East of the city of Monroe, in north Louisiana, is Richland Parish. The parish certainly lives up to its name. Its quiet pastures, serene cotton fields and lush forests make for a pleasant drive. Country star Tim McGraw is a favorite son, and it’s easy to see how the parish could inspire such a songwriter. Golfers will find a bit of extra zing in their swing at the Black Bear Golf Course, which is considered one of the best courses in Louisiana. For general relaxation, there’s Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. Amenities there include boat rentals and camp sites, and you can spend the day fishing or just paddling around in a canoe. For a trip into the wilds of the world, there’s the High Delta Ranch. Visitors meet wildebeests, zebras and exotic deer. The parish seat, Rayville, retains the quaint charms of its origins as a historic railroad town.