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When most people (especially us Americans) think of romantic vacation getaways, places like the Bahamas, Paris, London, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Venice, or maybe even Sydney are some of the more commonly discussed places on this planet of Earth. New Orleans, the largest city in Louisiana, often tops most romantic city lists regularly as well, and for good reason. The bountiful amount of restaurants, bars, historical sites, museums, hotels, and more are sure to keep even the most unhappy couple too busy to bicker. However, about three and a half hours northwest of NOLA lies a hidden gem full of excellent chefs whose skills could match the best in France, exquisitely beautiful hiking trails that explore deep, lush woods, and fancy (but most importantly cheap!) hotels. From the headline, I'm sure you are well aware I am referring to the criminally underrated, gorgeous small town of Alexandria, Louisiana.
While big cities offer a plethora of activities for couples to do, the fact of the matter is, sometimes less is more when it comes to relationships. You're not trying to pick and choose from endless options, you're just trying to spend some quality time with that person who gives your life meaning. Alexandria is perfect in this regard, as it isn't a sprawling metropolis with endless options for you and your partner to debate over. However, unless you're as jaded as a grunge band from the mid 90s, the few choices Alexandria offers will delight and please you to no end.
For example, The Zoological Society, the fascinating and historical Alexandria Museum of Art and the Louisiana History Museum are all terrifically wonderful ways to kill an afternoon, whilst the Kent Plantation House, as well as Forts Randolph and Buhlow, offer interesting and thought-provoking steps back into our nation's past. The Choctaw Pines Casino in Jena is right around the corner, and is an ideal spot for people who enjoy the thrill given by games of chance. While Alexandria and the surrounding area are small, they are chock-full of culture, proven even more by the River Oaks Square Arts Center. Oddly enough, Alexandria is home to a lovely holocaust memorial, which Jewish and German visitors will be sure to want to see.
Nature is abundant in Alexandria, with almost 30 different hiking routes and a whole 13 courses for hikers to enjoy. Some of these are less than a mile, while the longer ones are more than ten! Regardless of your level of physicality, there is bound to be a trail suited for your needs here. All of these trails are equally as gorgeous and are well suited for any bird-watching fans as well. In fact, most couples that I've talked into going to Alexandria go back at least once to hike any trails they didn't get to their first time in the area.
No romantic vacation is complete without eating! Luckily for the locals, Alexandria has some of the tastiest food the great nation of the United States of America has to offer. From Le Bistreaux Coffee And Waffle Bar (which has an insane amount of different batter types in which they make literally the tastiest waffles in existence) to Rosie Jo's ability to deep fry fish, shrimp, and more to actual perfection, the food in this town is dangerously good. If you want BBQ, Outlaw's and Eddie's have you covered, and the Cajun food at places like Pamela's Bayou in a Bowl, The Levee and Cajun Landing will leave you gasping for air (as you won't stop shoveling the food into your mouth). Alexandria might not have as many restaurants as New Orleans, but the chefs who call the town their home are every bit as talented. I might be showing off how much of a fat kid I am at heart, but Corn Dog 7 is corn dog heaven, just saying.
Now when it comes to lodgings, you aren't going to be blown away with five-star luxuries. Despite being a hedonist, this upsets me not, as what you will find are large, clean rooms in new buildings, many of which have large glass showers. I personally enjoy staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites off MacArthur, but I've yet to be disappointed by a hotel yet in this lovely place.
It's small. It's quaint. But the fact this destination isn't on more radars is a great travesty, although since I never have to deal with crowds when I go, I won't complain. If you love Alexandria or decide to take a trip on out there, give me a shout on social media @bongstudly. I'll eventually get it, although I don't go on much because social media is cancer.