Managed by the Office of Lieutenant Governor, which is a division of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, these state parks provide wonderful opportunities to experience the joys of the great outdoors.
If you are into fishing, swimming or recreational water sport activities like canoeing and kayaking, numerous rivers, lagoons, swamps, bayous and lakes will serve as your playground.
Those who love hiking, backpacking or biking can explore miles of trails that will take you through lush hills, verdant marshlands and dense forest. Much of which contains some of the best conditions for birdwatching in the country. As well as sites and landmarks that showcase over 1750 years of the park’s history.
If you live in and around the city of Lake Charles, all of Louisiana’s state parks can be easily accessed. Should you need inspiration of where to go, this list of 5 State Parks near Lake Charles will provide some great options.
Map of State Parks Near Lake Charles, LA
Here is a map of the state parks in Louisiana covered by this post:
List of State Parks Near Lake Charles
All of these five state parks near Lake Charles can easily be reached within a journey time of around 3 hours. So they are all excellent places to visit on a day trip. However if you would like to stay for a couple of nights or more they all offer various camping options.
1. Chicot State Park
Location: 3469 Chicot Park Rd, Ville Platte, LA 70586
Situated a 90 minute drive northwest of Lake Charles, the Chicot State Park encompasses over 6,400 acres of stunning rolling hillsides and cool, clear waters.
Centered around picturesque Lake Chicot, the park is a noted spot for fishing, with the likes of crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and red-ear sunfish all being available in abundance.
Anglers are provided with three boat launches and a boathouse, and there are also boat rental facilities too if you don’t have your own.
Aside from fishing, the park also has a wonderful hiking, biking and backpacking trail that showcases its gorgeous natural landscape of hardwood forest, whilst completely circling the perimeter of the lake.
The lake itself is also a popular spot for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Within the park there are a number of options for camping including 8 stylish glamping tents and 198 campsites that have water and electrical hookup. In addition, there are also backcountry campsites and primitive camping areas too.
2. Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
Location: 5400 Levee Rd, St Martinville, LA 70582
Occupying over 6,000-acres within the spectacular Atchafalaya Basin, the Lake Fausse Pointe State Park is an area of huge cultural significance.
Located about an hour and 50 minutes drive north from Lake Charles, the park was the former home site of the Chitimacha Indians.
Nestled on the edge of a stunning aquatic wilderness, where a labyrinth of waterways meander their way through it, the park is a very popular spot for boating, fishing and canoeing.
The basin’s unique habitat is also an excellent place to explore or photograph via hiking, whilst wildlife lovers will also enjoy the opportunity to spot a wide range of flora and fauna species.
It is also close to historic areas like the city of St Martinville and the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, which also make for interesting diversions.
Visitors who plan to stay overnight can do so in a variety of accommodation options including lake-front cabins, glamping tents and campsites with water and electrical hookups. Those who want to rough it can stay at the canoe campsites or a primitive camping area.
3. North Toledo Bend State Park
Location: 2907 N Toledo Park Rd, Zwolle, LA 71486
Positioned on one of America’s largest man-made reservoirs, the North Toledo Bend State Park is one of Louisiana’s pre-eminent destinations for recreational water sports activities.
It will take you two hours and 30 minutes to drive north from Lake Charles, but once you are there you will be able to enjoy everything from swimming, paddling and canoeing to kayaking, water-skiing and boating.
Fishing is also a very popular pastime here too, with numerous freshwater fishing competitions that attract anglers from around the country, regularly taking place.
In addition, the park also has over 900 acres available for hiking, picnicking and camping. The latter of which can be done in 63 campsites that come with water and electrical hookup.
4. Jimmie Davis State Park
Location: 1209 State Park Rd, Chatham, LA 71226
About 3 hours north of Lake Charles lies the Jimmie Davis State Park.
Set on 294 spectacular acres, upon a peninsula on Lake Caney, the park is another prime spot for fishing, with a pier and two boat launches available for use by anglers.
Water-skiing is also very popular here, as is hiking through the forest of hardwoods and mixed pines that encircle the lake.
For children the park also has an excellent playground, while there are plenty of bike trails for cyclists to explore and even a lovely beach to relax and sunbathe on too.
For overnight visitors, the park features 10 glamping tents and 73 campsites, which come with electrical hookups and water.
5. Bogue Chitto State Park
Location: 17049 State Park Blvd, Franklinton, LA 70438
Covering some 1786 acres, the Bogue Chitto State Park is located about a 3 hour and 15 minute drive east of Lake Charles.
Boasting one of Louisiana’s most picturesque and exciting river systems, the park features a fabulous landscape of river, forests, hillsides, small streams and cypress-tupelo swamps, which can be explored by kayak, canoes, bikes, horse or on foot.
One of the highlights of the park is Fricke’s Cave, while fishing can be done in any one of 11 freshwater lakes, or a river.
Camping options include 11 glamping tents and 81 campsites, many of which have electrical and water hookups.
Throughout the park there are also numerous picnic pavilions, and birdwatching opportunities as well.