America's Best College Towns
No. 17 Lafayette, LA
If our reader poll had included a “most well-rounded” category, Lafayette may very well have swept the competition. It ranked in the top five for four categories (friendliest, cool souvenirs, burgers, and local accent) and in the top 10 for four more (cafés, bars, ice cream, and fairs). The irresistible Creole cuisine brings locals and University of Louisiana at Lafayette students together at spots like Johnson’s Boucanière, where the pulled pork and brisket are smoked for up to 14 hours. When the weather’s fine, pack a picnic and head for moss-draped Cypress Lake, a watershed on campus.