Outdoor adventure and fun for the whole family is in store in Louisiana’s Outback, the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road! The Creole Nature Trail route takes you through coastal marshlands, prairies and along 26-miles of natural Gulf beaches. World-class bird and alligator populations make this scenic byway a natural wonder; and top-notch fishing, hunting, crabbing, shelling and wildlife viewing make the Creole Nature Trail a recreational paradise.
Kick off your Creole Nature Trail journey at the new Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point - a free, fun attraction that immerses you in nature and Louisiana’s unique culture. Through imaginative, hands-on displays you can learn the best places to spot alligators and migrating songbirds, take a peek at wildlife found in bayous and marshes, smell mouthwatering aromas of Cajun/Creole cooking, and “play along” with a Cajun and Zydeco band. Located at 2740 Ruth St., Sulphur, LA, just south of Interstate 10 at exit 20, this attraction is open 7 days/week.
From the gateway city of Sulphur and the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point head south to Hackberry, where you can catch speckled trout and redfish in Calcasieu Lake! Local professional charter fishing guides are ready to make sure you catch your limit. The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is your next stop featuring the Blue Goose Trail overlook and walkway to the Calcasieu Ship Channel as well as the 1.5 mile fully accessible Wetland Walkway right into the marsh. There are also four well marked recreation areas where you can easily catch your own fish or crabs! Farther south you’ll find Holly Beach as well as five other coastal beach areas where you can swim, surf fish, shell or even camp out! If you’re a birder, you won’t want to miss the Peveto Woods Sanctuary - a hot spot for birders especially during the spring and fall migration of neo-tropical songbirds and butterflies!
Heading east from Holly Beach drive right on the Cameron Ferry to cross the Calcasieu Ship Channel. Be sure to be on the lookout for porpoises playing! The community of Cameron features the Cameron Parish Jetty Pier with a birding observation tower, RV park and a fishing pier right into the Gulf. Continue heading east and you’ll have access to Rutherford Beach featuring excellent shelling.
Heading north from Oak Grove on LA 27 will show you a whole different view of Louisiana’s Outback. Salt marshes will gradually turn to freshwater marshes as you cross the Intracoastal Waterway, then change again to rice fields and prairie lands. Just north of the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway is Pintail Wildlife Drive, a 3-mile driving tour which usually holds hundreds of birds as well as lots of alligators (assuming it’s not too cold, of course.) In winter, waterfowl by the hundreds of thousands call this area home and are easily viewed and photographed from a half-mile accessible boardwalk. Continuing north on LA 27 you will find the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center. Incredibly life-like animatronics at the center speak to the area’s “living off the land” culture as well as the value of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. There are also two overwater boardwalks where you can view a wide variety of wildlife and birds.
From Oak Grove, you may also opt to travel east on LA 82 to reach Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and Price Lake Nature Drive. Be on the lookout for alligators while you’re there – this refuge boasts the highest alligator nesting concentration in the United States! Price Lake Nature Drive is also a wonderful place to bank fish, cast net for shrimp and crab or just view the wildlife.
During your trip along Louisiana’s Outback, don’t miss the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge on the LA 14 spur of the Creole Nature Trail, home to the Lacassine “Pool” – a 16,000 acre freshwater impoundment providing excellent bass fishing. The Nature Drive around The Pool is a great place to view wildlife including neo-tropical songbirds during migrations.
Lake Charles, Louisiana is the hub city for the Creole Nature Trail. Here, you can enjoy four fabulous casino resorts, numerous authentic local restaurants (yes, we are Cajun!), more than 75 annual festivals and events and accommodations of every variety. And don’t forget, Lake Charles has the 2nd largest Mardi Gras in Louisiana … super-sized AND family-friendly!
Every season on the Creole Nature Trail dramatically changes the animal and plant life which may be viewed so you’ll want to visit often. For more information, visit CreoleNatureTrail.org or contact the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-456-7952.
To fully explore this outdoor wonderful be sure to download the FREE Creole Nature Trail personal tour app from iTunes or Google Play (just search "creole") before you travel the trail. The app is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.