Heart of Louisiana: Residents head to state parks

Heart of Louisiana: State Park camping

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some families have spent decades loading up the camper and heading to the lakes and forests for a week or two of relaxation. But thanks to a drastic change in travel habits, some folks are now getting that first camper and discovering our state parks.

It’s the kind of family getaway that’s been around for a long time, hitching up the camper or loading the motorhome or packing a tent and heading to a state park. In Louisiana, those campsites are tucked away in piney hills, laid out along clear-water lakes, or nestled among the cypress and oak trees of a winding bayou.

Robert Burris of Mandeville is a regular at Fairview Riverside State Park.

“I live three miles from here. We traveled with two dogs. We come here; you might as well be 500 miles away because you don’t have to do a thing. You can sit around and, and no worries. Don’t answer your telephone if you don’t want to,” Burris said.

There are hundreds of campsites in more than 20 state parks spread out all over Louisiana. And this seems to be the kind of family vacation that's growing in popularity right now

“We’re seeing a huge increase in new campers. There’s a lot of people coming out, they just bought a camper. They want to come close to home and set it up overnight and see how everything works in it before they try to travel out in it,” Fairview park manager Jennifer Wallace said.

And for those campground newbies, the state parks have “camp hosts” like Mark Burgess who helps take the edge off the first-time experience.

“We take care of customers as they come in. If they have problems with electrical, hooking up, any problems like that,” Burgess said.

At North Louisiana’s Lake Claiborne state park, the beach on a clear-water lake is one of the main attractions. Christy Wheeler and her family came here from Arkansas.

“We wanted a weekend away. We bought a new camper last weekend and wanted to come camping this weekend. And this is close to home and quick getaway,” Wheeler said.

It’s a kind of vacation that lets you unplug and really focus on time with the family. Whether swimming, boating and fishing, paddling a bayou, or taking a hike in the woods.

Robert Thibodaux, of Abbeville, brought his family to Lake Fausse point state park in the Atchafalaya basin.

“We bought a camper for the first time and this will be our first camping trip. How’s it going so far? So far everything good,” Thibodaux said.

Out here, social distancing is easy. And spending a few hours outdoors, out in nature, has a way of easing the stress and making you feel a little better.

Due to the high demand for campsites and cabins, it’s a good idea to make reservations ahead of time.

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