Louisiana Destinations ... Travel Across the Bayou State

Ruston & Lincoln Parish Travel Guide: Louisiana Hill Country

The Ruston mural, downtown, at the corner of North Vienna and Alabama Streets, across from the Dixie Center for the Arts
The Ruston mural, downtown, at the corner of North Vienna and Alabama, on the 1938 Rainwater Building, across from the Dixie Center for the Arts!

Robert E. Russ donated 640 acres to a town site that became known as " Ruston" (shorthand for Russ town). Today, Ruston retains many historic buildings from the late 1800s.

Ruston is located in the beautiful rolling hill country of central North Louisiana on Interstate I-20 between Shreveport and Monroe, and the home to over 22,000 residents. U.S. Highway 167 runs south from Ruston to Jonesboro, Winnfield and Alexandria; 36 miles to the north lies Junction City, Arkansas.

It is the seat of Lincoln Parish, and considered part of the Ark-La-Tex Region.

The main campus of Louisiana Tech University is in Ruston. Grambling State University is located about 6 miles west of Ruston.

Ruston's cultural center has always come from Ruston's core, the Downtown. Ruston was one of Louisiana's first Main Street communities. Over the years Ruston's downtown has become a Historic District and a Cultural District. In 2017, Ruston's Downtown was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other North Louisiana Cities and Towns

North Louisiana is also home to many of our other favorite communities. Area towns include Farmerville, Grambling, Gibsland, Arcadia, Dubach, Downsville, Choudrant, Spearsville, Summerfield and so many others.

Ruston, Louisiana hotels, vacation rentals and restaurant listings and reviews

Ruston Hotels, Lodging and Restaurants

The Ruston area features a wide variety of hotels, motels, inns, suites and other lodging, many along I-20 and close to Louisiana Tech. Here are some hotel properties to review and consider:

Read traveler reviews about hotels and lodging in Ruston, Louisiana

Compare prices and read traveler reviews about hotels in Ruston

Courtyard by Marriott

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Best Western Plus Ruston Hotel

Hampton Inn Ruston

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson

Sleep Inn & Suites

Fairfield Inn & Suites

Vacation Home Rentals in Ruston

Planning a trip to Ruston and need a vacation rental?

Find the best deal, compare prices, make reservations at TripAdvisor
and read what other travelers have to say about vacation rentals in the Ruston area

Ruston Louisiana Vacation Home Rentals Ruston Louisiana Vacation Home Rentals
Ruston Louisiana Vacation Home Rentals Ruston Louisiana Vacation Home Rentals


Attractions and things to do in Ruston, Louisiana area

Many attractions in Ruston and the surrounding area offer a variety of entertainment and recreation.

Ruston is known for its exciting college-town atmosphere, with an 18-block historic downtown district and the sweet peaches grown in the area. The area boasts a variety of specialty shops and delicious restaurants, as well as festivals and events throughout the year. 

  • Night scene in downtown Ruston, Louisiana
    Night scene in downtown Ruston (Photo courtesy of Experience Ruston)
    Dixie Center for the Arts, also known as the Dixie Theater or simply the Dixie, is a theater-style venue located at 212 North Vienna Street in Ruston. In addition to being a rentable space for various events, many artistic and musical organizations call the Dixie their home. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Lincoln Parish Museum - Built in 1886, the Kidd-Davis home is housed with beautiful dolls, furniture, and murals. In the gallery, visitors can view clothing, photos & drawings, kitchen supplies, and artifacts unique to the late 1800s era. The museum's "Walls That Talk" features seven murals showcasing vignettes from Lincoln Parish history, along with voice recordings of parish citizens telling stories. Located at 609 North Vienna Street in Ruston.
  • Louisiana Military Museum - This 4,000 sqft facility houses over 10,000 artifacts with countless additional photographs. The museum's collection presents an impressive assembly of arms and artifacts, and chronicles U.S. conflicts from the Civil War through the present time. Located at 201 Memorial Drive in Ruston.
  • Stone Theatre & Howard Center for Performing Arts - The heart of the cultural experience that embodies Louisiana Tech is discovered within the School of Music and the School of Theatre. Housed in the Howard Center for the Performing Arts, the Schools of Music and Theatre have been deemed a “unique area of excellence” in the state.
  • Louisiana Peach Festival -
    Those famous Ruston peaches!
    Those famous Ruston peaches!
    The Louisiana Peach Festival is a long-standing Ruston tradition dating back to 1951. The festival was created by area peach farmers as a way to promote their industry and the delicious peaches they produced throughout Louisiana and surrounding states. Over the years, the Peach Festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Lincoln Parish and pumped millions back into the local economy.
  • Lincoln Parish Park - Rated as one of the best mountain bike trails in America, Lincoln Parish Park is a treasure for mountain bike lovers and noncyclist too. The 10-mile trail offers a challenging and exciting course for not only the advanced rider but beginners as well.

    Park amenities include covered pavilions, picnic tables, and benches throughout the park. A 1.25-mile walking path winds around the beautiful lake. Guests can fish from piers or from non-motorized boats. Kayaks and canoes are welcome. The park also offers a playground for children, campground with RV hookups, backpacking, hiking, camping, and swimming.
  • James Lake Birding Trail - An outdoor paradise, James Lake Birding Trail is one of Louisiana's best places to see a wide variety of birds. Bird lovers can view these magnificent creatures from three locations - the viewing platform, the bridge or the lakes' wooded walking trail. Amenities include: Pavilions, Restrooms, RV Park, Playground, Grills, Amphitheatre. Located at 197 Enloe Street in Dubach, Louisiana.
  • Eddie Robinson Museum is a landmark that officially recognizes the outstanding contributions to the state of Louisiana, the nation, the world and the game of football made by Coach Eddie G. Robinson.
  • Jimmie Davis State Park - Located on a peninsula on Caney Lake, Jimmie Davis State Park offers two boat launches and a fishing pier that cater to the outdoors enthusiast looking for a prime freshwater fishing spot. Waterskiing is another way to enjoy the clear waters of the lake, which was created by damming Caney Creek in 1986. 
  • Lake Claiborne State Park -
    Lake D'Arbonne State Park near Ruston
    Lake D'Arbonne State Park near Ruston
    At this lovely state park visitors enjoy swimming, fishing, birding, boating of all kinds, waterskiing, camping, and hiking. Located at 225 State Road Park in nearby Homer, Louisiana.
  • Lake D'Arbonne State Park - Piney forests, rolling hills, five fishing piers, and a beautiful lake draw visitors to this quiet, majestic state park. Designed to keep the focus on nature, park facilities blend with the natural landscape to enhance the outdoor experience of this 655-acre park. Fishing piers and boat docks attract visitors to Lake D'Arbonne, the marvelous 15,250-acre centerpiece of the park. Located at 3628 Evergreen Road in nearby Farmerville, Louisiana.
  • Rock Island Greenway - It is named after the railroad that once used this right-of-way and was in large part the reason for Ruston’s founding. The Greenway is a shared-use walking, running and bicycling path and linear park that will eventually run almost 6 miles across the city, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, educational institutions, and recreational amenities.
  • Ruston Regional Sports Complex - Built on over 185 acres, the Complex is capable of hosting six tournaments at once - for all ages of baseball, all ages of softball, adult softball, tennis, soccer, and cross country.


Scenes around the Ruston area in North Louisiana

Dixie Center
for the Arts

Dixie Center for the Arts in Ruston, Louisiana
North Louisiana
Military Museum

North Louisiana Military Museum in Ruston, Louisiana
Peach orchard near Ruston (Photo courtesy of the LA Office of Tourism)
Peach orchard near Ruston, Louisiana
Lincoln Parish Park entrance
Entrance area to Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana
Lake at Lincoln Parish Park
The lake at Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana

Ruston area universities: Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University

Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University, often referred to as Louisiana Tech, LA Tech, or Tech, is a coeducational public research university located in Ruston. Louisiana Tech is designated as a Tier 1 national university by the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. It is the only Tier 1 national university in the nine-member University of Louisiana System.

More about Tech
Louisiana Tech official website
Louisiana Tech Vintage Images
Tech Stadium Photos from 1968

Louisiana Tech University opened as The Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana in 1894. Four years later, the state constitution changed the school's name to the Louisiana Industrial Institute.

In 1921, the college changed its name to the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a larger " technical institute". Under the leadership of Dr. F. Jay Taylor, the college continued to grow and change over time, and the name was changed to Louisiana Tech University in 1970.

Following Dr. Taylor as president was Dr. Dan Reneau, who served in that role from 1987 to 2013.

The current president of Louisiana Tech is Dr. Les Guice; he announced in September of 2023 his decision to retire from the position of president at the end of 2023. Dr. Guice has served Tech for 45 years, the last 10 as president.

Today's enrollment is about 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its men's "Bulldogs" and "Lady Techster" teams compete in Conference USA.

Well Known Tech Alumni

Tech graduates work nationwide, in a variety of disciplines, and many have gained recognition in their respective fields, such as Sam and Charles Wyly. Others well known in sports and entertainment include the following:

  • Terry Bradshaw, quarterback, first player selected in the 1970 NFL draft, picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback of four winning Super Bowl teams. Currently a sports analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • Karl Malone, basketball star, "The Mailman", played NBA basketball for 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz. A native of Summerfield, Louisiana. Having scored 36,298 points in his career, the second most career points in NBA history, and holding the record for most free throws both attempted and made, Malone is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards of all time.
  • Our Lady of the Mist, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana
    Our Lady of the Mist, Louisiana Tech University (Photo courtesy of the LA Office of Tourism)
    Willie Roaf, football. He was a first-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. An eleven-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-time All-Pro, he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Willie is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
  • Kim Mulkey, All-American point guard at Tech, former head basketball coach of the Baylor Lady Bears, two-time national champs, including the 2012 NCAA championship team, which concluded the season with an impressive 40-0 record. She is the first person in NCAA history to win a basketball national championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. In 2021 Kim became the head coach of the LSU women's basketball team.
  • Leon Barmore, star point guard basketball player at Ruston High School, and Louisiana Tech. Highly respected Coach of the Lady Techsters from 1982 to 2002. Barmore led Tech to 20 straight winning seasons, including an amazing 13 30-plus win campaigns while also coaching the Lady Techsters to 20 straight NCAA Tournaments, nine Final Fours, five national championship games and the 1988 national title.
  • Phil Robertson, quarterback, a native of Vivian, Louisiana, and founder of Duck Commander in West Monroe. Star in the A&E Network series "Duck Dynasty".
  • Kix Brooks, country recording star, for years part of the Brooks & Dunn duo. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana.
  • Trace Adkins, country recording star, a native of Sarepta, Louisiana.

Read more about Louisiana Tech at the official Tech website

Grambling State University

Exhibit area in the Eddie Robinson Museum in Grambling
Display area in the Eddie Robinson Museum in Grambling

Located about six miles west of Ruston, Gambling State University opened on November 1, 1901 as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. In 1946, the school became Gambling College. In 1949, the college earned its first accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In 1974, the addition of graduate programs in early childhood and elementary education gave the school a new status and a new name - Grambling State University. It is a member of the University of Louisiana System of Higher Education.

Over the years, several new academic programs were incorporated and new facilities were added to the 384-acre campus, including a business and computer science building, school of nursing, student services building, stadium, stadium support facility and an intramural sports center. Today, it has an enrollment of over 5,000 students.

Grambling offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through four colleges: College of Art & Sciences, College of Business, College of Educational and Graduate Studies, and the College of Professional Studies.

Grambling State's athletic teams compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and are known as the Grambling State "Tigers". The university is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

Visitors to the university enjoy the popular Eddie Robinson Museum on campus.

For more information, visit the website of Grambling State University

Interactive map of the Ruston, Louisiana area, courtesy of Google Maps


Union Bus Depot, Ruston, Louisiana
Union Bus Depot, Ruston, Louisiana
Bus from The Flxible Company of Ohio, circa 1950sFlxible Bus

Ruston Connections

The many rides I took on Salter Bus Lines from Alexandria to Ruston weren't really very far ... a short journey through Pineville, Bentley, Dry Prong, Winnfield, Dodson, Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and then the arrival in downtown Ruston at the bus depot (see postcard shown to the right).

Salter's fleet at that time consisted of cream-colored buses from The Flxible Company of Ohio, similar to the one shown to the right. Today, the Salter headquarters remain in Jonesboro, at 212 Hudson Avenue.

Ruston has a special place in my memory from four very good years attending Louisiana Tech University along with my wife-to-be. It was a still very much a small town during the mid-1960s when I lived there.

Among my favorite memories is exploring with my girlfriend the newly-built Tech Stadium in September 1968, barely ready for the first game in the stadium with East Carolina University.

Be sure to check out our historic photos and postcards of Louisiana Tech.

I became involved with Ruston again during the early 1990s when my daughter and son-in-law graduated from Tech. We became multi-generational Tech supporters!

More Ruston Area Information & Resources

Experience Ruston Visitor Information

Ruston at LouisianaTravel.com
The Official Travel Website of the State of Louisiana

Ruston Main Street Program

Lincon Parish

Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

Louisiana Office of State Parks

Ruston Travel Guide at TripAdvisor


Popular Travel Destinations and Attractions in North & Central Louisiana
Visit Alexandria ... in the Heart of Louisiana Visit historic Natchitoches Louisiana on Cane River Visit Ruston in North Central Louisiana
Visit Monroe and West Monroe in northeast Louisiana Visit Shreveport and Bossier City in the Ark-La-Tex Explore Louisiana State Parks ... locations, websites and photos