If you’re looking to explore the exciting state parks in Louisiana, you’re in luck.
Most of the Louisiana state parks offer brilliant outdoor entertainment in various forms – allowing you to enjoy this state’s natural beauty.
Louisiana has 22 beautiful state parks, but in this article, we’ll look at the best parks that are definitely worth visiting.
You’ll want to visit these Louisiana parks if you’re going to get into nature and do some fishing or on-land activities like hiking or biking.
The facilities at most of the Louisiana parks are excellent, and many visitors return again and again.
16 Best Louisiana State Parks For a Fun Weekend
Here are our favorite Louisiana state parks in no particular order.
Pssst: Click here to learn more about the national parks in Louisiana!
1. Fontainebleau State Park
The park has nature hiking and biking trails, a beach, camping grounds, and cabins.
Unfortunately, the park’s amenities were damaged in Hurricane Ida, and the cabins are still being reconstructed. The campsites, however, have been refurbished and are open for booking.
Historically, Fontainebleau was a sugar plantation, and the remains of the sugar mill built in 1829 are still visible.
The old railroad track in the park that served the plantation is now part of the Rails to Trails program.
Day visitors can enjoy bathing on the sandy beach or walking along the park’s nature trail.
Over 400 species of birds call this park home, making it a delight for avid bird watchers. The reason for the abundant birdlife is the three diverse ecosystems surrounding the state.
They are Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Castine, and Bayou Cane.
Other activities for visitors include swimming, enjoying the water playground, hiking on the 4.8-mile hiking trail, paddling, boating, fishing, biking, skating, and glamping.
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2. Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
Eighteen miles east of St. Martinville and adjacent to the Atchafalaya Basin is the Lake Fausse Pointe State Park.
This fantastic Louisiana state park was once home to the Chitimacha Indians.
During the daytime, visitors can enjoy a picnic at one of the pavilions, play on the playground, or explore the area by boat, canoe, hiking, or biking.
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park has a launch area for canoes and boats, making it easier for visitors to explore the maze of waterways winding through the Atchafalaya Basin.
From your boat or canoe, you will have the opportunity to view the stunning beauty of the area and some of the local wildlife. If you don’t have a canoe, you can hire one from the park officials.
Visitors who wish to stay overnight can choose to camp or rent one of the lake-front cabins, giving you more time to explore this wonderful state park.
Read next: 13 Best East Coast National Parks Ranked
3. Palmetto Island State Park
Palmetto Island State Park lies on the banks of the Vermilion River, just south of Abbeville.
Of the Louisiana state parks, this one is relatively new. It is named after Palmetto trees and has only been open to the public since the early 2000s.
Those wishing to explore or fish in the Vermilion River by boat can use the boat launch in the park.
Alternatively, you can explore the interior lagoon on a kayak or canoe and view the local plant and animal species.
Some other explorative activities you can enjoy at Palmetto Island State Park include hiking, birding, and swamp walking.
Also, you can visit the visitor center complex, which boasts a bathhouse and water playground, and enjoy a picnic.
Palmetto Island State Park is family-friendly, handicap accessible, and open all year round.
Overnight visitors can camp in tents or stay in one of the park’s six well-equipped cabins. Each cabin can sleep up to eight people. They have screened-in porches useful for summer and fireplaces useful in winter.
Alternatively, there are 96 RV campsites for those who wish to stay in their own accommodation.
4. Tickfaw State Park
The Tickfaw State Park boasts four ecosystems that visitors can explore by walking on the boardwalks through the park.
The different ecosystems are the Tickfaw River, a bottomland hardwood forest, a mixed pine/hardwood forest, and a cypress and tupelo swamp.
Tickfaw State Park is a flood plain that serves the area when the Tickfaw River bursts its banks after winter and Spring rainfall.
As such, it provides an excellent opportunity to educate visitors regarding how periodic flooding aids the breeding ground and habitat of local fish and wildlife.
As an overnight visitor, you can enjoy a night hike or listen to the swamp’s nightlife from the porch of your rented cabin.
However, suppose you visit the park during the day. In that case, you can marvel at their 800-gallon aquarium that houses fish from the Tickfaw River and enjoy the displays of local flora and fauna.
Other activities you can enjoy at this state park include exploring the park on the interconnecting roadways by skating, cycling, or walking; enjoying the water playground; camping, glamping, or booking a cabin; paddling, fishing, swimming, and viewing wildlife.
Read next: All US National Parks + Printable Checklist
5. Bogue Chitto State Park
Bogue Chitto State Park opened to the public in 2010 and offers many activities and overnighting options.
The 1,786-acre park boasts 11 lakes, a stretch of the Bogue Chitto River, upland forests, a hardwood forest, cypress and tupelo swamps, and a rolling landscape.
Some of the activities you can enjoy at this state park include freshwater fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding on the 14-mile equestrian trail, hiking on the pedestrian trails, birding, tubing, canoeing, or kayaking on the river, looking at the sandstone spires of Fricke’s Cave (a gorge), picnicking, playing disc golf, and enjoying the water playground.
In short, this Louisiana state park is the perfect spot to have an incredible time outdoors!
6. South Toledo Bend State Park
South Toledo Bend State Park overlooks the Toledo Bend Reservoir, which makes for excellent bass fishing.
In fact, the reservoir is one of the best in the USA. The park is also a nesting ground for the bald eagle, making it an excellent destination for birders.
Like some other Louisiana state parks, many bass fishing tournaments are hosted at this recently upgraded here.
Activities you can enjoy at South Toledo Bend State Park include riding ATVs, hiking, biking, and camping.
In addition, there’s a fishing pier, a boat launch, and a fish cleaning station for the fishermen. This allows you to catch, clean, prepare, and enjoy the day’s catch at your campsite or cabin.
Some of the upgrades of this popular park include its well-equipped glamping facilities, cabins, and RV campsites.
Some of the cabins are wheelchair accessible, too. Pets are allowed but need to be on a lead or in a crate. By all accounts, it’s undoubtedly a favorite choice among the Louisiana state parks.
7. Bayou Segnette State Park
Bayou Segnette State Park is also a firm favorite among Louisiana state parks because of its location and abundance of recreational activities.
This state park is a 15-minute drive from New Orleans over the Mississippi River. It has a diverse ecosystem that includes woodlands, marshlands, and swamps.
Because of the park’s unique location, fresh and saltwater fish are common.
When you visit the Bayou Segnette State Park, you can do some or all of these activities: fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming in the wave pool, hiking, swamp walks and picnicking.
There’s a playground for the kids, too. The birdlife, wildlife, and vegetation will also keep you entertained.
The park is open daily, offering just under 100 upgraded campsites and 12 waterfront cabins for overnight visitors.
It also has an informative nature interpretive center and a large boat launch for those keen on fishing.
8. Chicot State Park
Chicot State Park is an expansive park (6,400 acres) in South Central Louisiana. The terrain is mainly that of rolling hills around Lake Chicot.
The park offers three boat launches, a boathouse, and boat rental facilities. Some commonly-caught fish are largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and red-ear sunfish.
Circling Lake Chicot is a hiking trail with primitive campsites along the route. Hikers get to enjoy the lake, landscape, and hardwood forest.
Cyclists are welcome to use this trail and other roadways through the park if they prefer a faster pace.
Given the vastness of the park, its attractions and amenities are spread out.
For example, South Landing has accommodations, picnic areas, playgrounds, a fishing pier, and a boat launch.
Also, within Chicot State Park is the Louisiana State Arboretum. This conservatory is home to a beautiful mature beech-magnolia forest.
The North landing has a boat launch, a 400-foot fishing pier, a primitive group camping area, campsites, and lodges.
The smaller East Landing has a third boat launch, dock, and other public amenities.
9. Fairview-Riverside State Park
Two miles east of Madisonville is the 99-acre Fairview-Riverside State Park. This park lies on the banks of the Tchefuncte River and is home to the Otis House Museum.
The Otis House Museum was built in 1885, and in 1999 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can picnic under large oak trees at Fairview-Riverside State Park or go on the delightful Tchefuncte River cruise.
If you’re keen on fishing or crabbing, the river meets up with Lake Pontchartrain, housing an assortment of fish.
You can catch bluegill, bass, bream, channel catfish, speckled trout, and redfish.
Other park facilities include a quarter-mile ADA-accessible trail, a boardwalk, a playground, and camping facilities.
10. Jimmie Davis State Park
Jimmie Davis State Park lies on the northern shore of Caney Lake, a reservoir spanning 5,000 acres.
This park offers a fishing pier and two boat launches for prime freshwater fishing or watersports like waterskiing, paddling, and swimming.
In addition, you can appreciate the hardwood and pine forest surrounding the lake from the water.
Those who prefer outdoor experiences can enjoy the park’s cycling and hiking trails, bird and wildlife viewing, and the playground for kids.
For those who wish to stay overnight, your accommodation options include scenic campsites for tents and RVs, cabins, a lodge, and a group campsite.
11. Lake Bistineau State Park
Lake Bistineau State Park lies on the western shore of Bistineau Lake. The lake is over 200 years old and started due to the Red River flooding due to a logjam.
In 1935, the lake became a permanent attraction when a dam was built across Loggy Bayou.
Like most of the state parks in Louisiana, you can enjoy excellent outdoor activities, spectacular views, a mixed hardwood forest, and cypress and tupelo trees.
Onshore activities include wildlife and bird watching, biking, hiking, picnicking, Disc Golf, horseback riding, accommodation, and playgrounds.
Lake Bistineau State Park has two boat launches for those who wish to enjoy water-related activities.
From January to early Fall, fishermen can lure freshwater fish such as largemouth bass, yellow bass, black crappie, bluegill, catfish, and red-ear sunfish.
Those who wish to canoe can enjoy an 11-mile canoe trail, too.
12. Lake Claiborne State Park
Lake Claiborne State Park offers various activities such as birding, guided and unguided hikes, camping, and relaxing.
Of the Louisiana state parks, this one boasts the top two ranked disc golf courses.
Accommodation options at the park include cabins overlooking the lake, different types of tented campsites, and RV campsites along the north Louisiana foothills.
When Lake Claiborne is filled to capacity, its surface area is 6,400 acres.
Water-related fun you can enjoy here includes all types of boating activities, swimming at the sandy beach, waterskiing, and of course, fishing.
The freshwater lake is well stocked with the following fish species:
- White perch
- Black crappie
- Channel catfish
- Chain pickerel
- Bluegill sunfish
- Largemouth bass, and
- Striped bass
13. Lake Bruin State Park
Lake Bruin State Park is named after the 3,000 Lake Bruin on which it borders, less than a mile from the Mississippi River.
The lake is popular for largemouth bass fishing, boating, and watersport. The lake is a “geographic oddity” called an oxbow lake.
It used to be a part of the Mississippi River until erosion and sediment cut it off, forming the lake.
The park has two docks, a boat ramp, and a boat shed for easy access to the water. Some campsites even have direct access to the water for those with canoes, paddleboards, or kayaks.
Paddlers can enjoy the Paddle Trail that runs along the eastern shoreline of Lake Bruin. However, paddlers should know that the lake is home to alligators and large cottonmouth snakes.
Onshore is a water playground for cooling off when it’s hot, and picnic areas are scattered around the park.
The accommodation options for overnight visitors include campsites for tents, caravans, or trailers.
Lake Bruin State Park is near the Poverty Point World Heritage Site – certainly worth a visit before or after your visit to the park.
14. North Toledo Bend State Park
North Toledo Bend State Park is in pine and hardwood forests adjacent to the Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Of the state parks in Louisiana, this one is probably the most popular for hosting many fishing competitions.
This Louisiana state park has two fishing piers, a boat launch area and a fish cleaning station, and boat rentals for those who do not have a boat.
The North Toledo Bend State Park is popular among state parks because of its practical design.
The accommodation includes a beautifully designed RV park plus quaint log cabins with fireplaces. The park is pet-friendly; however, pets aren’t allowed in the buildings.
Other options for entertainment at the North Toledo Bend State Park include hiking, biking, swimming in their pool, picnicking, camping, glamping, wildlife watching, and relaxing.
15. St. Bernard State Park
St. Bernard State Park allows families and campers to enjoy Louisiana’s natural beauty but close to civilization (the little town of Poydras).
The park runs along the Mississippi River and contains a complex of artificial lagoons, providing a peaceful setting for relaxation.
The park is a mix of woodlands and wetlands – a diverse habitat for animals such as raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, alligators, turtles, and birds.
Visitors can swim in the bathhouse or pool, hike or bike in the forest, picnic, and camp in tents or RVs.
St. Bernard State Park is one of the few Louisiana State Parks offering fresh- and saltwater fishing.
The boat launch is a tenth of a mile from the park’s entrance in the Caernarvon waterway.
16. Grand Isle State Park
Grand Isle State Park is popular for its rugged beauty and pristine beaches on the Gulf Coast. It has 1 mile of beach, including the last wild beach in Louisiana.
An observation tower offers an incredible view of the surrounding coastal scenery.
The park is also home to the only pier that extends into the Gulf.
The fishing pier is 900 feet long and offers excellent fishing opportunities. It is said that over 280 fish species live around the sandy spur.
Unfortunately, this popular state park in Louisiana received significant damage from Hurricane Ida. Therefore, it is closed until further notice.
More State Parks in Louisiana Worth Checking Out
- Lake D’Arbonne State Park
- Cane River Creole (The LA park tells the stories of generations of Creoles and preserves the cultural landscape of Oakland and Magnolia Plantations, two of the most intact Creole cotton plantations in the United States.)
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