Are you thinking of visiting New Orleans? No trip to the “Big Easy” is complete without a tour of the state’s top plantations. Beyond the famous restaurants, the French Quarter, and fantastic nightlife, NOLA is the site of some of the nation’s most valuable and historic real estate.

The lush grounds of the plantations feature oak groves, magnificent architecture, and cultural history that extends back through generations. Take some time off from the hustle of “The city of the dead,” and take a New Orleans plantation tour to unwind and relax in nature. Here are the top 8 plantation sites to visit.

Laura Plantation

Named after its owner, Laura Locoul, the deed of the property was initially vested 200 years ago to the Locoul family in 1804. Laura lived almost to see an entire century pass during her lifetime.

Over that period, the plantation developed 3 glorious gardens among the sugar plantation. The house features intricate architectural design and gorgeous paintwork.

St. Joseph Plantation

H. Richardson called these grounds home; the legendary 19th-century architect spent his entire life on the 2,500 acres of historical landscape known as St. Josephs Plantation. The property remains preserved to this day and features original slave cabins, artisan shops, and a schoolhouse.

Nottoway Plantation

Known as “The white castle,” this property plays host to the largest antebellum home in the South. A visit to Nottoway reveals Italianate and Greek style architecture. John Hampden Randolph founded the “White Castle” in 1859, and the property holds 64 rooms in the main house, with land totaling 53,000 square feet.

Destrehan Plantation

You can find this historic location on the River Road; this sugar plantation is the home of Orleans Territory Council documents, officially signed by President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison.

Upon its founding in 1787, the plantation became an overnight success due to its patronage from senior government officials. Walk through the gardens and experience the moss-draped oaks and bubbling waters that surround the property.

Whitney Plantation

Take a time warp back through history at Whitney. One of the original plantations, Whitney offers a cultural experience back into the times of slavery.

The guided tour into a time gone by where plantation owners persecuted men and dragged them into slavery. The tour features a story told through the narrative of the slaves themselves. The tour features memorial artwork, and museum exhibits as well.

Bocage Plantation

Originally a wedding gift to the daughter of planter Marius Pons Bringier, Francoise Bringier, this plantation is nearly 200 years old. When Francoise first took the deed in 1801, she was only 14 years old at the time.

The main house underwent a complete renovation in 1837, and the quality of the artistry is still on display to this date. With spectacular gardens and magnificent oak groves.

Ormond Plantation

Acquired from its original owner by U.S. Army Colonel Richard Butler, Ormond plantation is Irish culture removed to America. Butler received the deed in 1805 and decided to name the property “Ormond” after the castle found in his ancestral home of Ireland.

The plantation is encompassed by a mossy grove of cypress and oak trees which have grown into impressive natural wonders over the 300 years since its founding in the 1700’s. Today the plantation hosts tours, weddings, and corporate events.

Houmas House

Once the site of the world’s largest sugar plantation, Houmas House has benefitted from recent upgrades and improvements to the grounds. A walk through the breathtaking gardens reveals a storybook setting that is something reminiscent of a different era in the South. Impressive works of art adorn the property, and the immaculately maintained farmhouse.