There are 22 state parks to explore in Louisiana and the different features of each showcase the diversity of the landscapes in this state. The parks have natural features, including hills, marshlands, water trails, inlets, wildlands, coastal wetlands, and forested areas. If you are visiting Louisiana and you enjoy spending time outdoors, then you should visit as many of the state parks as possible. Time limitations may mean it is not possible to visit them all, so here are the 10 best state parks in Louisiana to help you decide which to include in your itinerary.
10. Fairview-Riverside State Park
Fairview-Riverside State Park is a gorgeous place to experience Louisiana’s natural beauty and also to see some historic structures. The park is home to Otis House, which was built in the 1880s by sawmill owner William Theodore Jay and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Amidst the beautiful surroundings, there are many amenities for visitors to enjoy, such as picnic sites, comfort stations, a group pavilion, and a playground.
9. Cypremort Point State Park
Located close to the Gulf of Mexico between Cameron and Grand Mile, Cypremort Point State Park boasts a half-mile stretch of beach, where visitors can enjoy activities including swimming, relaxing, fishing, picnicking, sailing, boating, windsurfing, and water skiing. There is a boat launch and a 100-foot fishing pier. This park is one of the best places to enjoy watching the sunsets over Vermillion Bay.
8. Chemin-A-Haut State Park
One of the best state parks in Louisiana is Chemin-A-Haut State Park. It is also a fantastic place to visit for families, as there is something for everyone to enjoy. There are stunning views of the Bayou Bartholomew from a high bluff and a swimming pool for adult visitors. For children, there is a children’s only swimming complex with a wading pool and two playgrounds. Furthermore, there are five group picnicking areas and 35 family-designated picnicking sites.
7. Bogue Chitto State park
In terms of the diversity of the landscapes within the park, Bogue Chitto State Park is one of the best state parks to visit in Louisiana. Across 1,786 acres, there are small streams, cypress-tupelo swamps, rolling landscapes, and hardwood forests. A highlight for many visitors is Fricke’s Cave, which was formed by erosion and features a gorge with sandstone spires. Visitors can view the spires from boardwalks. Other activities to enjoy within the park are hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding.
6. Bayou Segnette State Park
Vacation Idea lists Bayou Segnette State Park as one of the best state parks in Louisiana, and it is less than half an hour away from New Orleans. Like many of Louisiana’s state parks, Bayou Segnette State Park is a popular spot for fishing. The most common species in the park’s lake include trout, redfish, bass, and catfish. The lake is also used for boating and canoeing, and it is lined with campsites. However, there is a lot more to enjoy in the park beyond the lake, including hiking, swimming in the wave pool, and picnicking. Visitors can also enjoy seeing the swamps and marshland, and children can have fun in the playgrounds.
5. Fountainebleau State Park
Fountainebleau State Park is less than an hour from New Orleans, yet the pristine surroundings defy the proximity of the park to the city. Lake Pontchartrain sits within this state park, and visitors can kayak across the lake and through the cypress trees. Around the lake, there is a man-made beach with soft sands where people enjoy walking and relaxing. There is a trail along a converted rail line at one end of the park that people use for walking, horseback riding, and biking. The trail is part of the 31-mile Tammany Trace path.
4. Lake Claiborne State Park
Lake Claiborne is known as one of the top spots in Louisiana for freshwater fishing, especially for pickerel, bream, crappie, bluegill, striped bass, and channel catfish. Sandy beaches line the lake, which is surrounded by pine forests in which there are log cabins for overnight stays. Lake Claiborne State Park also has two disc golf courses.
3. North Toledo Bend State Park
North Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest man-made lake in the Southern United States, and it is one of the top fishing destinations in the country, especially for bass fishery. Although fishing is the top activity, visitors to this park can also enjoy canoeing, hiking, and biking. There is also a swimming pool and a playground to keep children entertained during a visit. Some people enjoy staying overnight on one of the campgrounds so they can watch the sun setting over the lake.
2. Chicot State Park
Chicot State Park sits between the hills of central Louisiana and the Atchafalaya Basin swamps. The park is known for some of the most breathtaking vistas in the Bayou State. It is the largest state park in Louisiana, as it measures 6,400-acres. The park is home to the Louisiana State Arboretum, which is an interesting attraction to visit during your time in the park. There are multiple trails through Chicot State Park, and these run through forested areas with beeches, hickories, magnolias, sycamores, and maples. Another feature of the park is Chicot Lake, which is lined with campsites and is a fantastic place to try canoeing.
1. Poverty Point Reservoir State Park
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the best state park in Louisiana is Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. Many people head to the park to fish for largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie in the reservoir. However, there are many more things to enjoy at this location. It is along the Mississippi Flyway, which is a major bird migration route, so it attracts birdwatchers. There are also trails running through the park that gives visitors the opportunity to see the Louisiana black bear, which is an endangered species.
Written by Liz Flynn
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