Fun on the water – boating, water sports and more
The best way to experience nature in many parts of Louisiana is not behind the wheel of a car or on foot, but from a boat.
With water covering about one-fifth of the state’s land area, a day of fun on the water is a short drive from just about any point on the Louisiana map. In fact, the best way to experience nature in many parts of Louisiana is not behind the wheel of a car or on foot, but from a boat.
You can take a fan-boat ride across the marshlands south of New Orleans. Or wander by motor-boat through the shady cypress bayous of the Atchafalaya Basin between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. If you’re part of the sailing set, Lake Pontchartrain should not be missed. Positioned between New Orleans and the Florida Parishes, it is one of the largest lakes in the United States, and is nearly unmatched in size in the Southeast. Its vastness allows sailors to get far from shore, to a tranquil space owned entirely by the wind and the water – or even glide all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
On the lake’s north shore, a collection of meandering scenic rivers furnish prime tubing waters. If you’re traveling with friends or family and want to spend quality time on the water together, it’s hard to beat a leisurely glide downstream. Check out the Bogue Chitto River in Washington Parish or the Amite River east of Baton Rouge. South Louisiana can get hot in the summer months, and tubing lets you spend the day outdoors without getting cooked.
Throughout Louisiana, you can find attractive spots for water-skiing and jet-skiing. Most of the 21 state parks include a lake of some size, often with easily accessible boat ramps, canoe and kayak rentals and dedicated swimming areas, including pools. In north Louisiana, no fewer than seven state parks, with numerous lakes, bayous and reservoirs in woodsy surroundings, make the area ideal for water-borne fun.
At the middle western edge of the state, the colossal Toledo Bend Reservoir is a favorite spot. Both North and South Toledo Bend State Parks are chock-full of recreation opportunities, both on and surrounding the sprawling reservoir. To the east, not far from Baton Rouge, skiers gravitate to an ox-bow lake called False River in Pointe Coupee Parish. It offers sparkling waters and ample accommodations for visitors, including launch and rental facilities, and some great waterside restaurants. This being Louisiana, the fishing is superior in any of these locations, and they also make good swimming holes. So regardless of where you go in Louisiana, there’s not only plenty of H20 – but also a wide variety of fun to be had on the water.