With swamp tours, camping, kayaking, gardens and more, Louisiana is a perfect destination for your family.
Here are seven family-friendly outdoor activities in Louisiana.
1. Poverty Point World Heritage Site
Poverty Point is part of a World Heritage Site network that includes the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids and the Roman Colosseum. Poverty Point is an ancient American Indian earthworks site created about 3,400 years ago. The network of mounds, concentric semi-elliptical ridges and a central plaza was the largest and the most elaborate of its time in North America.
Louisiana’s Gulf coast is one of the richest fisheries in the world, and charters operate year-round out of all Louisiana coastal parishes pursuing speckled trout, redfish, cobia, grouper, snapper, mackerel and many other species. The coast doubles as a family beach destination, the most popular spots being Grand Isle, Rutherford Beach and Holly Beach. Inland, Lake Ponchartrain in the southeast and the Toledo Bend Reservoir along the Texas border are top places to cast a line.
3. Kayaking and Canoeing
One of the best ways to explore Louisiana is by paddling kayaks and canoes in its bayous (slow-moving streams), swamps and coastal marshes. They are scenic, wildlife-filled settings that cannot be experienced in a car or on foot. Popular paddling destinations include Louisiana state parks; almost every park is on a bayou, river, lake, reservoir or marsh adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, and many offer affordable boat and equipment rentals and camping or cabin accommodations for overnight stays.
4. Camping and Hiking
Louisiana’s only national forest, Kisatchie, is spread throughout areas of seven parishes in north and central Louisiana. Kisatchie offers 571 kilometers of trails for hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding or all-terrain-vehicle riding. The forest is also actively engaged in management activities that emphasize restoration and conservation of natural resources, including two National Wildlife Preserves.
5. Guided Swamp Tours
This river and swamp ecosystem straddling Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River is in 14 parishes of south central Louisiana. It is considered one of America’s last wilderness areas. Top activities include alligator and bird watching via boat tours.
6. Scenic Biking
The Tammany Trace 50-kilometer trail is a former rail line through pine and lowland hardwood forests converted into an asphalt path for both cycling and hiking. The trail is in the region called the Northshore of New Orleans – the area north of Lake Pontchartrain – and trail segments connect the small cities of Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe and Slidell. All five trailhead towns have charming, walkable downtown districts filled with art galleries, locally owned shops and restaurants.
7. Garden Tours
Louisiana’s subtropical location on the Gulf of Mexico gives the state extended periods of warm weather and mild winters, creating an ideal environment for gardens. Popular sites include the 250 live oak tree-filled Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville and nearby Rosedown Plantation; 15 separate areas of Windrush Gardens in Baton Rouge; 14 areas in Longue Vue House and Gardens in New Orleans; and Jungle Gardens and Rip Van Winkle Gardens, both near New Iberia, that offer assorted Louisiana flora.