Located off Interstate 10, Gonzales is an easy day trip from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
There’s so much to do in this small city that you can easily spend a day exploring. From historic homes to outdoor adventures, here are our top picks for things to do in Gonzales la!
The Great River Road Museum, tucked away in the back of the Houmas House estate on a dramatic bend in the Mississippi River, interprets Lower Mississippi River history through art and cultural exhibits. It covers agriculture, slavery, the Civil War, and much more, telling the complete story of the way of life for the new settlers in the 1800s.
Several antebellum plantations are found along the River Road and many offer on-site dining and lodging. Oak Alley, Laura Plantation: Louisiana's Creole Heritage Site and Evergreen Plantation are just a few of the many that are available to visitors today.
The Jambalaya Festival is a four-day event where you can experience a variety of entertainment and food. It is a great way to experience the unique culture of southern Louisiana.
The Festival is held every Memorial Day weekend and features World Champion Jambalaya served daily, live music and entertainment, carnival rides, a cooking contest and so much more.
The Jambalaya Competition begins early Friday with the first of three heats, then the semi-finalists are announced Saturday and finally the winner is named on Sunday afternoon. It is an intense event with more than 70 cooks vying for the title of “World Jambalaya Champion.”
In Gonzales you can tour historic homes that are filled with the rich history of Louisiana’s Old South. These large, elaborate mansions are a must-see for both visitors and locals.
One of the best places to start is Evergreen Plantation, which is home to 37 buildings and 22 slave cabins. These cabins are among the most intact in the South and offer a unique glimpse into slavery.
Another great place to tour is the Solomon Joseph House. This Greek Revival structure was built in 1877.
Other historic homes in Gonzales include the John Wesley Hardin building on Confederate Square. This two-story building was used by outlaw John Wesley Hardin to set up his law office.
Floating down the Guadalupe River is a must for any Texan, and Gonzales is the perfect spot to experience it. With its clear waters, towering cypress trees and beautiful limestone cliffs, the Guadalupe is one of the most picturesque public recreational spaces in Texas.
A favorite activity here is tubing, which can be done in either direction along the river. It’s a great way to enjoy the bobbing rhythms of the water and take in the views from a whole new perspective.
There are also plenty of other things to do in Gonzales, like fishing or hiking. The city’s many restaurants serve savory Texan dishes, including tacos and enchiladas.
In a secluded corner of Gonzales lies the more-than-meets-the-eye Memorial Library, renowned for its extensive collection of rare books, manuscript collections and maps. The Charles DuBose Collection is especially noteworthy, featuring over 700 historic pistols and rifles — including original signatures from Davy Crockett, William Travis, Generals Sam Houston and Santa Anna — plus helmets, holsters and more.
A fascinating glimpse into Texas history, the library also hosts several special events throughout the year. From book clubs to computer training, the library has something for everyone.
If you’re looking to get closer to nature, consider spending a day at River Acres, which features a boat launch and kayaking and canoeing trails along the glistening Guadalupe River. Yoakum also celebrates the cattle drivers’ journey with a memorial park that pays homage to the Chisholm Trail, which saw thousands of wild longhorns driven north in search of the beef markets.