Step Outside - Louisiana WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Louisiana 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sat, 23 Mar 2019 13:27:59 -0500 5 Awesome RV Campsites in Louisiana Louisiana’s magnificent natural landscapes are among the most distinct in America. What better way to experience it than by parking your RV in the middle of it all and camping out? From lakeside spots to sites situated not far from the French Quarter, the Bayou State offers a unique camping experience. Here are five awesome RV campsites in Louisiana.  

Lakeside RV Park in Livingston, Louisiana, takes advantage of its location next to a 17-acre fishing lake. Besides lake access, Lakeside offers tons of amenities, including a large pool, fishing, bath and laundry facilities, open-air pavilions, playground, enclosed dog park, groceries on site, and more. Regular events, like watermelon eating contests and outdoor movie nights, are scheduled for additional entertainment.

Poche Plantation Camping RV Park is situated on 18 acres of the historic, Judge Felix Poche Planation. Protected by the National Register for Historic Places, the space offers tower hook-ups for lighting, cable, TV, and Wi-Fi. Concrete patios, lawn and trash containers come standard with each space. Stop by the pool, hot tub, and flower fountains while you’re on site. Eighty-five spots are available, but make sure to call to book a reservation, just in case. 

River View RV Park and Resort in Vidalia, Louisiana, takes full advantage of its location on the Mississippi River. This year-round RV park has 185 full hook-up sites, with Wi-Fi, pool, clubhouse, hot tub, playground, laundry facilities, showers, and more available on site. Additional camping options include primitive camping and furnished cottages. Gamblers, take advantage of the shuttle service to visit the Magnolia Bluffs Casino. 

Visit 20 acres of Louisiana countryside at Pioneer Acadian Village RV Park and Campground in Breaux Bridge. You’re never too far from Mardi Gras celebrations, the Crawfish Festival, Lake Martin, or any number of other fantastic venues. RV sites include full hook-ups, picnic tables, outdoor pavilions, fire rings, bagged ice, mail service, volleyball, and many other amenities. It’s recommended you make a reservation to ensure a spot, especially during festival season. 

The New Orleans West KOA outpost is open year-round and is “the closest KOA to the French Quarter and the finest food, sassiest jazz, and wildest times in the south.” Shuttles and city buses from the campsite provide easy access to the New Orleans French Quarter and Bourbon Street. Each campsite offers amps, Wi-Fi, cable TV, pool access, and propane. 

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10 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Louisiana Winter doesn’t have to signal an end to your outdoor adventures, especially when you can camp year-round. Whether you live in the state or are looking for a great alternative to a snow-capped mountain retreat, below are 10 best winter cabin camping spots in Louisiana where you can relax with family or friends for a great time away! 

Just a short distance from major Louisiana cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, you can camp in style at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Robert, Louisiana. You’ll have many choices of cabin types and amenities from which to choose, depending on the size of your group. You can also select lakeside lodging, hideaway cottages, or Cajun chalets. There’s a minimum two-night rental, and pets will have to remain at home. You’ll find most everything you need in the kitchen, too. There’s plenty to keep you busy, and a convenience store for those items you forgot to pack! 

If you enjoy the sound of birds early in the morning and are looking for a place to relax this winter, Bass Hollow Cabin is the place to be. Located in Zwolle, Louisiana, between San Miguel and LaNan Bay, this rustic cabin combines serenity and beauty in the same place. Cabin features a kitchen, two bedrooms, and bathroom with tub and shower, and can accommodate up to four people comfortably. Other amenities include a boat launch nearby, covered parking, and an outside grill for roasting marshmallows at night. 

Quietly sitting on the banks of the Vermillion River in the historic part of Abbeville, Louisiana, you’ll find true Southern hospitality here. This private and beautiful cottage has everything you need for a winter getaway with your family or a friends’ weekend. You’re deep in the heart of Cajun country here and there are plenty of things to do, including great seafood restaurants should you decide to eat out. You can quietly sit on the back porch and watch the river slowly roll by. There’s a full bath with tub and shower, washer and dryer, central air and heat, and a fully stocked kitchen. Outside, there’s a barbecue grill and fire pit for evening fun. 

If you want a taste of down-home Louisiana hospitality, Lakeview Lodge in Ferriday is a must-see spot. You’ll be right on the water of Lake Concordia, and all you have to do is step out on the front porch and you’ll be in a world of tranquility and serenity. Besides the lodge itself with 11 guest rooms, there’s the Big House, a large 1,500-square-foot building that can accommodate up to 16 people comfortably, has a full kitchen, and two full bathrooms. This one is great for large family vacations or reunions. The second cabin is brand new and is called the Shack. Amidst the rustic charm of wood and tin, this little gem is the perfect romantic getaway for two, and includes a kitchenette, bedroom, and bathroom. 

Center Point, Louisiana, can be your home away from home when you stay at Trophy Bass Haven. Don’t let winter get you down this year. Pack up and come to one of the prettiest places in the state. Bring your family, your girlfriends, or just come alone for a relaxing time. Cabins are completely furnished and have a fully-equipped kitchen that includes pots and pans, dishes, glasses, utensils and silverware, microwave, stove, and fridge. Sheets and pillows are also provided, but you may want to bring pillow cases, sheets, and extra towels if you plan to stay longer than two days. 

You’ll definitely have the chance to get in touch with the natural surroundings at Cabins of Horseshoe Hills Ranch in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Designed specifically to allow you to leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there are six two-story pine cabins that can be your home away from home for a weekend or longer. You can relax and sit on the front and back decks, and when it’s time to cook, you can do it in a full kitchen complete with everything you need or you can venture out to one of the great local restaurants in the area. Bring along your bikes or horses along to ride, or if you’d like to take a trip on the water, you can fish or rent a boat nearby. 

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Rest. Renew. Replenish. Those are the words used to describe Cajun Country Cottages in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. These beautiful cottages are unique because they’re nestled gently against the backdrop of a calm lake that’s visible from your windows. Take a deep breath of peace and quietness, reconnect with your special someone, or read a book. All the cottages are non-smoking and have heat and A/C. Most have fully-equipped kitchens, two have fireplaces, and you can have breakfast delivered right to your door if you’d like. The only thing is that you won’t want to leave!

Looking for something different to do this winter? Come to the Cajun Bahamas, better known as Grand Isle, Louisiana. Sun & Sand Cabins are available for your enjoyment on this unique island where you can hear the sounds of the surf when you wake up in the morning, charter a fishing boat, walk along the beach, or visit any of the fun places on the island. Cabins sleep from two to six people, and include equipped kitchens, full baths, heat and A/C, patio, and picnic table. All you have to bring is food, towels, and your imagination.

Camping cabins are a great way to escape to the outdoors when you’re not quite ready for tent camping. Louisiana is the perfect place for year-round cabin camping, and KOA campgrounds provide clean and affordable retreats for two, families, or a group. Lafayette KOA in Scott, Louisiana has three cabins available that can sleep up to six people comfortably. Rustic by design, the cabins have beds, but you need to bring your own linens and personal items, with one exception—the deluxe cabin has a full bath, kitchenette, and cable TV. 

What’s better than fishing in the summertime? Fishing all year round! And what better place than Bayou Log Cabins in Port Sulphur, Louisiana, for your destination. The friendly folks here will help you create the perfect getaway, whether it’s a weekend getaway for you and your spouse, a family vacation, or a fishing expedition. All four log cabins are modernized and include a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom with shower, TV, and a patio so you can sit out and enjoy the beautiful views of the bayou. Outside there are swings, picnic tables, and a barbecue pit. Pets are not permitted. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-winter-cabin-camping-spots-in-louisiana Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park Louisiana is filled with beautiful state and national parks highlighting the state’s unique landscape, flora, and fauna, and Poverty Point Reservoir State Park is no exception. This park has no deficit of camping, water activities, hiking, and fishing opportunities available all year because of the mild climate. This man-made lake is also the perfect place for those who love to bird watch and photo ops are only limited by your imagination. Deluxe cabins, a lodge, and camping sites offer a variety of overnight accommodations. So, what are you waiting for? Here’s how to have the perfect winter weekend getaway at Poverty Point. 

History awaits you at Marsden Mounts not far from Delhi. If you love history, you’ll love this archaeological site complete with five pre-historic mounds and other man-made earth foundations probably created during 1500 BC. Park of Poverty Point Reservoir State Park, you’ll see various markers along the trails that tell you more about the sites. Mounds are thought to be the resting place of cultures and people groups who lived in the area during the time they were built and provide an exciting look into the past.

The mild climate during the winter months makes Louisiana the perfect place to escape for a weekend getaway that includes a trip to Black Bear Golf and Country Club. Awards recognition from GolfDigest several years in a row, the course is open year-round, and is aptly named for the occasional black bear that might be seen wandering in the area. Check the website for winter golfing events that may be happening during your visit.

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Looking for a place to park your RV for a weekend getaway this winter? Look no further than Delhi’s own RV Park. The friendly folks who operate the park will get your reservation processed quickly. Clean and secure, the park has gravel throughout and welcomes pets. There are 30 and 50-amp full-hookups available, and a dump site available. 

Want a little more luxury and creature comforts on your special getaway? The Mansion at Red Hill offers colorful choices that will leave you feeling pampered and relaxed. You’ll sleep in peace at this Southern Bed & Breakfast and be treated each morning to a delicious hot breakfast and afternoon tea. This popular wedding venue is the perfect backdrop for serious photographers who love the architectural style and spacious grounds. 

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Known as the Sportsman’s Paradise by people all over the world, you’ll never wonder how the state got that nickname once you visit the area with year-round hunting, fishing, and other outdoor adventures waiting for you. No matter what type of fishing you enjoy—by gulf, bayou, lake, or river—Louisiana has it. There are two boat launches and you can try your luck at hooking largemouth bass, crappie, blue gill, and catfish. Pier fishing is especially important and the dock at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park is perfect for casting your line. The sunsets aren’t bad either. 

Explore the wild side of nature at the Wild Country Safari Park. No matter what your age, you’ll enjoy the guided tours through the park as you learn about kangaroos, buffalo, camels, zebras, llamas, and a host of feathered and scaled creatures. If you have young ones on your trip, they’ll have fun at the petting zoo and feeding the animals. You can take home a memento from your trip from the gift shop or grab a bite to eat at the pavilion. 

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There’s a lot of fun waiting for you at Cooterville Mud Rides. One of the newest off-road parks in the area, this playland is complete with plenty of off-roading adventure. You’d better not mind getting a little dirty because there’s plenty of Louisiana mud on the 25 miles of trails. Open on weekends only, you can stay overnight nearby and also enjoy fishing and swimming. 

You’ll find everything from filet mignon to fried green tomatoes at this surprising little diner in Delhi. Serving the best in Cajun and Creole comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you have to make Champions Bistro a stop on your route. Fantastic service and an interesting atmosphere makes this a special treat on your journey. Not to be missed!

Your weekend getaway will be your most memorable trip ever if you love the great outdoors and make Harper’s Plantation part of the trip. Membership is required to access the private hunting, fishing, and camping areas, but they offer packets to fit your budget. Regular and bow hunting, plus blinds are available in several versions and the 30-acre lake is stocked with bass, white perch, and bream. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-at-poverty-point-reservoir-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-at-poverty-point-reservoir-state-park Mon, 03 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0600
SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Palmetto Island State Park 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.

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.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-palmetto-island-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-palmetto-island-state-park Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Louisiana Off-roading is virtually unmatched in its ability to provide a unique view of Louisiana’s landscape. Whether you prefer spending a day or two on a private trail, in a public park, or cruising through a historic site, the Louisiana ATV off-roading scene is alive and well. Below you’ll find five of the coolest spots in the Pelican State to fuel your need for speed. 

Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year, who enjoy the fishing, hunting, camping, and ATV riding the spillway offers. The terrain is mostly sand and clay, but mud forms easily when it rains. The trail is open all day long. While the unique setting of the 850-acre spillway makes for a fun environment, the generally smooth trails ensure that the Bonnet Carre Spillway stays beginner friendly. 

The Claiborne Multiple-Use Trail is part of the greater Kisatchie National Forest in Pineville, Louisiana, and offers over 70 miles of trail over three separate loops. The North Loop boasts 32 miles, while the Woodworth Loop has 20, and the Boy Scout Loop presents 30 miles for use. The trails take riders through the World War II military fort known as Camp Claiborne. Restrictions on types of vehicles, licensing, and speed limits exist, so be sure to check the website to ensure you’re following the necessary guidelines.

According to their website, “Muddy Bottoms ATV and Recreation Park was created to provide the surrounding community with a recreational escape not far from where they live and work.” The park is open to riders of all experience levels and ages, and offers campsite lodging. Facilities include a welcome center, pro shop, bathhouse, eating pavilion, cabins, RV hookups, sprinkler park, and amphitheater, where bands come to perform live. The park itself sits on 5,000 acres with tons of different trails to best suit your experience and comfort level. You can’t go wrong at Muddy Bottoms.

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Cooterville Mud Rides in Delhi, Louisiana, is a recent addition to the Louisiana off-roading world, but has quickly made a name for itself. With over 25 miles of trails, primitive camp sites, and exciting terrain, Cooterville has a lot to offer. In addition to the trails, the 24-acre lake on-site is perfect for fishing or swimming. Restroom, shower facilities, and concession stand are on-site, too, perfect for overnight stays. Make sure to check their Facebook page for updates on live events and hours, and call before you head up to ensure space. 

The Enduro Trail, in the Calcasieu Ranger District, is part of the Kisatchie National Forest and offers incredible views of longleaf pine savannahs. Three loops make up 45 miles of trails with an overall flat and twisty terrain. The soil is mostly hard packed, which makes it good for amateurs. Weather may affect the trails, so call or check online to make sure they’re open if necessary. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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iStock.com/pkruger http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-louisiana Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Louisiana Along with its swamps and tall cypress trees, Louisiana is home to some truly breathtaking fall foliage. The variety and intensity of color found surrounding some of the excellent hiking trails in the state are awe-inspiring. Each location has a special history. Here are our favorites. 

If you want to see Louisiana at its best in the fall, walk the Caroline Dorman Trail. Part of the Kisatchie National Forest, this trail is over 10 miles of horseback, hiking, or biking. Named after avid Louisiana botanist, artist, author, and conservationist, and the first woman to be hired by the U.S. Forest Department, this beautiful and scenic nature trail isn’t far from Briarwood, Caroline Dorman’s home. Nestled in the northeast part of Natchitoches Parish, the trail and Briarwood are open to the public and represent preserved ecosystems and wildflowers that grow the state. 

Black Bayou Lake is a 1,700-acre lake with nature trails, boardwalks, a pier and observation deck, and nature center, and is one of five wildlife refuges in the state. The swamps that surround the refuge and beautiful cypress and tupelo trees dominate the area and are at their peak in the fall months. Oak, elm, ash, and hickory present brilliant colors, and the refuge is home to alligators, ducks, tree frogs, snakes, herons, and song birds. This is a great place to hike, kayak, or canoe, and you’ll be treated to stunning scenery and plenty of opportunities for great photos.

R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana, may not sound like the typical place to observe fall foliage, but in addition to the American and European artwork and collection of rare books, it is home to lush gardens and azaleas. Often called “the royalty of the garden,” there are over 15,000 plants that include 100 varieties for your viewing pleasure. There is over 40 acres of magnificently maintained landscape that comes alive with color during all four seasons of the year. This is definitely one of the area’s best kept secrets, and well worth visiting. 

Because Louisiana has a number of resources, including flora and fauna specific to the Mississippi River Delta region of the United States, there are several preserves established to protect and maintain the species and cultural history of the area. The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park is such a place. Visitors can enjoy the trails and canoe tours that meander through the hardwood forests, swamps, and marshes, observing alligators basking in the sun, pelicans diving for fish beneath the water, or attend special events that tell the story of the area. 

Lake Claiborne near Homer, Louisiana, is a 6,400-acre recreational lake in the northwestern part of the state that features a beach area, nature trail, picnic area, and overnight camping. Opened in 1974, the park itself comprises about 643 acres, and is a great place to bring the family. Visitors can stay and play for the day, or spend the night at one of the 87 campsites in this well-maintained area. The area surrounding the lake is ablaze with color in the fall as the leaves of trees change, and there are plenty of opportunities for astounding pictures for the photography buff. There are clean restrooms and showers available, laundry facilities, and the site is handicap accessible. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-louisiana Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Claiborne Multi-Use Trails If you’re in search of the ultimate off-roading adventure, we’re here to help. Across Louisiana, you’ll find top-notch ATV trails with surrounding attractions worth making a whole trip for. Enjoy beautiful outdoor spaces, coffee shops, waffle bars, and pubs on your ATV off-roading adventure in Louisiana. 

Looking for a great cup of coffee to start off your adventure? From the moment you step inside the door, you’ll be greeted with the heavenly aroma of freshly-ground coffee. Tamp & Grind Coffee in Alexandria is a little hidden gem and they aren’t afraid to think outside the box to make amazing coffee and tea. 

Now it’s time to fill up your belly! Stop by Le Bistreaux Coffee & Waffle Bar in Alexandria. Served all day, breakfast never tasted so good. You can choose from popular waffle favorites like s’mores, topped with graham crackers, chocolate chips, marshmallows, chocolate drizzle, and whipped cream, Louisiana Mud, made with toasted pecans, powdered sugar, maple syrup, caramel, and whipped cream, or Chicken-N-Waffles to name a few. 

With over 74 miles of tree-lined mainly hard-packed trails, Claiborne Multi-Use Trails near Forest Hill, Louisiana, offers a great place for novices to participate in off-road adventures. There are vehicle requirements, restrictions, and some fees, but overnight camping is allowed with campfires in certain campsites. This multi-use trail system that is part of the Kisatchie National Forest is open to ATVs on the northern section of trails, and motorcycles and other permitted vehicles can use the southern trails. 

Part of the Alexander Forest Wildlife Management Area in central Louisiana, Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery is an interesting stop. The main facility engaged in producing fish in the state, there are more than 10,000 gallons open for viewing to the public, including fish, reptiles, and other water creatures. Since opening in 1997, the hatchery has been responsible for adding over 41 million fish into the waterways of Louisiana. 

After a busy and fun day of off-roading and seeing the area, you’ll have quite an appetite. Stop by Hotheads Crawfish in Alexandria, Louisiana, for the best authentic crawfish around. By the plate or by the pound, all specials and combos include corn, potatoes, and dipping sauce. Besides crawfish, you can have shrimp and crab, and sides include Cajun link sausage, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, pineapple, sweet potatoes, corn, potatoes, and artichokes.

Susan’s Cottages in Alexandria offer the perfect answer to your need to spend the night. Breakfast is included in your stay, and cottages have a Jacuzzi, beautiful balcony, TV/DVD, and small kitchen area. Just a few minutes from downtown Alexandria, the only problem will be in not wanting to leave! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-claiborne-multiuse-trails http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-claiborne-multiuse-trails Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Louisiana When the air gets a little crisper and the new season rolls in, you’ve got to get out and enjoy it. The only way to truly experience colorful leaves reflecting in glass-smooth mirrored water, wildlife-filled swamps preparing for seasonal changes, and sunsets beyond belief is to grab a tent, a sleeping bag, and check out one of these perfect fall camping spots in Louisiana.  

Opened in 1974 and covering approximately 643 acres, Lake Claiborne is located in the northwestern part of Louisiana near Homer. Once home to Native Americans who lived off the land and were constantly moving, the area became familiar to European settlers looking for wealth and to establish towns. With the passage of the Louisiana Purchase, more settlers came, and large families became landowners. After the Civil War, many families could no longer hold on to their properties, and desolation came to the area. Lake Claiborne is not just a recreational area—it holds the keys to the rich history of this part of the state and there are remnants of old houses and deep wells that can be found all over the parish. In the fall, the crepe myrtle and chinaberry trees come alive with color and are a photographer’s dream. There are 87 campsites with water and electricity, and most have picnic tables and grills for cooking. There are a limited number of cabins and group camping sites, along with a small laundry. Pets are welcome. 

Would you like to get back to nature and relax? Start planning your next camping trip and visit Chicot State Park near Ville Platte, Louisiana. The park is where deer, raccoons, coyotes, and bobcats call home, and the 2,000-acre man-made lake is stocked with bass, crappie, bluegill, and sunfish, making it a fisherman’s paradise. The park became an official part of the state’s park system in 1939 and was developed under the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service. The autumn colors are reflected in the lake and the waters are so quiet that the mirror images are breathtaking. There are a total of 224 camping sites, including standard and deluxe cabins, primitive and improved tent sites, and a lodge, and there are public play and picnic areas, a boat launch, fishing pier, and rental boats. 

Fall is never so beautiful and colors as vibrant as in Richland Parish near Delhi, Louisiana. The Poverty Point campgrounds can be found in the northeastern section of the state and occupy 2,700 acres with a man-made reservoir, camping sites, and watersport opportunities, prime fishing spots, and hiking trails. There is a small entrance fee, but fees are waived for those 62 and older and three and under. The public facilities are well-maintained, and the grounds are very peaceful and quiet. Hikers will enjoy the walking trails and lake, perfect for taking photos to remember the trip. 

Deep in the bayous with tall cypress trees overhead and old pines standing watch over the marshes and inhabitants, Kisatchie National Forest is 600,000 acres of pure Louisiana. Maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the area is protected for the future and permits are required for some activities and overnight camping. Louisiana isn’t called a fisherman’s paradise for nothing, and the fishing in the Kisatchie Ranger District Wilderness Area is second to none. Certain regulations apply, so make sure you stop by the ranger station or check the website to know what you need to have. There are few better places for a day hike and trails are between a half mile and 30 miles in length. You’ll experience the rolling hills and colorful landscape with beautiful lakes and rivers along the way, reflecting the gorgeous autumn rainbow. Remember to bring water since the water along the trail isn’t suitable for drinking. 

You can’t go wrong with this highly family-friendly campground. There are cabins and tent and RV sites available at Lafayette KOA, which is open all year. Activities and amenities on the grounds include fishing, an 18-hole mini golf course, a playground for the kids, and a fully-stocked convenience store in case you forget something. You’ll never want to leave! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-louisiana Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Archery Outfitters in Louisiana Whether you’re looking for the latest model or you’re simply looking to get your old trusty bow serviced, nothing quite compares to the personalized experience of your local outfitter. The archery outfitters of Louisiana are staffed by experts, offering up the knowledge and wisdom to help you find just what you’re looking for. From Mission bows to Carbon Express arrows, you’ll find it all at the 10 best archery outfitters in the state.   

With a desire to service the community by offering great products and a family-friendly atmosphere for archery, Hoot & Holler in Bossier City is tops. This archery shop proves that excellent customer services, fair prices, and an inventory of high-quality merchandise are the secret to success. Since they only serve the needs of archery enthusiasts, they top goal is to be the best in the business. You’ll find all the best brands like Hoyt, Mathews, Bear, Diamond, and more. They can do basic bow setup for newbies, tune up your equipment, cut arrows, install strings, cables, and sights, make adjustments, and even get you set up for bow fishing. Open every day except Sunday, Hoot & Holler Archery will have you hitting the mark every time. 

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When you deal with Bayouland Bowhunters, you’re dealing with some of the most experienced bow technicians around. This shop stocks the most popular brands like Rage, Stryker, PSE, and Mission, and they’re the No. 1 Bowtech dealer in the state. Open every day except Saturday and Sunday, they have an indoor range that will give you the change to improve your aim and build your confidence. 

Experienced bow technicians and certified instructors will be on hand to assist you with any questions you have, whether you’ve stopped by to purchase your first bow or your 100th. National traditional and crossbow brands include Bowtech, Diamond, Elite, Mathews, and Excalibur, and they exclusively carry Black Eagle and Gold Tip arrows. Closed on Sunday and Monday, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. most evenings except 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. If you’re not sure about investing in a bow set yet, rent one of theirs and take one of the classes offered. 

Located in Hammond, Louisiana, is a little shop that has everything you need for your next fishing or archery adventure. With a wide variety of great brands like Bear and Hoyt for archery gear, you won’t find better customer service anywhere around. Open Monday through Friday, you’ll find the knowledge and advice you need to make your next purchase, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned archer.

Pearl River, Louisiana, is the location for this gem of a shop for all outdoor adventures. Open since 2007, veteran-owned Louisiana Outdoors has an indoor range and a huge selection of supplies for hunting and more. This is a true full-service pro shop in the area. You’ll love the elevated shooting gallery outside and brands like Hoyt, Mathews, PSE, and Mission, and so much more. When you make a purchase at Louisiana Outdoors, you’ll get comprehensive assistance to set up your new bow, including fitting and sighting the bow just for you. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

Everyone is welcome at Louisiana Archery & Sports Center in Pineville. Locally owned and operated, this pro shop and sports center aims to support outdoor enthusiasts with top-notch products, knowledge, and quality service. Established in 2003, firearms and hunting and fishing equipment is available, too, and with over 50 years of combined experience in archery, there probably isn’t a question they haven’t heard. Come in soon and test shoot bows from Elite, PSE, Hoyt, and Mathews. They offer layaway and special 12-month financing, too. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Whether you’re into hunting, fishing, camping, or practicing archery, Bowie Outfitters wants offers a trusted source for everything you need. Open since 2002, and located in Baton Rouge, you can visit the showroom and talk to knowledgeable people every day. Experienced folks will guide you through selecting and purchasing just the right gear or equipment, and can offer national brands like TenPoint, PSE, and Hoyt. Customers come back because they can trust that they aren’t going to be pressured into buying something they don’t need or can’t afford. 

Over 45 years of experience is one of the things that makes the difference at Hewitt’s Archery & Pro Shop in Ferriday, Louisiana. Known as Eastern Louisiana’s bow and archery headquarters, they’re proud that their customer service is on target. Start off right with a free set up for any bow you buy in store. You can choose from Bowtech, Bear, Hoyt, Diamond, PSE, or Obsession. If you need more assistance, you can sign up for lessons that will help build your confidence. Carrying a full line of compound, cross, and traditional bows, and accessories for bow hunting and bow fishing, they’ll help you make your best shot at finding exactly what you need.

Pookie’s Archery and Guns in Mansura, Louisiana, offers the best brands like Bowtech, Diamond, and Stryker combined with excellent customer service that’s made it one of the best retailers of archery gear and supplies in the area. When you buy a bow set from Pookie’s, they’ll set it up just for you to make sure it’s adjusted accurately before you leave the store. And you won’t find a better customer satisfaction guarantee anywhere. Open every day but Sunday, they’ve been in business since 1982, and they use their knowledge to make your experience the best it can be. 

Open every day except Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Saturday when they close at 3 p.m., Man Cave Archery in Bentley, Louisiana, offers certified technicians who can tune your bow, create custom-built strings and fletching, and make adjustments and repairs to your equipment and supplies. Bringing over 30 years of experience into the shop, owner Spanky Briggs also serves as Louisiana Director for the Archery Shooter Association. The shop, open since 2014, offers nationally recognized brands like Elite, Hoyt, Mathews, Bowtech, and PSE. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-louisiana Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Louisiana Louisiana is a great place to fish with so many options for freshwater and saltwater fishing throughout the state. Whether you’re a novice fisherman or an experienced one, you’ll need to replace or repair new supplies and equipment from time to time. You’ll also need a source for bait and other sundry items for your fishing trip. Below are 10 of the best bait and tackle shops in the state where you can get everything you need or ask questions about brands, the best places to go, or share your own fish story with likeminded folks. Escape, unwind, and go fishing!

It’s all about that bass (and crappie) at Honey Hole Tackle Shop in West Monroe, Louisiana. Owner Honey Hole opened in 1991 with the idea of creating a “reel” place for fisherman, and has been that kind of place ever since. At this unique shop, you’ll find fishing experts. 

You’ll find knowledgeable and friendly people at Superior Bait & Tackle who are happy to help you with all your fishing needs. Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this family-owned bait shop opened in 1999, and carries brand names like Z-Man and Shimano, but also help locate specialty items and your favorite hard-to-find requests. Need your rod or reel repaired? They can do that, too, and set up a time to provide instructions when you need to know how to build your own rod or make a leader. They even help organize a saltwater or freshwater charter for your group. Open every day except Sunday.

What do speckled trout and triple tails have in common? They’re both not far from Rigolets Bait & Seafood in Slidell, Louisiana. This full-service family owned bait and tackle shop has everything you could possible need for your next fishing trip. Tackle, bait, fuel, food, licenses, marine hardware, safety equipment, and more with featured brands like D.O.A., Category 5, and more. If you’re looking for a great family destination that includes fishing, Rigolets has the best amenities around, and they’re open daily from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Serving the local fishing community for more than 90 years, Bacon’s Tackle in Shreveport, Louisiana, is the place to go for overall best customer satisfaction. They specialize in finding hard-to-find items, and can usually get it quickly. If you have a question, they take the time to make sure you get an answer, something a lot of the big box stores don’t take the time to do. Open daily except on Sundays. 

Gus’ Tackle & Nets is a locally owned and operated fishing supply store in Slidell, Louisiana. They also provide rod and reel maintenance and repair services. Best of all, everyone at Gus’ Tackle knows about fish and fishing and can help answer any question you have. If they don’t know it, they’ll find out. 

No matter what you need for your next fishing trip, you can find it at Terry’s Live Bait in Golden Meadow, Louisiana. Clean and well managed, this family-owned and family-friendly establishment is one of the best shops around. Situated on the water, it won’t take long to get your supplies, and everyone leaves satisfied. Open every day, you’ll have a new best friend at Terry’s. 

You’ve got a friend at Fisherman’s Friend Bait Shop in Chalmette, Louisiana. More than just a bait shop, and located behind the Marina Hotel, the philosophy here is that “good things come to those who bait.” Open every day, the owners of this third-generation family-owned store can help you catch more fish by providing proven techniques and quality resources. No fuss, no mess. Just a good place to get your fishing supplies.

Top notch is how this bait and tackle shop in Marrero, Louisiana, is known by customers. Barataria Bait & Tackle is a great place to buy local because it’s a store for fisherman run by fisherman. It makes a big difference in trusting that you’re getting high-quality products and sound advice when you know you’re not just a customer. You’ll not find out where the fish are biting at the large box stores, but it’s part of the conversation when you stop by Barataria’s. Open daily except Sundays. 

Located on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, Puglia’s Sporting Goods in Metairie isn’t your average fishing supply store. Also stocking firearms, and hunting and marine supplies, Puglia’s is open every day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Embracing the rich Louisiana culture and outdoor heritage combined with being in business for over 40 years, gives this shop a big advantage over the larger box stores that may carry quantity, but don’t have the tendency for customer service or product guarantees. When you shop here, you can count on getting the best product for the best price. 

Sometimes the smallest places are the hidden gems of an area. That’s true with Gail’s Bait Shop. With a large selection of live bait and offshore and onshore tackle and equipment, Gail’s in Leeville, Louisiana, prefers to spend their time helping people be better fisherman. Open Thursday through Sunday for all your fishing needs. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-louisiana Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, redfishuniversity.com) specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, gottagofishingcharters.com). The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, laredfish.com or (mike@venicefishing.net) is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (johnsonfishing.com), swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

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Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Louisiana Cooler temperatures mean Louisiana comes to life with activities like hiking, camping, and hunting. Interested in a rustic cabin experience in North Toledo Bend State Park? How about a guided hunting retreat for pheasants and duck? We’ve got it. Check out our favorite fall activities in Louisiana.  

Mark your calendars now for the Annual Fall Tour of Homes in Natchitoches. This fall pilgrimage takes place in October each year and showcases some of the most unique and interesting homes in this part of Louisiana. You’ll go inside and see the outside of some very special houses, each with a story worth hearing. 

Camping in Louisiana’s summer heat can get pretty unbearable, so once September or October hits, head out to North Toledo Bend State Park for a camping experience you won’t forget. This beautiful state park has a lot going on. You’ll find plenty of hiking trails, water-sport opportunities, bird watching, and more. It is a local favorite and is also accommodating to travelers, as there are many options for lodging. There are rustic cabins to rent, but most campers prefer to sleep without a roof over their heads in their tent. You can’t put a price tag on falling asleep under the stars in such pleasant weather.

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If you’re a photographer by profession or hobby, Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge is a great place to practice your art. The lush jungle environment with its swamps and walkways are perfect for getting pictures of the trees, birds, and animals that live there. The live animal exhibits will bring a smile to your face, as well as your kids, and it’s a great way to mix fun, exercise, and education. 

Any day is a good day for fishing, but fall presents seasonal opportunities. Northern Louisiana is the location of Grand Bayou Resort, a 2,800-acre paradise for those who love to camp, hike, fish, or just relax and experience in the cooler weather starting to roll in. The Grand Bayou Lake is stocked with plenty of largemouth bass and is a fisherman’s dream. 

Fall is the best time to be outside when summer heat isn’t making you melt, and the best place to shop outdoors is in The French Market District of New Orleans. There are open-air markets where you can purchase fresh locally grown produce, stroll around and see all of the artwork, eat on the patio of the best restaurants in the city, and shop at boutiques, and head to Crescent Park. You’ll want to spend some time at this 20-acre park with a 1.4-mile walk that brings you from the city to the riverfront.

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If hunting is in your blood, you’ll love what the folks at Bin There Hunting in Welsh bring to the table. Their preserve is fully stocked with doves, teal, geese, ducks, pheasants, and more, so you certainly won’t leave empty-handed! Most packages include dogs, decoys, plenty of targets, and a meal. This is the perfect getaway for when the fall weather starts to roll in; so bring your friends, family, and enthusiasm for an excellent experience!

“Stay at one of the area's most historic antebellum plantation homes,” you won’t be disappointed! You’ll marvel at the 19th century gardens and individual cottages on this unique property, still owned by the original family, deep in the heart of Louisiana. You can swim, fish, go for a leisurely stroll, or sit on the porch and enjoy a cold beverage. There’s a treehouse to rent that has a three-level deck that lets you see out at night, and a Jacuzzi that’s perfect for relaxing in nature. 

When you think of Louisiana, one thing that comes to mind is alligators. There are swamps and restaurants that feature the spiny species of reptile, but did you know there’s an annual festival that celebrates it? You’ll enjoy local Cajun cuisine, live music, carnival rides, and much more when you check out the Alligator Festival in Luling.

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Pick a peck of pumpkins at Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch. Families are welcome and are encouraged to bring the little ones for some great on-the-farm fun. Besides picking pumpkins, you can zip through the trees on the zip line, race a duck, pedal a tractor, find your way through a hay maze, milk a cow, or roll down the hill. Grownups can play a game of horseshoes, take a walk along a nature trail, take great family photos, and pack a picnic lunch to share. 

There is so much culture to experience in New Orleans. However nothing beats the swamp kayak tours put on by the native outdoorsmen over at Wild Louisiana Tours. These tours are truly unique to the area; you won’t find landscapes like these anywhere else. Book one of the famous kayak tours, from the many options available, and get ready to learn about the history and impact of this untouched flora and fauna. These tours are raved about, as you’ll be taken to many hidden spots that otherwise you may never see or learn about. You are encouraged to bring your cameras to this is a photography-friendly activity!

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-louisiana Fri, 21 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Louisiana Whether you’re a veteran outdoorsman or just starting out, having the right gear can make all the difference in the success of failure of your camping experience. Not only do the great outdoor gear stores of Louisiana offer the best in supplies in equipment, but many offer educational opportunities and have a knowledgeable staff that can give you all the necessary tips and tricks. Here are the best outdoor stores for camping gear in the state! 

Offering great and trusted brands like the North Face,  for clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and hiking packs, WindPouch inflatable hammocks, and MSR stoves, the Backpacker in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana, is more than just a camping store. They are the premier headquarters for all things outdoors. Open since 1974, the Backpacker has earned the reputation for selection, service, and quality in outdoor gear and offers the exclusive “Price Match Guarantee” that ensures your satisfaction in everything you buy.

Having nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals is essential when you’re out in nature. Lafayette’s LDP Camping Foods has been selling the best since 1991. Find great freeze-dried backpacking and camping good options from brands like AlpineAire, Mountain House, and Backpacker’s Pantry. Not only are these meals easy to travel with and good for you, but they’re also delicious. LDP’s website also offers a variety of resources on where to camp and what other gear to bring, to help you have the best experience. 

Bass Pro Shops is nationally-known for their unique and wilderness-themed stores. Located in Bossier City and Denham Springs, Louisiana, Bass Pro Shops is open every day and has a huge selection of hunting, shooting, fishing, and camping gear as well as clothing for each category. Featuring a great selection of their own brand, Rogue Expedition tents, sleeping bags, and cots, they also carry equipment and supplies for family enjoyment like the kid-friendly hydration bottles from CamelBak, and Coghlan’s food preparation supplies. 

Open every day, the knowledgeable staff at Field & Stream in Lafayette, Louisiana pride themselves on being able to guide you through their experience in your outdoor adventure. Around since 1871, they can help get you ready for a trip with the guys or camping with the family. Time-tested brands that make the best in camping gear, clothing, and safety equipment are featured. Some of these brands include warm men and women’s clothing items from Under Armour, Stansport cooking equipment and coffee pots, and Lifeline First Aid Kits.

Finding the right gear for your outdoor adventure is just as important as picking the right location, and Massey’s Outfitter’s with multiple locations across Louisiana, is the right place to start your journey. From eating utensils from Sea to Summit to the warmth of Marmot sleeping bags and apparel and the soft comfort of an alpaca blanket from Southern Marsh, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort on your camping trip. 

Pack & Paddle in Lafayette, Louisiana, believes that it’s all about the journey. Starting out as a seller of aluminum canoes in 1974, the store now operates as a specialty outfitter for rock climbing, backpacking, family camping, kayaking, fishing, and more. Pack & Paddle is more than just a store, though. They want to help you experience the unique places in Louisiana by providing Western Mountaineering products like sleeping bags and lightweight down comforters and garments, Jetboil portable cooking systems, and Kelty outdoor living gear that’s perfect for the novice or the expert camper. 

Cabela’s has been a mainstay outfitter for camping enthusiasts and lovers of the outdoors since 1961. Not just a shopping store, visiting Cabela’s is a shopping experience. Men and women young and old will find everything they need to enjoy their camping, hunting, fishing, or other outdoor activity. With the philosophy that the customer is No. 1, Cabela’s carries a full line of camping equipment like Intex airbeds and accessories for perfect sleeping, Coleman camping products like sleeping bags and lighted tents to keep you warm and safe at night and Yeti coolers to keep your food and beverages at the perfect temperature. Whether you’re just a beginner or a seasoned camper, you’ll find everything you need for a fun, safe, and successful experience. 

About to spend another months pay in this place. #cabelas #fishing #tackle #spendupbig

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-best-outdoor-stores-in-louisiana Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Louisiana White sandy beaches and clear blue water with some of the best fishing spots anywhere await you as you plan your next weekend getaway or family vacation in Louisiana. Choose any of the five gorgeous beach campsites in the state below for an unforgettable experience in America’s Cajun country! 

Located in the heart of Cajun country, this 42-acre family-friendly campground is clean and has a relaxed atmosphere, live music in the barn on Saturdays, beach volleyball, basketball, horseshoes pits, and a one-acre freshwater swimming area. Canoes can be rented, and there are several play areas for kids, picnic sites, and a pavilion for larger groups. You can even pick up a few things that you may have forgotten to bring at the little general store on premise. They have 95 RV sites or you can rent one of the cottages that have a full kitchen. Certain fees apply so check on the website before you go. 

With 87 campsites that include water and electricity, 643-acre Lake Claiborne State Park is a great way to spend your next family vacation. Opened in 1974, this popular campground sits in northwestern Louisiana and has a great beach area, nature trail, plenty of picnic areas with barbecue grills and tables, and your choice of cabins or premium and primitive campsites. The lake is central to the park and is 6,400 acres of fun with swimming, fishing, boating, and waterskiing. This is nature at its best.

Lake D’Arbonne State Park is a fisherman’s dream, and 15,250-acre Lake D’Arbonne is the centerpiece of the park. This very popular camping area is located in a beautifully wooded region of Union Parish and is 655 acres of rolling pine forest. Relaxation is all but guaranteed here, but if you want something a little more active, there’s an extended wooden pier that stretches out into the lake, several trails for hiking, and a swimming pool. Boating and water skiing is permitted, and photographers will find no lack of wonderful scenes to capture along the trails, inclines, and beach area. Overnight guests can stay in one of the cabins, lodges, or occupy a premium or primitive campsite. Fees apply. 

This beautifully wooded state park offers the opportunity to unwind, relax, and step back to simplicity. South Toledo Bend State Park is one of two reservoir parks that welcome overnight guests in cabins furnished with basic cookware, utensils, and linens, or a choice of campsites that range from water and electric provided to primitive. Although the park is among the youngest in the state, it has become a favorite for campers and fishermen, and hosts numerous bass fishing tournaments throughout the year. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, birding, biking, and other watersports, too. 

There is nothing more stunning than the orange glow of the setting sun reflected in the water of Lake Arthur at Myers Landing in Louisiana. Off the beaten path but well worth the drive, Myers Landing combines the best of all worlds. Quiet and peaceful for those who want their solitude, and there are plenty of things to do who want more adventure. Outdoor activities include boating, swimming, watersports like skiing and tubing, biking, fishing, and miniature golf. The campground has all the modern conveniences of home, but the beauty and serenity of being outdoors. There’s even a quaint general store built in the 1930s where forgotten items can be purchased. Cabins are available or you can park your RV. 

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Ser Borakovskyy/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-louisiana Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
4 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Louisiana If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, hiking is a wonderful way to experience the sights and sounds along some of the most picturesque routes in nature. Spending the night brings another perspective to the experience. Overnight campers can wake up to the sounds of birds in the trees above and witness stunning sunrises. Below are the most beautiful backpacking spots Louisiana has to offer. Any one will give you an unforgettable experience seeing nature like never before. 

Chicot State Park is near Ville Platte in the lower central part of Louisiana, and is one of the oldest state parks in the state, being added in 1939. Significant development was done by the Civilian Conservation Corp to this 2,000-acre area in the years that followed, which created the hiking and backpacking trails, picnic areas, and stocked fishing lakes that are enjoyed today. For those who enjoy spending the night in the outdoors, there are several primitive campsites along the 18-mile trail that circles Lake Chicot. Hikers and campers will find magnificent magnolia trees blooming from March to October. Tall cypress trees are also very prevalent in the park and seem to dip their roots in the cool lake water as they stretch up to the sky. Dogs are permitted on the trail, but must be on a leash. 

Kisatchie National Forest is the only national forest in Louisiana and is located in the north-central region of the state. Pines and hardwoods dominate the woody landscape, and there are many rare plants and animals that are specific to the forest. The 8,700-acre Kisatchie Wilderness, where the Backbone Trail is located, is the largest of the three protected areas in this region, and is part of the National Conservation Area. Created by the Civilian Conservation Corps between the Great Depression and World War II, the Backbone Trail is a moderately rated trail with mainly flat and sandy parts. There are several good overlooks along the 7.1-mile trail, and most hikers can complete it in about two hours. Hikers and backpackers will have wonderful caves and canyons to explore, and there are some steep cliffs for those who want to try a little rock climbing. For those staying overnight, there are several campgrounds available, and the Gum Springs Campground is highly rated. Remember to bring your camera and your fishing pole! 

Located on the northern shores of the beautiful and picturesque Lake Pontchartrain near Mandeville, Louisiana, Fontainebleau State Park offers 2,800 acres of nature at its best. Over 400 bird species make this park their home, and visitors have the unique opportunity to see not one, but three different ecosystems because the area is surrounded by water on three sides. Overnight campers will be treated to amazing sunrises, and there are two trails in the park, a 4.8-mile hiking trail and a 1.25-mile nature trail along a boardwalk with viewing platforms. Visitors may want to check out the remains of an old sugar mill built by the founder of Mandeville in 1852.

There are 38,450 acres waiting for avid outdoor enthusiasts and hunters to explore in the National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve, located in Kisatchie National Forest near Natchitoches, Louisiana. Hikers will find challenging trails to be rugged and fairly steep, so caution should be exercised. For those who decide on this area, the beautiful views more than make up for the difficulty getting there. There are designated areas that allow primitive camping between Oct. 1 and April 30, namely Oak Camp, Corral Camp, Coyote Camp, and Curtis Camp. Roadside camping is also permitted, but check with the ranger station to verify which ones are open when you arrive. Certain fees apply, so make sure to find out about those when you stop at the ranger station, too. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/4-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-louisiana http://stepoutside.org/article/4-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-louisiana Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500