The festivals in Louisiana are legendary. From Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to the Essence Music Festival and Voodoo Experience, the Bayou State knows how to party. As colder weather approaches, Louisiana is once again heating things up with a variety of holiday festivals across the state.

It’s Time to Celebrate at These Festivals in Louisiana this Winter

And what’s the best way to celebrate these festivals in Louisiana? By camping in Louisiana around the party, of course. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best winter festivals in Louisiana you shouldn’t miss, complete with the campground closest to where all the fun is happening.

Celebration in the Oaks: November 24 through January 3, in New Orleans

dinosaur illuminated with christmas lights at celebration in the oaks

Image from Infrogmation on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This special, month-long festival takes place in New Orleans’ City Park and runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving through January 3. Celebration in the Oaks is a family-friendly, annual tradition that started in the late 1980s and has become one of the most beautiful and popular holiday lighting displays in the country.

Once the sun goes down, City Park becomes an illuminated wonderland filled with thousands of bright and blinking lights and themed attractions such as Storyland, the Botanical Gardens, and the Carousel Gardens amusement ride area. There’s also a two-mile miniature train ride that circles the park for children and their parents. Mardi Gras might be the most colorful of festivals in Louisiana, but Celebration in the Oaks brings the holidays to life.

Hidden Oaks Family Campground is about an hour away but the drive is well worth it. Located in Hammond, Hidden Oaks offers plenty of tent, trailer, RV and cabin camping. It also has a pool and live events from time to time.

The Dyrt camper Krissy J. writes, “My family and I have a blast when we go.”

Louisiana Renaissance Festival: November 3 through December 9, in Hammond

knight with a joust riding a horse at the louisiana renaissance festival

While you’re in Hammond, make sure to visit the Louisiana Renaissance Festival, happening every weekend from November 3 through December 9. Every fall, the Louisiana Renaissance Festival creates the English village of Albright, with more than 600 artisans, entertainers and educational demonstrators welcoming visitors to the 16th century. You can choose from more than 50 shows and over 100 booths selling unique, handmade creations, as well as a ton of demonstrations like jousting, falconry, baking, weaving, fencing, and more.

And while you could stay at nearby Hidden Oaks Family Campground, you can also camp at the festival. RVs and tents are welcome, but there is limited space.

Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights: November 17 through January 6, in Natchitoches

waller baptist church float in nachitoches christmas parade

About 50 miles from Alexandria is the area’s oldest town, Natchitoches. Beginning as a one-day festival in Louisiana in 1927, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights is now a six-week celebration beginning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ending on January 6. More than 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces are on display every night at dusk. Ranked as the third best holiday lights show in 2013 by, behind Rockefeller Center and Disney World, this festival offers attractions such as carriage tours, activities for children, food vendors along the downtown riverbank and plenty of shopping.

Camp at nearby Grand Encore RV Park, which features 59 paved pads with 24 pull-through sites, as well as a boat launch, a laundry and bathhouse, and an activity center.

If you don’t have an RV and don’t mind the drive, camp at Kisatchie Bayou Campground in Provencal, about an hour’s drive from Natchitoches, where there’s plenty of tent and group camping.

Festival of the Bonfires: December 14 through 16, in Lutcher

bonfire pires at festivals in Louisiana

Festival of the Bonfires in the small town of Lutcher, about 40 minutes outside of New Orleans, is happening this year on December 14, 15, and 16 and is not to be missed. A tradition that still stands from early Cajun settlers, the lighting of massive bonfires along the levees of the Mississippi River around New Orleans started off as a Christmas Eve celebration and has now grown to a weekend-long celebration just before Christmas. Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, great food, as well as a car show, a fun run/walk, a cookoff, and a children’s pageant.

About an hour away you’ll find Bayou Segnette State Park, which is the closest camping to this festival in Louisiana. On the upside, it’s just a few minutes from New Orleans.

The Dyrt camper Crystal C. enjoyed her trip to Bayou Segnette, and even saw some bunnies outside of her tent. She reviewed her stay there in bunnies:

“I would rank this campground 4 out of 5 Bunnies,” she says. “Though bustling and busy on the weekend it remained quiet and calm. The location was a short drive or ferry ride from the city, giving it the comfort of the outdoors with the city flair we were seeking.”

She also suggests booking online to make sure you can get a spot.

Charles Moss

Charles Moss

Charles Moss is a freelance writer with bylines in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Vice, Slate, The Week, The Bitter Southerner and other outlets. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee, he and his family enjoy camping, hiking and all the beauty the Scenic City has to offer.