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Natural Beauties: Louisiana's State Parks

Posted by Jennifer Frazier on September 13, 2016

Louisiana boasts 19 state parks, all of which show off the vast natural beauty of the Bayou State. From a place where you can experience firsthand the history of the area to eerie swamps where you’ll need to keep an eye out for gators, Louisiana is a great state to enjoy the great outdoors.

Subscribe to Rethink:RuralThis is the part of a series of articles about favorite state parks in the Southern United States. See also:

1. Fontainebleau State Park

400_Fontainebleau_State_Park_kayaking.jpgWhere: Mandeville

The story behind this 2,800-acre state park, situated about 20 miles outside of New Orleans, is equally as fascinating as the attraction itself, which is exactly why this is the most visited state park in the state. Located on the site of a former sugar plantation built in 1829 by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, the park is home to the crumbling bricks that remain from the old sugar mill. See this piece of history and later enjoy passing sailboats and a sandy shore perfect for beach lovers. There are also trails for hiking and cycling.

2. Bayou Segnette State Park

Where: Westwego

Start in New Orleans and travel 30 miles over the Mississippi River, and you have arrived at Bayou Segnette State Park. Rent a cabin, go fishing (both salt and freshwater), picnic, swim in the wave pool and bird watch. Fishing enthusiasts appreciate the variety of catch available, including catfish, bass, perch, redfish, bream and trout--and the location, as the Bass Master anglers compete here.

3. Tickfaw State Park

Where: Springfield

When you visit this state park, you’ll find more than one ecosystem. In fact, you’ll get four. Boasting the Tickfaw River, a pine forest, a bottomland hardwood forest and a cypress swamp, the Tickfaw State Park is ideal for the nature enthusiast. Take a guided hike on the boardwalks, rent a cabin and listen to swamp creatures, watch a program at the outdoor amphitheater at the nature center or simply stroll the park at your own pace, taking in the sights as sounds.

Tickfaw_State_Park_board_walk.jpg

4. Lake Bruin State Park

Where: St. Joseph

Lake_Bruin_State_Park_boat_launch.jpgWater lovers, here’s your happy place. Lake Bruin boasts more than 3,000 acres of water surface, and state park visitors have access to all of the lake. Thus, when you visit the state park, it’s water galore! Enjoy freshwater fishing, water sports, camping and hiking.  

5. Chicot State Park

Where: Ville Platte

Located in the south central part of the state, Chicot State Park covers more than 6,400 acres of rolling hills and the waters of Lake Chicot, bringing the perfect blend of water and land activities.  Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and red-ear sunfish entice anglers, as well as a boathouse, three boat launches and boat rental facilities. Mature hardwoods and an extensive beech-magnolia forest make for the perfect home for birds, deer and other wildlife. Make sure you visit the 300-acre Louisiana State Arboretum, an attraction boasting morethan  150 species of plant life native to the state, located near the main entrance of the park.

6. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Where: New Orleans, Lafayette, Thibodaux, Eunice and Marrero

Actually a national park, but we had to throw this one in. Silver and gold were the treasure of this area when Jean Lafitte was a pirate in the early 19th century. Today, nature is the true gem, where you can spy an alligator on a bayou bank, resting Brown Pelicans (the state bird) and a swamp, laden with moss-covered trees. Don’t be confused, as this state park actually consists of six, yes six, separate sites and a park headquarters. The sites in Lafayette, Thibodaux, and Eunice represent Louisiana’s Acadian culture (meaning the 17th century French colonists). For uplands, swamps and marshland, visit the Barataria Preserve (in Marrero). Right outside of New Orleans (a mere 5 miles) is the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and the final resting place for soldiers from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and Vietnam. And, the visitor’s center calls the New Orlean’s French Quarter home. Bottom line, with this much to see and do, plan accordingly before your visit.

All images except top photo courtesy of Louisiana State Parks.

Chicot_State_Park_tent_camping.jpg
A camper relaxes at Chicot State Park.

Jennifer Frazier

After 10 years as a travel writer for Southern Living Magazine, Jen Frazier traded in the corporate world to stay home with her two children, three dogs and three hermit crabs.

Now she juggles carpool and laundry with writing for the Great American Country website, AAA Texas Journey Magazine and Texas Monthly Magazine, as well as blogging for thejensource.blogspot.com While she lives in the big metropolis of Dallas, she longs for weekends in the country. To learn more about this award-winning writer (recipient of the Barbara Jordan Award and the Luce Award), visit her website at jennifermfrazier.com

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