When planning a road trip through the boot state, most Americans will stop in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or Lafayette along Interstate 10 in southern Louisiana. These are great tourist locations that offer lots of activities for travelers.
But just northwest of Interstate 10 is a city called DeRidder, LA. You’ve probably never heard of it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit.
Let’s take a look at a handful of ways you can blend in with the locals and enjoy your stay in DeRidder.
Where Is DeRidder, LA?
Located in western Louisiana, DeRidder is only a few miles from the Texas border. In fact, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Bon Wier, Texas, just across the state line.
DeRidder, LA, sits at the intersection of Highway 190 and Highway 171. Lake Charles is less than an hour’s drive south, and Alexandria is about an hour and a half northeast.
What Is DeRidder, LA, Known For?
DeRidder, LA, is the parish seat of Beauregard Parish and has a little less than 10,000 residents. Named after Ella de Ridder, the city was first known as Schovall. Later it was named DeRidder in honor of Ella by her brother-in-law, who established the first train railroad in the area.
The entrance to Fort Polk is only a short distance north. Here you’ll find 198,000 acres split between the United States Forest Service and the United States Department of the Army. Additional places of interest include Second Street, Stewart Street, and Port Street, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Traveler’s Tip: Head north along the Texas border into Arkansas and find out the 7 Best Things To Do In Texarkana.
5 Best Things to Do in DeRidder, LA
You won’t find tall skyscrapers or bustling city streets in DeRidder, LA. But there are reasons to visit this area of western Louisiana.
Whether you’re looking to learn more about history, spend a few days shopping and dining, or relax and get away from your everyday life, DeRidder has something special for you.
1. Check Out the Beauregard Museum
Address: 120 S Washington St, DeRidder, LA 70634
Why You Should Visit: Over 109 years ago, DeRidder, LA, was chosen as the parish seat of Beauregard Parish. The Beauregard Museum takes a step back in time when the railroad ruled the land. You’ll see tools, artifacts, old photographs, Native American arrowheads and pottery, military memorabilia, musical instruments, and more.
Housed in what used to be the second Kansas City Southern Depot, the building itself goes back to 1926. The Beauregard Museum is a must-stop during your visit.
2. Take a Night Lantern Tour at the Gothic Jail
Address: 205 W. 1st Street, DeRidder, LA
Why You Should Visit: Make sure to set aside an evening to tour the Gothic Jail. This after-dark experience occurs on Friday and Saturday nights only, and you must have reservations.
It’s $15 per person, and every participant must sign a release of liability form. If you’re interested in paranormal activity and want to know the truth behind brutal tragedies, this is the tour for you.
3. Shop At Treasure City Market
Address: 121 S Washington St #4061, DeRidder, LA 70634
Why You Should Visit: The Treasure City Flea Market is directly across the street from the Beauregard Museum. After learning a bit about the area’s history, walk on over and explore over 15,000 sq ft of unique collectibles and products made by local vendors. Maybe grab a few holiday gifts or souvenirs to take home.
From antiques to brush-art furniture, there’s something for everyone at Treasure City Flea Market. The operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
4. Grab Lunch At Cecil’s Cajun Cafe
Address: 120 W 1st St, DeRidder, LA 70634-4014
Why You Should Visit: Cecil’s Cajun Cafe is just a three-minute walk from the Treasure City Flea Market. This local hotspot is a must-visit during your stay in DeRidder, LA.
Enjoy the live music while drinking a cold beer. Place an order for the Bayou cheese fries or gator bites, and then savor the crawfish and etouffee for your main dish.
You’ll also appreciate the customer service and atmosphere at Cecil’s Cajun Cafe. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.
One Google reviewer wrote, “I’m from out of town and recommended by the locals to travel for work. AMAZING place and atmosphere. I ordered the shrimp and grit cake, DELICIOUS!”
This place will get your mouth watering and serve you right during your visit to DeRidder, LA.
5. Cool Off In West Park Swimming Pool
Address: 415 Park Rd, DeRidder, LA 70634
Why You Should Visit: It’s always nice to have a public swimming pool where you can relax and read a book or take the kids to burn off some energy. West Park has a basketball court, a tennis court, a baseball field, kid play areas, and a walking trail, too.
You can spend a whole afternoon enjoying the outdoors. On Google, the park has been rated 4.4/5 stars by guests.
Is Deridder, LA Worth a Visit?
If you’re looking for nightlife and bustling streets, DeRidder, LA, won’t give you that type of experience. It will provide a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors and learn about Louisiana history.
There are also ample opportunities to support local small businesses and artisans. And if you’re not too scared, you might have an encounter with the paranormal at the Gothic Jail.
So the next time you’re traveling along Highway 171 from Lake Charles to Leesville, make a pitstop in DeRidder, LA.
What will you plan to do first when you get there?