Named after one of Louisiana’s most beloved governors (and, fun fact: the man who wrote state song “You Are My Sunshine”), Jimmie Davis State Park is a charming waterfront refuge on the shores of Caney Creek Reservoir.
It’s popular with families, fishermen, cyclists and campers. Thanks to the park’s unique geography, located on a narrow peninsula with numerous inlets, you’re never more than a skipping-stone’s throw away from the water. That’s just one reason why boaters and fishermen rave about Jimmie Davis State Park. Another is because of what lies beneath — absolutely huge, trophy- and grill-worthy fish. The fattest largemouth bass and redear sunfish in state history were landed here, as of 2016. There are plenty of bluegill lurking in these waters as well.
Off the water, you’ll be impressed by some of the prettiest scenery in north Louisiana — all of it preserved for your enjoyment. The hilly upland forest, just 30 miles from the state’s highest peak, entices mountain bikers and hikers. For a more serene experience, this pine and hardwood forest serves as a backdrop for picnics, lazing about on the beach, and watching the younger visitors let loose on the playgrounds.
Bed down in one of the park’s lakefront cabins, group lodges or RV camp spots. For extra large groups, Jimmie Davis State Park offers dormitories with a dining hall and a designated playground and pier.
Beyond the park’s borders, you’ll find plenty of rural attractions worth exploring. Check a few other state parks off your list by visiting Lake Claiborne, Lake D’Arbonne and Poverty Point Reservoir. In Ruston, look up the Louisiana Military Museum, and in Monroe and West Monroe, Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, Duck Commander Warehouse and West Monroe’s antique alley are just a few of the attractions.
Entrance fee: $3 per person; free for seniors age 62 and older, and children age 3 and younger.