Louisiana is filled with natural beauty that is meant to be enjoyed. If you are feeling cooped up and need fresh air, you can still safely enjoy that splendor while following all COVID-19 mitigation measures. Just get in your vehicle and travel to one the following Louisiana lakes, reservoirs or even the Gulf of Mexico. No matter the time of day, these locations may reset your New Year with a positive perspective and a chance for calm introspection and appreciation of everything Mother Nature has to offer.
1. Alligator Lake — this peaceful location offers the Fort Polk community a chance to soak up the environment in all its glory as well as making use of canoe and paddle boat rentals if they want to explore the lake. Alligator Lake is located at 430 Alligator Lake Loop, Fort Polk. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m.
2. Anacoco Lake — the lake is also known as Anacoco Reservoir. It is a man-made lake in Vernon Parish, 10 miles west of Leesville. The lake was created in 1951, the result of impounding Anacoco, Caney, Prairie and Sandy Creeks, for the purpose of water supply and recreation.
3. Vernon Lake — Vernon Lake is also a man-made lake. The lake was created in 1963 by the impounding of Anacoco Creek, creating a 4,200-acre lake for water supply and recreation. The lake is five miles west of Leesville, and eight miles north of Anacoco Lake.
4. Toledo Bend Recreation Site — the recreation site, 1310 Army recreation Road, Florien, is a place for Soldiers and Family members to relax and have fun. It’s located 45 miles northwest of Fort Polk at the largest man-made reservoir in the South and the fifth largest in the country. If you want to get away for more than an hour or two, the site has cabins and yurts available for rent. Cabins sleep up to five people and have central air, ceiling fans, full baths and fully-equipped kitchens. Renters must bring their own towels and bedding. Yurts are tucked into a quiet forest setting.
Recreational vehicles and camping spots are also available. There’s a beach for swimming, as well as restrooms and showers for the convenience of visitors.
The site’s hours of operation are Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The site is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
5. Calcasieu Lake — Travel a little farther and enjoy the beautiful waters of Calcasieu Lake while fishing, canoeing or admiring the scenic area. You can enjoy the view from anywhere along the lake or head to Calcasieu Point Landing, 3955 Henry Pugh Road, Lake Charles — a boat launch and gateway to inland saltwater fishing in Southwest Louisiana. The landing is open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
6. Prien Lake — a great way to enjoy the beauty of Prien Lake is to visit Prien Lake Park, 3700 West Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles. The 29-acre park overlooks Indian Bay on the eastern shore of Prien Lake, a waterway where 19th century schooners once sailed. Visitors can not only enjoy the beautiful landscaping of the park while walking its pathways, but also the sweeping view of the lake, I-210 bridge and maybe, if timed right, a magnificent sunset over the water. The park is open from 5 a.m.-11 p.m. each day.
7. Holly Beach — Holly Beach, also known as the “Cajun Riviera,” is a coastal community in Cameron Parish. The beach isn’t known for fancy hotels and restaurants, but it’s a great place for long quiet walks along the Gulf Coast.
8. Caddo Lake — if you head north from Fort Polk to Caddo Lake, a 25,400-acre lake and wetland located on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in Louisiana’s western Caddo Parish, you will find an internationally protected wetland featuring the largest Cypress forest in the world, according to lakesonline.com. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until their expulsion in the 19th century.