5 Must-Visit Parks in Louisiana

Louisiana offers a range of beautiful parks
Louisiana offers a range of beautiful parks | © Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ildiko Hetesi
3 August 2020

Louisiana is home to many beautiful parks, so it’s easy to find one where you can spend a sunny day outside. With opportunities for wildlife watching, fishing and water sports as well as parks with cabins or campsites, there’s no limit to the adventures you can have during your visit to this southern US state. Check out our top five parks in Louisiana.

Fontainebleau State Park

Natural Feature, Park
Map View
The fishing pier on Lake Pontchartrain at sunset, Fontainebleau State Park, Louisiana, USA.
© agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Wealthy landowner Bernard de Marigny Mandeville named this large property after a forest outside of Paris that was favored by French kings. The park has two excellent hiking trails – Sugarmill Nature Trail and Bayou Cane Hike – and to see wildlife, there is an easy walk taking you down to Pontchartrain Lake, the tremendous blackish estuary north of New Orleans. The ruins of an old sugar mill are still visible close to the entrance and visitors’ center, and the view over Lake Pontchartrain is a sight to behold, especially at sunset. The lake is an important ecological factor in the greater New Orleans area and an unmissable place to visit.

Lake Claiborne

Park, Natural Feature
Map View

Lake Claiborne is a fisher’s dream come true. It is arguably the best freshwater fishing site in the state, and one of the eight stops on the Louisiana Bass Trail. Lake Claiborne, actually a recreational dam created by the US Army Corps of Engineers, is the most scenic lake in Louisiana. The state park sits at the southern end of the lake and provides a great base for various water activities and a gateway to further discover Northern Louisiana. There are four other state parks within driving distance, as well as the historic town of Homer with its collection of antebellum houses.

Tickfaw State Park

Natural Feature, Park
Map View
A swamp at Tickfaw State Park, located 7 mi (11 km) west of Springfield, in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, USA.
© Roberto Michel / Alamy Stock Photo
This state park, on the Tickfaw River, is almost a two-hour drive from New Orleans, but it is worth the ride. A visit will take you through four different ecosystems characteristic of Louisiana: a cypress/tupelo swamp, a bottomland hardwood forest, a mixed pine-hardwood forest and the ecosystem of the Tickfaw River itself. The park has nearly five miles of boarded and graveled trails for walkers and hikers, and biking and kayaking are also possible. Take time to observe the wildlife, such as alligators, snakes, turtles and diverse migratory birds, while exploring the cycle of life of the flood plains and learning about the remote wilderness of southern Louisiana.

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

Natural Feature, Park
Map View

Witness nature at its best in the heart of the Atchafalaya basin. The largest swamp in the United States, this is the place where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico meet, and this park is a fantastic introduction to what a swampland is. Three different and very important heritages of Louisiana overlap at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park – Native, French and Spanish – and in the park you can experience these cultures and their effect on the landscape. The vegetation is lush, and the air is buzzing with bugs and loud with birdsong. If you decide to stay overnight, the state park has cabins sitting right on the water’s edge to make wildlife observation easier.

Grand Isle State Park

Map View
Louisiana, Jefferson Parish, Grand Isle State Park, view from observation tower overlooking fishing pier, children on field trip
© Stephen Saks Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
A two-hour drive from New Orleans will take you to the edge of this state and to Grand Isle State Park. Located at the north end of Grand Isle, this state park features a natural beach ridge facing nothing but the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which serves as a breakwater to protect the inland channels leading towards the bayou and the Mississippi River. Grand Isle State Park is a great place to go for hiking, birdwatching, fishing, deep-sea saltwater fishing and swimming. The state park’s Fishing Pier is a much-photographed landmark and well worth seeking out during your day of ocean, wildlife and fresh air.
These recommendations were updated on August 3, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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