5 Day Adventure Planner: From the Bayou to the Beach

Lake Martin and the Nature Conservancy's Cypress Island Preserve is one of the largest wading bird rookeries in North America.

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Exploring Louisiana should of course include a stop through Mardi Gras central, New Orleans. But when you’ve had your city life fix, we’ve got a three-day itinerary that will take you off the beaten path and through the state’s must-see adventurous side. So, grab your bike, hiking stick and tent because we’re taking you down the trails less traveled.

Triathletes compete in the Xterra Epic-Rustman competition at Lincoln Parish Park which is located just north of Ruston, Louisiana. Athletes compete in a 1 mile swim, 31 mile mountain bike ride and a 10 mile run.

Day 1: Camping and Combing the Gulf Beaches
Pack up the bike and pull out the tent as you head over to Grand Isle, Louisiana, for a night on the beach and under the stars. With campsites located right on the Gulf, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more relaxing locale to call home for the night. At sunrise, take your coffee and yawns with you while combing the beach for salty shells that have washed ashore.

Day 2: Kayaking Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin
One of Louisiana’s most character defining landscapes is the bayou. The Atchafalaya Basin will bring you deep into Cajun country and have you paddling past moss-strewn cypress, watching for gators, and checking each corner for beautiful whooping cranes. You will definitely want a full day for this adventure, as the routes can bring you through miles of jaw-dropping, serene waters. If you’re looking for a bit more speed, make sure you seek out the airboat swamp tours in the area.

Day 3 – Hiking the Kisatchie Hills
After spending a day on the bayou, it’s time to tackle the trails on foot with a jaunt through the Kisatchie Hills. The trails here will surprise most who visit, with multiple waterfalls along the way and rolling terrain to keep things interesting. The Caroline Dormine trail will take you through 10 miles of thick forest, sandy creeks, and waterfall-filled territories giving you a diverse look at the area.

Cory Werk of Bayou Teche Experience glides through cypress trees in Lake Martin in St. Martin Parish, La. Werk is owner of Bayou Teche Experience which offers kayak and bike rentals to explore the Cajun country bayous, lakes, and swamps of south Louisiana.

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Day 4 – Fishing the waters of Toledo Bend
What better way to spend a day than by reeling in a world-class bass! Toledo Bend has earned the no. 1 spot for a second consecutive year on Bassmaster’s “Best Bass Lakes” list and it sure won’t disappoint. With tournaments occuring throughout the season, everyone from competition fishermen to recreational users will have their chance to cast a line. If you’re looking for the local hotspots, we would recommend hiring a guide to take you out at least once.

Pier at Cypress Bend Park on Toledo Bend Lake in Sabine Parish, Louisiana.

Day 5: Biking in Ruston
Wrap up your adventure in Louisiana with one of America’s best single tracks at Lincoln Parish Park. Mountain bikers will have the opportunity to hit ten miles of fast and flowy trails with sections of roots and rocks to keep you on your toes. Afterwards, check out the quaint college town of Ruston for a quick bite and your first taste of Southern hospitality.

We hope we’ve helped you see what the amazing state of Louisiana has to offer. From kayaking through cypress tree-covered swamps to campside stargazing on the Gulf, the diversity in landscape running throughout the Sportsman’s Paradise is sure to surprise each time you visit. We think you’ll be back after getting a taste for Louisiana adventure!

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