Best Campsites in Louisiana

by Amy Myers
Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Nicknamed the Sportsman’s Paradise, it’s no surprise that Louisiana is the capital of bayou camping. Most if not all of the state’s campsites back up to bayous, swamps and coastal marshes, all of which provide a variety of backcountry adventures. Of course, one of the greatest pulls to Louisiana’s campsites is the abundance of freshwater and saltwater fishing available, but there’s so much more hiding between the cypresses, beeches and cedars.

With such vibrant forests and deep lagoons, each one of Lousiana’s parks and campgrounds offers an opportunity to spot wildlife. And, of course, wherever there’s water, there’s an opportunity to grab a paddle and explore the state’s marshes and swamplands up close.

It’s true that Louisiana is the sportsman’s playground. But that doesn’t mean you have to be an angling or backcountry expert to enjoy its campsites. While there are activities reserved for the pros, there are also plenty of adventures in store for first-time campers and families. Whether your group likes to hit the trails or just hang by the fire, your adventure awaits in Louisiana’s woods and waters.

Check out Outsider’s recommendations for the Bayou State’s campsites.

Chicot State Park

For the freshwater fishermen.

  • Location: 3469 Chicot Park Road, Ville Platte, LA 70586
  • Campground Contact: 337-363-2403
  • Park Hours: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., daily
  • Campground Website

Within Chicot State Park’s 6,400 acres lies a lake that has helped anglers shatter state records for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and red-ear sunfish. The freshwater lake brings fishermen and women of all ages and experience levels to its edges for a once-in-a-lifetime catch. For added convenience, the state park also has a boathouse, three boat launches and boat rental facilities. So even if you don’t have the gear, you can still enjoy all that Lake Chicot has to offer.

Also located in the park is the Louisiana State Arboretum. Comprised of a mature magnolia and beechwood forest, the arboretum also hosts an outdoor classroom and several miles of labeled nature trails that educate visitors on native Louisiana flora.

Campground breakdown:

  • 198 water/electric campsites: $20-28 per night
  • 6 backcountry sites: $9 per night (first-come, first-serve basis)
  • 10 Tentrr glamping sites: $85-139 per night
  • 1 primitive group site: $50 per night

Chicot amenities: fishing pier, group pavilion, canoe/kayak launch and rentals, playground, meeting room, nature center, tent pads, picnic tables and grills/fire rings

Reserve a Chicot campsite here.

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

For the wildlife watchers.

  • Location: 5400 Levee Road, St. Martinville, LA 70582
  • Campground Contact: 337-229-4764
  • Park Hours: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., daily
  • Campground Website

Within the Atchafalaya Basin, lies Lake Fausse Point State Park. Here, the 6,000-acre park is an oasis for creatures of all kinds. For that reason, it’s the prime location within Louisiana for watching wildlife. From the treetops to the depths of the lake, the area is home to a variety of animals, like alligators, roseate spoonbills, painted buntings, prothonotary warblers, otters, leopard frogs and barred owls. In order to catch sight of all of these wild residents, though, you’ll need to have patience and step quietly through the trails.

Be sure to open the Atchafalaya Ebird Trail Tracker to help you identify what you see.

Campground breakdown:

  • 46 water/electric campsites: $20-33 per night
  • 7 backcountry sites: $9 per night (first-come, first-serve basis)
  • 2 Tentrr glamping sites: $85-139 per night
  • 1 primitive group site: $50 per night

Lake Fausse Point amenities: group pavilion, canoe/kayak launch and rentals, playground, meeting room, nature center, tent pads, picnic tables, sports area and grills/fire rings

Reserve a Lake Fausse Point site here.

Palmetto Island State Park

For the kids.

  • Location: 19501 Pleasant Road, Abbeville, LA 70510
  • Campground Contact: 337-893-3930
  • Park Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., daily
  • Campground Website

If you’re looking for a new go-to spot for your family, you’ve just hit the jackpot. For outdoor-focused folks, this park is a one-stop shop for all kinds of adventures. Palmetto Island is home to over four miles of hiking trails, instant access to bayou fishing and plenty of paddling opportunities on the Vermilion River. Not only does Palmetto Island State Park have plenty of natural resources for your kids to explore, but it’s also home to a water playground and splash pad that’ll tire out even the most rambunctious rugrats before settling down around a family campfire. All you need for a weekend of fun is a towel, bathing suit and tent, so you can leave the tablets and toys back at home!

Campground breakdown:

  • 96 water/electric campsites: $20-33 per night
  • 1 group primitive site: $35-40 per night
  • 4 backcountry sites: $9 per night
  • 6 cabins: $175 per night

Palmetto Island amenities: tent pads, picnic tables, grills/fire rings, boat launch, kayak/canoe rental, bathhouse with showers, group pavilion, meeting room/outdoor classroom, water playground, sports area, splash pad and sanitation dump station

Reserve a Palmetto Island campsite here.

Lake Claiborne State Park

For the beach campers.

  • Location: 225 State Park Road, Homer, LA 71040
  • Campground Contact: 318-927-2976
  • Park Hours: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., daily
  • Campground Website

Known for its crystal clear waters, Lake Claiborne is a prime location for campers looking for sand and sunshine during their weekend away from front-country life. You can set up camp right beside the shore and wake up to some of the most stunning sunrises you’ll ever experience.

Along with Lake Claiborne’s beachfront camping, the area also has prime freshwater fishing. Claiborne Lake is stocked full of a variety of fish, such as largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, channel catfish, black crappie, striped bass, chain pickerel, bream and white perch. There are also lots of hiking trails to explore, including the six-mile White Tail Hiking Trail and the 5-mile Whispering Pines Biking Trail. Additionally, for disc golfers, the park is home to the No. 1 and No. 2 disc golf courses in the state.

Campground breakdown:

  • 87 water/electric sites: $20-33 per night
  • 10 Tentrr glamping sites: $85-139 per night
  • 2 standard, non-electric sites: $18 per night
  • 1 primitive group site: $35–$65 per night
  • 10 cabins: $150-175 per night

Lake Claiborne amenities: tent pads, picnic tables, grills/fire rings, group pavilion, visitor center, fishing pier, boat launch, kayak/canoe rentals, meeting room/outdoor classroom, playground, sports area, swimming beach, restrooms and sanitation dump station

Reserve a Lake Claiborne campsite here.

A couple sat next to Claiborne Lake. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Lincoln Parish Campground & RV Park

For the mountain bikers.

  • Location: 211 Parish Park Rd, Ruston, LA 71270
  • Campground Contact: 318-251-5156
  • Campground Website

Lincoln Parish Park is revered as one of the best mountain biking destinations in the country, and for good reason. The park boasts a 10-mile-long bike route that invites rugged cyclists of all experience levels to its trailhead. Full of hills, switchbacks, rocks and jumps, the trail offers you the chance to push your limits and enjoy the thrill of the sport with the backdrop of Hoogland Lake and a thick forest of towering pines.After a heart-pumping ride through the trees, you can cool off at the beach area or go for a paddle.

Pro tip: Because of the high-quality trails, Lincoln Parish Park hosts quite a few races and athletic events throughout the year. While booking your campsite, be sure to check with the director to see if you’ll be fighting any crowds for access to the park’s resources.

Campground breakdown:

  • 33 water/electric campsites: $25 per night

Lincoln Parish Park amenities: restrooms with showers, kayak/canoe ramp, covered pavilions, playground, benches, beach and swimming area, fishing pier, picnic tables, archery range and Wifi.

Reserve a Lincoln Parish campsite by calling 318-251-5156.