Discover the 8 Best National and State Parks in Louisiana

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: April 29, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Judy Darby
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Louisiana is a state located in the southern part of the United States. It’s bordered to the west by Texas, the north by Arkansas, the east by Mississippi, and the south by the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana’s capital is Baton Rouge, and New Orleans is its largest city.

Being rich in national, cultural, and historical background, Louisiana has national and state parks that can suit anyone’s preferences, starting with jazz exhibits and lectures and ending with a vast wildlife refuge where visitors can reconnect with nature like never before!

Here’s a list of eight national and state parks in Louisiana you can choose from, depending on what kind of trip you’re planning and how long you want it to be.

1. Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Cane River Creole National Historical Park
Cane River Creole National Historical Park preserves the resources and the natural, cultural, and historic landscapes of the Cane River region.

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Cane River Creole National Historical Park
LocationNatchez, Louisana
Size207 acres
Animals to spotVarious birds, such as White Pelican or Great Blue Heron
Attractions to seeThe Oakland Plantation

Cane River Creole National Historical Park preserves the resources and the natural, cultural, and historic landscapes of the Cane River region. 

Some of the most popular features in the park are the two French Creole cotton plantations, Oakland and Magnolia Plantations. These consist of structures, furnishings, artifacts, and landscapes. The Magnolia planter family home is not open to the public. 

People visiting Cane River Creole National Historical Park will return home with lots of information about the Creole culture. Visitors can go on both self-guided and guided tours. 

2. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve protects and preserves the cultural and natural resources of the Mississippi River Delta region.

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Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
LocationSouth Louisiana (nearest cities are New Orleans and Lafayette)
Size25,876 acres
Animals to spotAlligators, eastern grey squirrels, coyotes, white-tail deer
Attractions to seeAcadian Cultural Center, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, Barataria Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve protects and preserves the cultural and natural resources of the Mississippi River Delta region. It has a park headquarters and six separate sites you can choose from, depending on what you’re interested in:

  • Acadian Cultural Center, where you can learn who the Acadians are;
  • Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, where you can learn about South Louisiana music;
  • Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, where you’ll learn about the history and life of the Acadians;
  • The Barataria Preserve, a treasure of animal and bird species, including alligators and turtles;
  • The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, where you can learn about the final battle of the War of 1812;
  • French Quarter Visitor Center.

3. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park was established to commemorate the origins of jazz and its development.

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New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
LocationNew Orleans
Size4 acres
Attractions to seePerseverance Hall No. 4

Any jazz or music lover should visit New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park at least once! It was established to commemorate the origins of jazz and its development. Most of the park is located within Louis Armstrong Park. There’s a visitor’s center nearby and a concert venue. 

The park offers jazz performances, films, and lectures. Tourists will learn about the musicians who invented jazz and those who contributed to the development of jazz in New Orleans. 

A visit to New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is an excellent idea for family and school trips, especially if you check the concerts and program schedule beforehand.

4. Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest
Kisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in Louisiana.

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Kisatchie National Forest
LocationLouisiana
Size604,000 acres
Animals to spotWhite-tail deer, wild turkeys, squirrels
Recreational activitiesHiking, bird watching, camping, swimming, horseback riding

Kisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in Louisiana and contains some of the most significant areas of longleaf pine forests in the United States. Nature, plant, and animal lovers will definitely enjoy some days in the forest, as it hosts numerous species and types of plants, animals, and birds. 

The forest is home to 155 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, 48 species of mammals, and 30 species of amphibians.

Other recreational activities include hiking, horseback riding, hunting, swimming, camping, bird watching, boating, and mountain biking. Rest assured, you won’t have time to get bored, and you’ll return home with lots of unforgettable memories!

5. Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park has hiking and nature trails, a picnic area, a playground, and a beach, where you can fish.

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Fontainebleau State Park
LocationSt. Tammany Parish
Size2,800 acres
Animals to spotOver 400 species of animals and numerous species of birds
Attractions to seeVisitor’s center, hiking and nature trails

Fontainebleau State Park is located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, in St. Tammany Parish. It has a visitor’s center, where tourists can learn about the territory’s history that once featured a sugar cane plantation and a brickyard. 

People who visit the park will be able to see beautiful natural landscapes, especially at sunrise and sunset!

Fontainebleau State Park has hiking and nature trails, a picnic area, a playground, and a beach, where you can fish. If you plan a more extended stay, you can choose from among the 200 camping sites in the park! There are cabins for rent and RV and tenting campsites.

6. Palmetto Island State Park

Palmetto Island State Park Louisiana
Palmetto Island State Park is famous for featuring lots of palmettos, a small palm species.

mcandrus / Creative Commons – License

Palmetto Island State Park
LocationVermillion Parish
Size1,299 acres
Animals to spotBears, raccoons, deer, hogs, various species of birds
Recreational activitiesBoating, camping, canoeing, picnicking

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in the heart of nature, where you’ll be able to relax and reconnect with your family or friends, Palmetto Island State Park is the perfect destination! It is famous for featuring lots of palmettos, a small palm species. 

Besides the beautiful nature trails you can enjoy, there are playgrounds for the kids, campsites where you can disconnect from your day-to-day life, and picnic areas. There’s a visitor’s center that can be used for weddings, meetings, or other events you have in mind. It also features a bathhouse and a water playground.

Water sports lovers can go boating, canoeing, and kayaking. 

7. Bogue Chitto State Park

Boge Chitto State Park, Washington Parish, Louisiana
Bogue Chitto State Park covers 1,786 acres of land.

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Bogue Chitto State Park
LocationWashington Parish
Size1,786 acres
Attractions to seeFricke’s Cave

Bogue Chitto State Park is located in Washington Parish. It features a visitor’s center, picnic areas, a conference room, cabins for rent, and 82 RV sites. 

It’s a must-see for anyone looking for a place to reconnect with nature. There are nature trails measuring more than 7 miles and 14 miles of equestrian trails. People can opt for canoeing or fishing on the Bogue Chitto River. Not even golf lovers will be bored, as the park provides an 18-hole disc golf course! 

You can visit Fricke’s Cave, where you’ll be able to see sandstone formations.

8. Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge
Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge preserves around 40,000 acres of the Pearl River Basin.

Judy M Darby/Shutterstock.com

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge
LocationSt. Tammany Parish, Washington Parish
Size40,000 acres
Animals to spotAlligators, turtles, kites
Recreational activitiesBoating, fishing, hunting, picnicking, bird watching

Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge preserves around 40,000 acres of the Pearl River Basin. We assure you that a visit to this refuge will make for unforgettable memories, as most of the territory can only be accessed by boat!

People can choose from various recreational activities, including fishing, hunting, and bird watching.

The refuge is a natural treasure for wildlife, as it hosts many species of animals and birds, including alligators (best to avoid, of course!), turtles, and kites.

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