Lafayette, Louisiana, is known as the “Happiest City in America,” and really, why wouldn’t it be? This cultural melting pot is centuries old, yet still is as authentic, inspiring and all-around enjoyable as it was the day it was established.

Located in Southern Louisiana, about 129 miles west of New Orleans, Lafayette was originally settled in the late 1700s by the Acadians, a group of French settlers who were unceremoniously kicked out of the Canadian city of Acadie and forced to set up shop elsewhere. They made the best of a bad situation by making their new home in Lafayette, which began to thrive thanks to their influence. Word got out and they were joined by a host of other nationalities, including people of Creole, French, Spanish, Italian, Native American and African descent. Today, Lafayette remains the proud heart of Cajun and Creole country, so newcomers shouldn’t be surprised to hear the Cajun dialect and fluent French-speaking locals in and around town.

Lafayette homes for sale are currently listed at a median price of $215,000. Homes for sale in Lafayette can be found in neighborhoods to suit all tastes and price ranges, like artsy Freetown-Port Rico and family friendly Broadmoor.

Lafayette’s proximity to the coastline has helped it boom thanks to the oil industry and alternative fuel source efforts. Locals also enjoy local waterways, like Lake Martin or the Atchafalaya Basin, which is made up of 860,000 acres of water prairies, rivers, bayous, lakes and swamps. Nature lovers particularly delight in Lafayette’s unparalleled paddling, wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. The area is also a fisherman’s paradise, with both salt and freshwater fishing opportunities located in and around Lafayette.

Much like the original settlers, current Lafayette residents know how to have a good time. The area boasts a calendar filled with unique festivals, such as Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Sweet Dough Pie Festival and Festival International. The city also hosts free concerts that feature a range of genres, from traditional Zydeco to current, popular music. Newcomers also enjoy getting to know the local cuisine, including crawfish, boudin (sausage), catfish and sweet dough pies. Take a step back in time to truly appreciate your new home’s heritage with a visit to Vermilionville, a living history museum and folklife park that features authentically restored homes and on-site artisans who are dedicated to preserving the time period of 1765 to 1890 and all the Creole, Native American and Acadian influences that helped make the area special.