Posted by: Mae Mayeux
Louisiana is a paradise for anyone who likes to get outside and wonder at the marvels of nature. Louisiana’s lakes, rivers, swamps, bayous, and forests offer an incredible diversity of terrain and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. There are 22 state parks in Louisiana as well as many impeccable nature trails, paddling routes, fishing areas, and more. Read on for our exclusive Nature Lover’s Guide to Louisiana.
Acadiana Park Nature Station
The Acadiana Park Nature Station is located in the Northwest corner of Lafayette and offers 150-acres of beautiful and secluded woods for visitors to explore. Their goal is to re-acquaint humans with their natural surroundings and encourage them to become better stewards of the natural world. Acadiana Park says, “Learning about our ecosystems and wildlife is the first step in taking action to preserving it.” They host a variety of guided nature walks and night hikes. If you prefer to explore on your own, there are 6 miles of trails that mix boardwalk and gravel, meandering throughout the woods and along the Vermillion River.
Bayou Vermilion Paddle Trail
The Bayou Vermilion Paddle Trail stretches 10 miles through some of the most scenic points along the gorgeous Vermilion River. Paddling down the peaceful waters of the Vermilion River is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon while also getting a great workout. Kayak launches at either end of the trail make it easy to access. There’s even an app you can download that will help you locate some of the most scenic points along the trail.
Kisatchie National Forest
Kisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in all of Louisiana. Located in Central Louisiana, Kisatchie’s magnificent 604,000-acres are filled with endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, including fishing, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking, trail running, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, camping, and more. Keep a lookout for the Louisiana black bear and the red-cockaded woodpecker. The park also protects an array of rare plant species, including wild orchids and carnivorous plants such as the pale pitcher plant. During the springtime, the park is an amazing place to view both native and wild azaleas. Hikers will find many excellent options in the forest. The Backbone Trail is a roughly 10 mile loop that takes you through a thick forest of oak and evergreen. For a short hike with incredible vistas, check out the Longleaf Vista Trail. The 10-mile Caroline Dorman Trail is great for mountain biking as well as hiking. While exploring the Kisatchie National Forest, book a stay at one of the Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association’s many properties throughout the Crossroads Region. For a more in-depth guide to Central Louisiana, read our blog post Central Louisiana: A Nature Lover’s Paradise.
Creole Nature Trail
The Creole Nature Trail is one of only 43 designated scenic byways in the entire United States. This 180-mile trail located in Southwestern Louisiana is known as the “Louisiana Outback” because of its diverse array of flora and fauna. Along the way, you will likely see alligators, migratory birds, and a variety of furry critters, like beavers and coypu. With its 26 miles of gulf beaches and 619 square miles of salt and freshwater, the Creole Nature Trail is also a hot spot for fisherman. Over 130 different species of fish can be caught along the trail as well as crab and shrimp. If you like flowers, you’ll have ample opportunity to marvel at blue water leafs, spider lilies, purple iris, beach morning glories, and more.
The magnificent Toledo Bend Reservoir is located on the Texas-Louisiana state line. Many visitors stop at the Toledo Bend Reservoir while journeying down the El Camino Real, also known as the Old San Antonio Road or King’s Highway, a historic roadway stretching between Texas and Louisiana. Toledo Bend Reservoir is known to have some of the country’s best fishing, hunting, and birding. The reservoir is well stocked with largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and white and striped bass. For more about fishing in Louisiana, read our latest fishing blog post.
The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river swamp, even larger than the famous Florida Everglades. It contains almost one million acres of America’s most significant bottomland hardwoods, swamps, bayous, and backwater lakes. The basin formed where the Atchafalaya River meets the Gulf of Mexico, creating a unique combination of wetlands and river delta that makes it five times more productive than any other river basin in North America. About 65 species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the Basin as well as more than 100 different species of fish and other aquatic life. Over 250 known species of birds fly in the basin, and it is home to the largest nesting concentration of bald eagles in the South Central United States. You’ll also find mammals like black bear, nutria, fox, muskrat, beaver, otter, and raccoon. Swamp tours are one of the most popular activities in the basin. The easiest way to explore the basin’s rich swamps is to take a tour with LeBlanc Swamp Tours, The Atchafalaya Experience, or McGee’s Louisiana Swamp Tours & Adventures. The basin is also a popular spot for paddling, biking, fishing, and birdwatching. While exploring the marvels of the Atchafalaya Basin, book a stay at one of our many properties in Cajun Country.
Planning an outdoor adventure to Louisiana? Book a stay at one of the Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association’s many charming and one-of-a-kind properties located in all corners of the