Ten Things to Do in Toledo Bend Lake Country
Gorgeous scenery, Toledo Bend Reservoir, tamales, festivals, state parks and more.
Sabine Parish is Toledo Bend Lake Country. It sits on the east side of Toledo Bend Reservoir offering miles of water and land recreation opportunities. The area's history is deeply influenced by it's earliest times of Native American Indians, Spanish settlers, American settlers and these influences are seen and honored today.
Come play in the outdoors, stay for the weekend, experience a festival or two.
1. North Toledo Bend and South Toledo Bend State Parks
Toledo Bend Lake, the largest man-made lake in the South, is a legendary destination for outdoors lovers of all stripes. Toledo Bend’s biggest claim to fame is its bass fishing opportunities, which have repeatedly earned it the No. 1 spot on Bassmaster magazine’s No. 1 top bass fishing destinations.
North and South Toledo Bend State Parks offer anglers, mountain bikers, birders, hikers and campers an awesome introduction to this fishing mecca. North Toledo Bend, in Zwolle, has 900 acres of waterfront fun and spectacular scenery. There’s easy access to the lake here, with a boat launch and boat rentals, and for those looking to stay on land, there are a couple hiking and biking trails, as well as swimming pools (open seasonally) for cooling off in the summer. Camping options range from deluxe cabins to RV sites.
South Toledo Bend State Park, in Anacoco, showcases another side of the park. When you’re not on the water, check out the park’s trails, outfitted for off-highway vehicles and hikers alike, and the observation deck overlooking the lake and islands. Camping options include deluxe cabins, more than two dozen RV sites and tent campsites as well.
Cypress Bend Park, located in Many, is a 114-acre park in the popular central part of Toledo Bend. The park’s beautiful beach provides relaxing views and epic sunsets over the water. Visitors love to lounge in the sand and families can play in the playground area. Stay overnight in the large RV park or rent one of the park’s cabins, many of which are located under a pine umbrella along the shoreline, are a favorite in the area.
The six-lane boat launch area with large outdoor pavilion make this park the favorite on the lake for large fishing tournaments and family reunions. Cypress Bend Park is owned and operated by the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana.
Cypress Bend Golf Resort, Spa & Conference Center offers a complete package for those seeking relaxation in the west Louisiana hill country. There, you’ll find an 18-hole championship golf course within close view of the lake, 600 acres of manicured gardens, spa services and accommodations that include two-bedroom golf suites.
Even among Louisiana’s 400-plus annual festivals, the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta stands out. Held the second weekend in October, the fest honors the heritage of Spanish settlers and American Indians who created west-central Louisiana’s unique culture. And what’s more: it’s an absolutely delicious way to spend a weekend. Get your fill of tamales while enjoying the parade, carnival rides, live music and pageants. Learn more about the Zwolle Tamale Fiesta.
Sabine Parish is located at the northernmost point of El Camino Real de los Tejas — the famed “Royal Road” that linked Mexico City with Spanish settlements in what’s today Texas and Louisiana. The road ends at Los Adaes State Historic Site in Robeline, and it crosses through Fort Jesup State Historic Site in Many. These State Historic Sites reveal fascinating stories of life on the frontier as it was lived more than 300 years ago.
The Choctaw-Apache tribe, one of the largest American Indian tribes in Louisiana, welcomes visitors every spring to its annual Powwow, going stronger than ever after more than 20 years. Located in the village of Ebarb, the Powwow features local food, crafts and lots of dancing.
This driving trail, part of the Louisiana Trails & Byways program, gives visitors the chance to see some of the region’s spectacular scenery and learn about its history and culture — all without leaving the driver’s seat. This trail encompasses the entire eastern side of Toledo Bend Lake, taking visitors past overlooks, little-known bayous and remote pine forests.
Big trucks and big fun await visitors to this annual Easter weekend festival, where drivers take their rigs through a 525-foot mud pit and compete for a $10,000 payout. This family-friendly event is more than just the trucks, though. There’s mud bogging for teens with ATVs, a big-tire limousine on site and live entertainment throughout the weekend.
There aren’t too many festivals you’ll find that celebrate outlaws like this one. The Sabine Freestate Festival, a family-friendly event held the first weekend of November in the village of Florien, honors the strange and fascinating past of this region that was once known as “the Neutral Strip,” a buffer zone between Spain and the United States in the years following the Louisiana Purchase. Both nations claimed it as their own, but instead of fighting over it, they removed their troops from the region until they could decide on how to draw the border. During that time (1806-1822), all manner of settlers moved in, many fleeing law enforcement in one country or the other. The Sabine Freestate Festival honors its quirky history with crafts, games, a parade, a treasure hunt, quilting demonstrations, bull rides, Wild West-style shootouts and much more.
Louisiana is full of Civil War history, and every April, you can see it being relived before your eyes. The Battle of Pleasant Hill was anything but pleasant, with Union and Confederate armies taking casualties on both sides on April 9, 1864. This annual reenactment features men, women and children in period costume, as well as many activities held within the replica camp itself.
Tack-A-Paw Expeditions, headquartered at remote Toro Bayou in Anacoco, will get you as deep into the wilderness as you can get in Louisiana. Its guides cover 70 miles of Louisiana waterways including part of Toledo Bend Lake, and offer packages that include everything from two-hour trips to multi-day backwoods camping adventures.
Want more trip ideas? Visit the Toledo Bend Lake Country Visitors Bureau for activities, festival info and more.