the interstate make it a convenient and relaxing destination, whether it be a rest stop or weekend getaway. Next door are neighboring attractions Prehistoric Park and Cajun Fast Track, so you can expect none of the usual “I’m bored” complaints here. As Acadiana’s premier family entertainment park, Cajun Fast Track is an all-ages adventure with attractions that include an arcade, go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, an XD theater, and mini golf. Last but not least, Prehistoric Park features the stars of the Jurassic Period—T. rexes, raptors, and Brontosauruses—in a Universal Studios-inspired themed experience at the edge of the Atchafalaya Swamp. The park’s twelve acres offer a lush Cajun forest of nearly two dozen dinosaur exhibits to explore, with fossils and life-size replicas of the fearsome reptiles.