Louisiana State Outdoors

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Louisiana State Parks

Bayou Segnette State Park
Not far from the lively urban center of New Orleans lies this South Louisiana retreat--a unique and wonderful wetland area where recreational opportunities abound, as does the opportunity for one-of-a-kind nature-watching. After you have splashed the day away in Bayou Segnette's popular wave pool or skipped across any one of the adjacent waterways by boat, you will be glad you took the time to sit back and watch nature at play--for the wildlife is abundant and the vegetation worth closer study. The park is a meeting point of two types of wetlands--swamp and marsh. What was once swampland has been changed to marsh by the creation of canals. Saltwater intrusion coming into the canals from the Gulf of Mexico created the marsh and has yielded a remarkable habitat for plant and animal life. Alligators' nutria' armadillos, opossum, raccoon, mink, red-tailed hawks, Mississippi kites, red-winged blackbirds, bald eagles, and cardinals are some of the many species that you may happen upon at Bayou Segnette. So keep your eyes open and discover the reason why so many people remain fascinated with the Louisiana wetlands. With boat ramps, a beautiful marsh environment, camping, cabins, a group camp, swimming, fishing and playgrounds, this park offers unforgettable outdoor experiences. For information call: (888)677-2296


Cypremort Point State Park
Sailing, windsurfing, pleasure boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing--if it's a water-related activity, you can enjoy it at Cypremort Point State Park. One of Louisiana's finest areas for sailing, the park includes a sand launch designed especially for catamarans, sunfish and windsurfers. As sailboats and windsurfers race across Vermilion Bay, families picnic, sunbathe, play along the beach and enjoy the spectacle. Between Grand Isle and Cameron, Cypremort Point is the only locality near the Gulf of Mexico that can be reached by car. A half-mile stretch of a man-made beach provides a delightful area for relaxing, picnicking and enjoying the water. It also affords an opportunity for fishing, crabbing, water skiing, windsurfing and, of course, sailing. Numerous picnic tables, barbeque grills and covered picnic pavilions with nearby restroom facilities and outdoor showers are located throughout the park, adding to Cypremort Point's family appeal. For information call: (888)867-4510


Fontainebleau State Park
From the time you stumble upon the ruins of the old sugar mill, drive past the historic oak grove and then discover the vast expanse of Lake Pontchartrain, you'll realize this park is something special. The crumbling brick ruins of a sugar mill built in 1829 by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, founder of the nearby town of Mandeville, suggest an interesting history for this site, and indeed there is. The wealthy Marigny developed this area across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans as a sugar plantation until 1852. The plantation income helped support his lavish lifestyle. He named his large land holding Fontainebleau after the beautiful forest near Paris' a favorite recreation area of the French kings. For information call: (888)677-3668


Lake D'Arbonne State Park
Piney forests, rolling hills, three 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. Picnic tables and covered pavilions are scattered among the trees in the wooded day use area, and 65 improved campsites invite visitors to enjoy a beautiful afternoon excursion or a quiet overnight retreat. The day use and camping areas both have state-of-the-art playground equipment for the children. Fishing piers and boat docks attract visitors to Lake D'Arbonne, the marvelous 15,250-acre centerpiece of the park. Recreation on Lake D'Arbonne is tremendously popular among locals and visitors, and record catches of bass, crappie, catfish and bream make Lake D'Arbonne a fishing haven. Wide open areas of the lake, about seven miles from the park, appeal to water skiers and pleasure boaters. The boat launch at the park opens up all of these opportunities to outdoorsmen. For information call: (888)677-5200


Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park occupies a 6,000 acre site which was once part of the Atchafalaya Basin. Prior to the 20th century, the Basin was a vast swamp enclosed by the natural levees of Bayou Teche and the Mississippi River. The construction of the east and west protection levees isolated the former Atchafalaya swampland; the park site lies within this isolated swamp, bound on the east by the protection levee and on the west by the natural levee of the Teche. The area surrounding the park was formerly the home site of the Chitimacha Indians. From the middle 1700's, the region was dominated by French and Acadian farmers and trappers, although the Spanish were in control of the land from 1763 until 1802. It was during this period that a major influx of Spaniards and Canary Islanders (called Islenos) emigrated to the New Iberia area, contributing to the cultural diversity of this section of Louisiana. Agriculture was the major industry of the area, and in 1830, sugar cane became the dominant crop. After the Civil War, continual difficulties with flooding brought a decline to all farming, and the Basin region developed as a commercial hunting, fishing and lumbering center. Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, at the edge of a beautiful water wilderness, is a perfect point from which to explore the natural and cultural heritage of South Louisiana. Combine your wilderness adventure with a tour of nearby historic areas such as the city of St. Martinville and Longfellow- Evangeline State Historic Site. A stay at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park will be remembered as an introduction to the remarkable diversity of South Louisiana. For information call: (888)677-7200


Camping and Hiking in Louisiana

Chemin-A-Haut State Park
This 503-acre park near the Louisiana-Arkansas state line is situated on a high bluff overlooking Bayou Bartholomew and is a natural paradise for lovers of unspoiled beauty. Chemin-A-Haut is French for "high road", which describes an old trail used by the Native Americans for their seasonal migrations. It is easy to imagine ancient tribesmen camping in this beautiful setting among towering virgin pines, with soft sounds of water rippling by to lull them into restful sleep. Present-day visitors can camp like the Native Americans, but with many more modern conveniences. They need not, for example, sleep on the ground, or bathe and wash their clothes in Bayou Bartholomew or nearby Bayou Chemin-A-Haut. There are 26 campsites at the park, each including water and electricity. Located nearby is a dump station and a comfort station with showers and restroom facilities. A rally camping area is also available for groups. For those less interested in "roughing it", the park has six vacation cabins' complete with bedroom, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, screened porch and a fireplace. The air-conditioned and heated cabins have two double beds and can comfortably sleep four people, with a maximum capacity of six. A group camp accommodates up to 38 guests, dormitory style. The group camp has a kitchen/dining area, and the meeting lodge a spacious conference room for meetings or informal gatherings. For information call: (888)677-2436


St. Bernard State Park
Warm breezes flowing through the shady trees and that special kind of quiet that comes with nature are part of the charm and attraction of St. Bernard State Park. Yet the 358-acre site is just 19 miles away from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans, French Quarter. St. Bernard State Park is the ideal spot for visitors who are seeking a natural experience, as well as for campers who don't want to or cannot stray far from civilization. With public transportation to New Orleans within a half-mile of the park, many campers consider combining a camping vacation with a touring vacation of the New Orleans area. The Chalmette National Historic Park, Jackson Barracks, and other historic sites and plantation homes are also nearby. Located right along the Mississippi River, the park contains a network of man-made lagoons which provides a peaceful, natural setting for relaxation. Woodlands meet wetlands in St. Bernard, resulting in a diverse habitat for wildlife, including rabbits, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, turtles, alligators, and a wide variety of birds. The nature trail through the park is the perfect way to introduce children to the joy of discovery in nature. Located right along the Mississippi River, the park contains a network of man-made lagoons which provides a peaceful, natural setting for relaxation. Woodlands meet wetlands in St. Bernard, resulting in a diverse habitat for wildlife, including rabbits, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, turtles, alligators, and a wide variety of birds. The nature trail through the park is the perfect way to introduce children to the joy of discovery in nature. For information call: (888)677-7823


Lake Bistineau State Park
Situated on the western shore of Lake Bistineau, this park offers a satisfying blend of beautiful vistas and outstanding recreational facilities. Memorable for its upland mixed hardwood forest, its open waters, and its enchanting stands of cypress and tupelo trees, the park offers two boat launches, hiking trails, playgrounds, two swimming pools, a lakefront beach, a baseball field, camping, cabins, lodges, and excellent fishing. Lake Bistineau State Park has a lot to offer the angler, but fishing is certainly not the end of the recreation story. This beautiful spot in northwest Louisiana offers many recreation opportunities in both sections of the park--Area 1 and Area 2. Area 1, or the main section of the park, is accessed from LA 163. Picnicking along the lake is tremendously popular at numerous sites equipped with tables, grills, and nearby restrooms. Several picnic pavilions are also available for larger groups. A park naturalist is on hand to take you along one of the park's nature trails or offer a variety of programs which are guaranteed to bring the natural beauty and wildlife of the park to life. A play area, a boat ramp and launch, or a quiet spot for swimming in the lake among the cypress and tupelo trees may suit your wishes. Take advantage of the rental boats that are also available. Area 1 also has provisions for those who want to spend the night. Fourteen vacation cabins, complete with bedrooms, bathrooms, and fully equipped kitchens, are extremely popular attractions. A charming lodge that sleeps 12 is great for large families or a group. The cabins and the lodge have central air conditioning and heat, making them comfortable year-round. Playgrounds will delight young guests of the park. For the camper, there are 67 improved campsites with water and electricity, nearby restrooms, showers, and a dump station. The park includes a rally campground for groups. Groups may also enjoy the group camp in Area 1 which provides sleeping quarters for up to 160 people in 20 cabins, a fully equipped kitchen, and a swimming pool. This is a favorite for family reunions and church gatherings. For information call: (888)677-2478


Lake Claiborne State Park
Take your pick: swimming, fishing' birding, boating of all kinds, waterskiing, camping, hiking or just plain relaxing and enjoying unsurpassed natural beauty. It's all here at Lake Claiborne State Park. From the moment you drive into this 620-acre recreational facility, the remarkable beauty of nature unfolds before you. The piney woods, the rolling hills, and the cool, clear waters of Lake Claiborne inspire the outdoor enthusiast in all of us. Campers are invited to hook up at one of the 87 campsites with water and electricity' picnic tables, and barbeque grills. Primitive group camping is also available, and a comfort station and laundry facilities will ensure that your stay is a pleasant one. Fishermen and water sportsmen may enjoy an excursion on one of the available rental boats, or they can launch their own vessels from the boat ramp. A boathouse with restrooms and a fishing pier completes the waterfront facilities. Primitive canoe campsites are also available for the adventurous. One of the most popular activities for visitors of all ages is swimming at the park's sandy beach. The beach is situated on an inlet of the lake, and is protected from boats and waterskiers. So work up an appetite for that fresh fish supper by taking a brisk swim in Lake Claiborne's famous clear water. Ecologists and sportsmen alike hail the lake's excellent water quality, and you will too, once you've made the trip to Lake Claiborne. Once on site, you will see the area come to life as a park naturalist will be available to present nature-based programs and give guided hikes. The woods of Lake Claiborne are also home to a wide variety of wildlife. A lovely nature trail will allow you to appreciate the beauty of the area at your own pace. Or you may be interested in a variety of nature tours, offered on a regular basis. For information call: (888)677-2524


Sam Houston Jones State Park
Crystal clear waters, towering trees, and beautiful vistas along unspoiled rivers and streams make this area a delight for those who enjoy natural beauty at its finest. Originally named for the Texas folk hero who traveled extensively in the western reaches of Louisiana, Sam Houston Jones was given its current name in honor of the state's 37th governor, who was instrumental in setting aside this tract of land for the public to enjoy. Campers and picnickers alike find the same breathtaking beauty that has always attracted people to this nature-perfect setting at the confluence of the West Fork of the Calcasieu and Houston Rivers and Indian Bayou. Tree-filled lagoons and a mixed pine and hardwood forest combine to create a unique natural environment. For those who wish to stay overnight, the park offers 12 vacation cabins and 73 campsites. The cabins include either one or two bedrooms, a living/dining area, a bathroom, and a fully outfitted kitchen, complete with cooking and eating utensils. Bed linens are also provided, and each cabin has central air conditioning and heat. The two campgrounds, located alongside the lagoons, feature improved sites with water and electricity. Dump stations, restrooms, and showers are located nearby. The two hiking trails winding through this beautiful park make strolling or serious hiking, pleasurable. Particularly interesting is the old stagecoach road, which hikers may travel to explore the park and the banks of the various tributaries to the Calcasieu River. A park naturalist will be on hand to offer exciting nature programs and hikes to bring the site to life for visitors. For information call: (888)677-7264


Hunting and Fishing in Louisiana

Caney Lake State Park
Welcome all fishermen! Long known as one of the premier trophy bass-fishing lakes, Caney Lake can boast that nine of the state's top ten bass were caught in these waters. So cast your line and reel them in--enjoy a great day on the fish-filled waters of Caney Lake. Located on a peninsula in this grand lake, the park offers two boat launches and a fishing pier that cater to all types of sportsmen. Waterskiing is another way to enjoy the clear waters of the lake, which was created by damming Caney Creek in 1986. Don't forget to look back at the lakeshore to appreciate the beautiful mixed pine and hardwood forest surrounding the lake and the birds and animals that make the forest their home. For information call: (888)677-2263


Chicot State Park
Fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking programs--Chicot has all this and much more. The park covers over 6'400 acres of rolling hills and water in South Central Louisiana. The cool, clear waters of Lake Chicot have yielded record catches of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and red-ear sunfish. Fishermen will enjoy the convenient boathouse, three boat launches and boat rental facilities. Chicot also boasts a unique combination of natural resources on land. Mature hardwood uplands and extensive beech-magnolia forest areas add to the beauty of the cypress-tupelo forested lake environment. Large numbers of deer, raccoon and other wildlife live in the surrounding woods. A "Guide to Birds of Louisiana" is available for bird watchers. The 300-acre Louisiana State Arboretum, an area devoted to a living, natural exhibition of over 150 species of plant life native to Louisiana, is located one-and-a-half miles to the main entrance. For information call: (888)677-2442


Fairview-Riverside State Park
Once you've strolled under the moss-draped oaks, waterskied on the smooth, clear Tchefuncte River, or wet a line in the waters of nearby Lake Pontchartrain, you've begun to sample the many outdoor opportunities offered by Fairview-Riverside State Park. The cool, crystal-clear waters of the Tchefuncte River yield bass, bluegill, white perch, and bream near the park area, and channel catfish, speckled trout, and redfish where the river meets the lake. Fishing from the river bank, the pier, or a boat offers unmatched delights for even the most casual fisherman. Crabbing in the lake and the river is also popular. For information call: (888)677-3247


Grand Isle State Park
Since the days of Jean and Pierre Lafitte, who carried on their notorious smuggling business in these waters, Grand Isle has been on the route of commerce and industry. French exploration of the islands and subsequent settlement of sugar plantations occurred in the 1730's. Just before the Civil War, Fort Livingston was constructed across the Barataria Pass from Grand Isle State Park. It was part of a United States defense system begun by President James Monroe and protected the Barataria approach to New Orleans. Today most business activity consists of shrimpers and other fishing boats carrying their cargo to New Orleans and markets throughout the area. And ever present are the offshore oil rigs dotting the horizon, busily extracting energy sources from below the Gulf, and incidentally providing superb fishing spots around their supporting structures. Over 280 species of fish are known to make their home in the waters off the coast of Grand Isle. Brown pelicans--the state bird of Louisiana--dive into the water. Seagulls appear to float on the wind above the shore. Crabs nimbly scamper out of reach of the children chasing them with their nets. Peaceful lagoons and ponds provide more opportunities for fishing--in the water or from the lagoon's pier, equipped with a fish-cleaning station. For information call: (888)787-2559


Lake Bruin State Park
There are over 3,000 acres of water surface on Lake Bruin' and the visitors to Lake Bruin State Park have access to every acre for incomparable fishing, superb water sports and fine outdoor living. But mere acreage statistics could never do justice to this beautiful, clear oxbow lake that was once part of the Mississippi River or its majestic cypress trees that have stood here since DeSoto explored the river. The 53-acre site was originally established in 1928 as a fish hatchery. The system of levees which contained the fish can still be seen today from our elevated roadways that wind through the park. On July 10, 1956, legislation was signed authorizing the development of the park. Initially called Lake Bruin Wayside Park, the name was later changed to Lake Bruin State Park. The park is water-oriented and is widely known for excellent fishing, boating, and waterskiing. The old cypress trees in the lake and beautiful sunsets over the water are special bonuses for park visitors. Three large fishing piers, a year-round boat launch, and a boat shed for docking make things convenient for the casual or serious fisherman. Rental boats are available. Largemouth bass fishing is popular all year round' but the best months are April, May, June, September and October. Crappie (white perch) are taken around the piers and mats in the early spring. Bluegill fishing is best in the shallower waters at both ends of the lake. For information call: (888)677-2784


Other Louisiana Outdoor activities

Louisiana also offers the following outdoor activities:
  • Birding
  • Boating
  • Golfing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Windsurfing