Louisiana has an abundance of beautiful lakes, nature trails, swamps, and streams all just waiting to be explored. With more than 20 state parks scattered throughout the state, you’re never far from one no matter where you live. Below we’ve found a few state parks that may be a bit under-appreciated, but you’re sure to love them if you visit.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Bayou Segnette State Park
There's never a shortage of things to do at Bayou Segnette State park. Boating, fishing, camping, hiking, or swimming in the wave pool. The park has a short mile long trail for hiking, and because of the park's unique location, it features both saltwater and freshwater fishing. Everybody wins! Located at 7777 Westbank Expressway Westwego, LA 70094.
2. Chemin-A-Haut State Park
With 503 acres of natural beauty to immerse yourself in, this little state park could quickly become your new favorite spot. Much of the park is situated on a bluff overlooking Bayou Bartholomew, allowing for beautiful scenic views. The park has two playgrounds for children as well as a wading pool. There's also a boat rental available, for those that want to get a closer view of the bayou, and an 8-mile equestrian trail. Located at 14656 State Park Road Bastrop, LA 71220.
3. Grand Isle State Park
This park is located right on the Gulf of Mexico, so bring your tent and camp on the beach! Grand Isle State Park attracts numerous species of birds, so be sure to bring your binoculars and a camera so you can get that perfect shot. Located at 108 Admiral Craik Drive Grand Isle, LA 70358.
4. Lake Bistineau State Park
Lake Bistineau State Park is located on the western side of this 200-year-old lake. The lake was formed in 1800 when thousands of acres of land was flooded due to a massive log jam in the Red River. The park offers stunning views of cypress and tupelo trees, hiking and biking trails, and fishing. In addition to their hiking trails, they have a 6-mile equestrian trail and a disc golf course. and Located at 103 State Park Road Doyline, LA 71023.
5. Palmetto Island State Park
Located on the Vermillion River, Palmetto Island State Park offers six different cabins and 95 campsites so you have several options for lodging. They've got a boat launch if you want to bring your boat, and their interior lagoon is wonderful for kayaking and canoeing. The kids will especially enjoy the splash pad (which opens in May). Located at 19501 Pleasant Road Abbeville, LA 70510.
6. Sam Houston Jones State Park
Sam Houston Jones State Park is 1,087 acres that includes cabins, campsites, hiking trails, ponds, boat launches, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Their trails range from one mile to three miles, each with different (and beautiful) views. The picture above shows the view of the Calcasieu River from the Yellow Trail. Located at 107 Sutherland Road Lake Charles, LA 70611.
7. Bogue Chitto State Park
1,786 acres of streams, swamps, and hardwood forests to explore. There's a 7-mile nature trail you can hike and also a solid 14-mile equestrian trail. The water playground is especially fun for the young ones, as well as the disc golf course. Located at 17049 State Park Blvd. Franklinton, LA 70438.
8. Lake Claiborne State Park
Spend a weekend making memories at one of their lake view cabins, you definitely won't regret it. Lake Claiborne is known for its clear water and beautiful sandy beach. You'll think you're on the Gulf Coast! Located at 225 State Park Road Homer, LA 71040.
9. North & South Toledo Bend State Parks
Two state parks surround Toledo Bend. North Toledo Bend features more than 900 acres of camping and relaxing, including a swimming pool and two hiking/biking trails: a 1.5 mile loop and a longer 4-mile loop. South Toledo Bend is a common nesting ground for bald eagles, so be sure to keep your eye out for these majestic birds. The reservoir is known for its plentiful supply of freshwater fish, and nationally recognized for its bass fishing tournaments. North Toledo Bend State Park is located at 2907 North Toledo Park Road Zwolle, LA 71486 and South Toledo Bend State Park is located at 120 Bald Eagle Road Anacoco, LA 71403.
10. Fairview-Riverside State Park
One of the smallest parks in Louisiana, Fairview-Riverside clocks in at just under 100 acres. But don't let its size fool you, there's still plenty to see. A quarter mile nature hike will lead you around the park and give glimpses of the beautiful Tchefuncte River. The massive house you see when you enter the park is the Otis House, built in the 1880s. Be sure to take a tour of the house and learn more about its history. Located at 119 Fairview Drive Madisonville, LA 70447.
11. Chicot State Park
Visitors can enjoy 6,400 acres of rolling hills and beautiful clear waters of Lake Chicot at this State Park. An extensive 20-mile hiking trail circles around the park, and there's also an 8-mile canoe trail if you're looking to take to the water. Located at 3469 Chicot Park Road Ville Platte, LA 70586.
How many of these state parks have you been to? Which one(s) are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!