Sure, there are the famous Gulf Coast beaches of Florida and Texas. But here in Louisiana, we have some gorgeous sandy spots of our own – they’re just not as well known. While the Spring Breakers amass in Panama City and Galveston, such unexpected oceanside treasures as Grand Isle and Holly Beach offer more nuanced surprises. Check out some of south Louisiana’s finest, and see another side of the Pelican State.
Travel two hours south of New Orleans, through the swamps and into the barrier islands, and turn left just before the road ends. You’ll soon find yourself on Grand Isle, a tiny oceanside town and barrier island overlooking Caminada Bay. This is arguably the most famous of Louisiana’s beaches, and for good reason. Its proximity to the Crescent City makes it an easy daytrip for city dwellers, and the redfish and tarpon fishing here – as is the case everywhere in southern Louisiana – is second to none. Explore the ten miles of coastline here, check out some of the many migratory birds that temporarily call the island “home,” or simply lounge in the sand.
You’ll know you’re getting close to Holly Beach when you start seeing the clusters of houses on stilts. This beach town south of Lake Charles, near Sulphur, marks the western edge of what locals call the Cajun Riviera, a 30-mile stretch of south Louisiana coastline dotted by marshes and rivers. Camping is allowed on the beach, and the numerous rental houses and RV areas might convince you to stick around for more than just a day.
Cypremort Point Beach
Cypremort Point State Park is home to this picturesque beach overlooking Vermilion Bay. Windsurfing and fishing are popular here; for boat-less visitors, Cypremort Point has a great fishing pier. Overnight visitors to the area should check out one of the six cabins on site.
North Beach, located in the de facto southwest Louisiana capital of Lake Charles, is your best bet at finding a true urban beach. The fact that it’s located more than 20 miles from the ocean highlights its distinction as the only inland white sand beach between Texas and Florida. At North Beach (also known as I-10 Beach), you’ll find a boardwalk that connects three of Lake Charles’ well-known parks, including Millennium Park, the September 11th Memorial and Veteran’s Memorial Park. Laze about in the sand, show off your volleyball skills, or show up during one of Lake Charles’ many festivals. Urban beachcombers never had it so good.
Fontainebleau State Park
Families and sunbathers delight in the beauty of the white sand beaches of Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. Stunning views of Lake Pontchartrain provide a beautiful backdrop for a lazy day on the beach. Or more active types will enjoy exploring the park's sugar mill ruins, hiking the 6 miles of trail, biking the Tammany Trace or a paddle along the lakeshore. Bring the family and camp for a fun-filled weekend.