When visiting Poverty Point World Heritage Site, you'll enjoy the quiet, serene landscape that surrounds it. Overlooking Bayou Macon, a slow-moving Mississippi River tributary that winds through a forest of pecan, hackberry, sweetgum and honey locust trees, it’s easy to imagine what life must have been like there thousands of years ago. Like much of northeast Louisiana, the landscape has remained relatively unchanged for generations.

Look a little farther beyond the famed archaeological site to discover other Louisiana outdoor destinations waiting to be explored.

Start your journey at Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. Situated around a 2,700-acre manmade lake, this is a boater’s dream. Rent a flat-bottom boat or canoe and row out to get a wide-angle view, and keep an eye on the sky for cormorants, ducks and Louisiana’s state bird, the pelican. Fishing is serious business at this park, which has produced numerous state record-winning catches. When it’s time for bed, choose from one of the park’s spacious waterfront cabins, lodges or RV spots. A night out under the stars is the perfect way to finish the day at Poverty Point.

Chemin-A-Haut State Park is a unique destination with a unique name. French for “high road,” Chemin-A-Haut is located in an area that ancient American Indians migrated through seasonally. Today, it’s northeast Louisiana’s most family-friendly park, with a swimming complex that includes a wading pool for younger visitors, as well as two playgrounds. Rent a kayak and paddle between the cypress trees on Bayou Bartholomew or take a ride on one of the park’s paved bike trails. Then wind down at one of Chemin-A-Haut’s lakefront cabins.

Lake D’Arbonne State Park is a top pick for outdoors enthusiasts visiting Louisiana, and not just for its namesake reservoir either. Spanning more than 15,000 acres, Lake D'Arbonne is home to prize-worthy bass and bluegill. If you’re more interested in capturing photos than fish, there are plenty of opportunities for that, too. Hike one of the park’s four trails in search of the perfect shot or get a close-up view of the lake’s massive cypress stands from a flat-bottom boat or canoe, available for rent. Work up an appetite by pedaling one of the park’s bike trails, then grill outside of a Lake D’Arbonne cabin. Bring plenty of friends—these lakeside lodges can accommodate up to 14 guests. 

Water sports and fishing are just a couple reasons visitors rave about Lake Bruin State Park, just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. The park has plenty of freshwater angling opportunities, plus enough space for higher-powered motorboats, many of which you’ll see pulling water skiers around the lake.