By Penny Fox
One of the newer parks in Louisiana, Palmetto Island State Park in Abbeville is appropriately named for its abundance of beautiful palmettos. Experience the elegance of this park to its fullest by planning a weekend trip. Palmetto Island offers plentiful opportunity for camping and hiking, and the surround area makes for a perfect place to explore. Here are the best things to do in and around Palmetto Island State Park.
Founded in 2011, and specifically located in Vermilion Parrish, the park is in close proximity to the Vermilion River, which affords those who love to canoeing and kayaking special interest with the many lagoons in the area and access to native animals and plants. The park has a boat launch available for visitors, offers boat rentals, and provides opportunities for fishing, and there are swamp walks and birding activities. The Cypress Trail is an easy 0.7-mile trail that can be hiked and biked. There are also many beautiful overlooks and scenic areas in the park that make great photo opportunities.
We did not have nearly the amount of time we wish we did to drive back from Tennessee to the west coast. But we still wanted to make sure to get a taste of each region, and that our days were filled with more than just driving. The decisions of where to stop along the way came down to "Is this an experience we couldn't have anywhere else?" And we think canoeing in the Louisiana Bayou would be a "Yes." 😄🛶🐊🌾 #yeskamp
Information on the status of the trail is available on the Friends of Palmetto Island State Park including events hosted at the park like the Louisiana Bird Observatory bird banding event held monthly, and other special occasions by local groups.
Overnight camping is available at the park, and there are minimal entrance fees. The park has six beautiful cabins that can accommodate up to eight people each, 96 RV campsites, a primitive campground, and backcountry campsites for reasonable per-night fees. The cabins are secluded by thick vegetation from other campers, and include a fully operational kitchen, fireplace, and screened porch. There are extra tent pads on 20 of the RV campsites. Open 365 days a year, the park also has a visitors’ center that’s open during the day and available for meetings, reunions, weddings, and other events. The park is the perfect place for family camping with a children’s splash pad, bathhouse, laundry facility, and bathrooms.
There are many excellent places to eat in the area if you want to try the local cuisine. SHUCKS! The Louisiana Seafood House is a must with its family-style dining and delicious seafood like shrimp, gator, catfish, and crab. And you can’t leave without trying a bowl of one of their famous authentic Cajun gumbo, chowder, or stew.
For those who enjoy learning about the history of the area, there are several nearby places to satisfy your curiosity. The Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site offers self-guided tours daily and there are examples of local culture that includes Acadian, Creole, Indian, African, French, Spanish, slaves and freemen.
The Louisiana Military Hall of Fame & Museum has items of interest about those who have served in various military branches in the state. The free museum is open Thursday through Saturday, and group tours are welcome if scheduled ahead of the visit. There are outdoor exhibits and restoration projects in progress, including a chance to see various aircraft and landing crafts up close and personal.