A tiny bayou town just a short hop from Lafayette, Breaux Bridge is not only the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” per the Louisiana legislature, but lays claim to having invented crawfish etouffee. It’s in the heart of Acadian Louisiana, with all the fantastic food and music that entails. Cajun dancers have been two-stepping and waltzing around the beautiful old dance floor at La Poussiere since 1955. On Saturdays, Café des Amis serves a Zydeco breakfast with live music downtown, where we go antiquing and visit locally owned shops.

Robbie Caponetto

Everyone here is family.

Spend time in a small Southern town, and you’ll see what we mean. There’s a feeling a deep familiarity that runs along Main Street, where local businesses buzz with activity and tradition shapes everyday life. Locals greet each other by name, and visitors are always welcome. Whether it’s just for a weekend getaway or for a lifetime, experience the kind of culture and charm you’ll only find in small towns in the South.

Main Street
The downtown consists of one main drag where you’ll find everything you need. From antique shops to restaurants to drug stores, local businesses reign supreme.

Related: 10 Best Weekend Getaways

Football Fever
Fall in small Southern towns means one thing: football. The whole community fills the bleachers at the local high school on Friday nights for football games. Strategy and smack is talked throughout the town during the week leading up to the game, and cheers are rooted when the boys take the field at kickoff. And on Saturday morning, it starts all over again—but this time for the town’s favorite college team.

We’ll have the usual
The barista at the coffee shop knows your morning ritual and has your order ready by the time you walk through the door each morning. And you really don’t need to place your order at the diner, because the waiter already knows you’ll be having the usual.

Annual Festivals
Small towns celebrate civic pride with annual festivals that honor its history—and everyone participates. Like in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the crawfish capital of the world: The whole town shuts down for the annual Crawfish Festival and takes part in the weekend-long festivities.

No Traffic
You always make it to work on time, unless you get stuck behind a tractor on its way to the field.

Doors are never locked
There’s really no need: Neighbors trust each other, and you’re always invited to come right in a make yourself at home.

Everyone knows your name
You’re on a first-name basis with your neighbors, teachers, law enforcement, and mayor—and probably graduated from high school with most of them. You know everyone’s birthday, extended family, occupation, dating history (for better or for worse), and pets’ names. Handshakes are replaced with hugs, and welcomes are always warm.

The town shuts down for church on Sunday
If you drive along Main Street at 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning, it’ll be a ghost town. Activity picks up again around noon, when the churchgoers head the local diner for Sunday lunch.

You can see the stars at night 
There are no big-city lights to obstruct the natural beauty surrounding a small town. Lay a blanket out on the grass in the backyard, and point out constellations and shooting stars.