Located in St Martin parish you'll find Lake Martin. An 800-acre lake with 200 acres being open water, the remaining area consists of cypress-tupelo swamp. A hotspot for tourists and locals alike; attracting sportsmen, birders, photographers, and tourists. The best way to experience Lake Martin is to be on the water using a watercraft capable of navigating shallow water. It is blissful gliding through the calm waters on a beautiful day. Common wildlife sights include Great egrets, Great blue herons, Black-crowned Night-Herons, alligators, and from time to time you may even encounter an Osprey or Bald Eagle. The Nature Conservancy operates Cypress Island Preserve on the North end of the lake as a protected rookery for migratory bird nesting. They also operate a 2.5-mile walking levee trail that is open from fall to spring. The larger photo below was taken in the fall on the walking trail.
Stretching through 8 Louisiana parishes and 150 miles in length, Louisiana is home to the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. This area is some of the most remote and uninhabited territories of the state. Most of the basin is only accessible by water. But there are some awesome options for tours on boats, or for a uniquely Louisiana experience you can opt for an airboat tour. You can find Bald Eagles soaring and nesting in the area along with Ospreys, and alligators soaking in the sun. On the second Saturday of November, you can make a visit to Henderson, La, and celebrate at the Atchafalaya Basin Festival.
Jean Lafitte National Preserve (Barataria Preserve)
Located less than 30 minutes outside of New Orleans, La you will find Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The trails of the preserve contain some very diverse swamps. Transitioning from flooded cypress swamp to palmetto, to bottomland hardwood forests. A stroll through Barataria Preserve has so much on display. The park and preserve have miles of trail ranging from gravel to boardwalk, but most of the waterways are impassable due to aquatic vegetation. While traversing the trails, it is common to see alligators sunning directly next to trails. There are also wading birds looking for lunch that can be spotted along the many waterways of the trail system
Chicot State Park
Located outside of Ville Platte, La in Evangeline Parish lies Chicot State Park. The Park covers 6,400 acres of rolling hills and water. The park features an almost 18-mile trail system that encompasses the lake and is the primary attraction of the park. The park is home to a very diverse landscape, including cypress swamps on the banks of Lake Chicot to pine forests at the higher elevations of the park. The park draws tourists and locals looking for a place to fish, kayak or canoe, hike, or just enjoy the serenity of the wilderness.
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
Located directly along the levee containing the Atchafalaya Basin is Lake Fausse Pointe State Park. It is a 6,000-acre park that offers trails, camping accommodations, a splash pad, and boating opportunities. 3 trails will get you up close to the swamp; a 3/4 mile trail, a 1.6-mile trail, and a 3.3-mile trail. For those looking for kayaking or canoe options, there is also a 7-mile canoe trail that takes you through the swamps and waterways of Lake Fausse Pointe.
Whether you are looking for something a little wild or to completely immerse yourself in the wilderness; Louisiana has something to feed your soul!