By LouisianaTravel.com Staff

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The playground makes St. Bernard State Park a great day getaway for families with small children.

Drive just a few miles southeast of New Orleans, through oak-lined expanses of St. Bernard Highway that hug the Mississippi River, and you’ll find yourself in the swamps, forest and lagoons of St. Bernard State Park.

This is the perfect day trip or overnight excursion from the Big Easy. Find picnic tables and barbecue grills at spots overlooking the forest, and enjoy getting together with friends or family no matter the weather under the covered pavilion near the center of the park. Summer is one of the best times to visit, when kids can run free in St. Bernard State Park’s water playground.

Short hiking trails run between the roads leading into the park. One takes visitors across a lagoon onto an island overlooking wetlands typical of this far corner of the Greater New Orleans region. For overnighters, RV campsites are conveniently located throughout St. Bernard State Park.

Plenty of nearby attractions await visitors just beyond the park’s boundaries. The charms of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Garden District, music and architecture are a short drive. Closer to St. Bernard State Park, you’ll find Chalmette Battlefield, part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve where the deciding battle in the War of 1812 was fought. Another nearby 19th century relic, Fort Pike State Historic Site, was built to protect New Orleans but was never used; today you can walk through the haunting casements once occupied by U.S. soldiers.

Entrance fee: Free

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