Palmetto Island State Park
Walk on the wild side at Palmetto Island State Park.
Palmetto Island State Park’s very name hints at the untamed wildness you can expect in this southern corner of the state. Palmettos, those shaggy, tropical trees found all over the swamps, grow alongside tall cypress and other Louisiana native plants, giving the park an air of authenticity — this is as unspoiled as south Louisiana gets.
The Vermilion River runs through the Palmetto Island State Park. The most scenic way of reaching the river is via a boat launch near the center of the park, which also offers canoeists and kayakers easy access to narrow channels and tucked-away lagoons. Canoes are available for rent by the hour or day.
Though the waterways here are the main attraction, the .7-mile-long Cypress Trail also allows visitors a close-up look at Palmetto Island State Park’s jungle-like ecology. At the nearby visitor center, you’ll find a water playground and bathhouse, and six cabins that give overnight guests a front-row seat to the symphony of native animal calls emerging from the swamps.
Outside of Palmetto Island State Park you’ll find even more opportunities to dive into Cajun culture. The town of Abbeville is home to the Sam Guarino Blacksmith Shop Museum, or check out the Acadian Museum of Erath. Over in Avery Island, you'll find the Tabasco Factory, Museum and Country Store.
Entrance fee: $3 per person; free for seniors age 62 and older, and children age 3 and younger.