Friends sit in the light of a campfire and tell tales, an act of camaraderie that goes back millennia. Lovers cling together on a starry night, gazing up into the sparkling blackness. Families ramble down a woodland trail, away from the routine of daily living, and the children revel in a feeling of freedom and adventure. In Louisiana’s state parks, the joys of camping are at their finest. But they come in a bit of a different package.
Few other places offer bayou-side camp sites and a chance to explore cypress forests or sleep in a cabin perched on piers directly over the water. And where else can camping place you amidst the most elegant collection of waterfowl in North America?
Naturally, Louisiana’s parks take advantage of the state’s wealth of water, and many are named after the waters they touch. Several parks celebrate the state’s lovely lakes. At Lake Fausse Pointe, you can sleep in a cabin on piers, and paddling is the best way to see the park.
Other state parks center around scenic rivers, like Bogue Chitto, where tubers glide peacefully along the waters. Cypremort Point State Park, on Vermilion Bay in south central Louisiana, gives visitors boat access to the Gulf of Mexico. Hodges Gardens State Park in western Louisiana is built around a lake and features the lush gardens as a focus.
Many of the tent-camping sites in Louisiana’s state parks are nestled among piney woods overlook sparkling waters. Sharon Broussard, public information director for the Louisiana Office of State Parks, says Louisiana has made an aggressive push in recent decades to expand park facilities. She says the state has done so in a way that specifically gives visitors access to fishing and outdoor water activities. “We just want to be able to help preserve our state’s natural treasures and provide an opportunity for future generations to be able to enjoy them,” Broussard says.
All 22 state parks offer some combination of tent-camping, cabins, group camps and RV sites. For park-by-park details, see Louisiana State Parks.