By Chase Berenson
Nestled in the southwestern corner of the state, the Cajun Riviera is a perfect overnight getaway to escape Baton Rouge and get your toes in the sand of Louisiana’s longest beach. Driving and camping are even allowed directly on the beach (actually called Holly Beach), adding to the opportunities for fun and adventure on Louisiana’s coast.
Holly Beach is nothing like the busy and crowded white-sand beaches in places like Gulf Shores or Destin. It isn’t beautiful in the classic sense, as the sand is brown and there are oil rigs visible on the horizon, but it more than makes up for that with the feeling that one experiences there. Holly Beach is a relaxed, local beach, and the quiet environment is perfect for focusing on just a group of friends traveling together.
The beach feels relatively wild, with huge flocks of pelicans patrolling the shallow waters. Holly Beach is also a prime spot for shelling, and more treasures from the deep waters wash onto shore than on other beaches in nearby states.
There is very little space between the breaking waves and the dunes, but it’s more than enough sand to have a good time. Holly Beach is about 30 miles long, and it’s possible to beach walk for hours all the way from the Calcasieu River to the Texas border at Sabine Pass.
A trip to Holly Beach is a prime example of being self-sufficient on vacation, both socially and physically. Without any other groups of beachgoers, there will most likely be no one else to randomly meet up with to hang out; instead you’ll be depending on your own group for fun. The long, narrow layout of the beach is perfect for games such as horseshoes, corn hole, or beersbie, allowing your whole group to get involved in the fun.
Holly Beach also requires you to be prepared for your night of camping. There are no services or restaurants nearby, so you’ll have to bring everything you need, including a camp stove or a barbeque grill.
You’ll also have to pack out all your garbage the next day when you leave, because they don’t have trashcans on the beach. Finally, you’ll want to observe typical beach camping protocols by making sure you’re parking and camping above the high tide line, and being aware of tide times as well as how winds and weather conditions can impact those tides.
Although I-10 is the quicker route to Holly Beach, driving on Highway 84 provides travelers with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire state.
Depending on which direction you take to get there, make sure you are fully prepared before you leave either Lafayette or Lake Charles. The town of Holly Beach is made up of about 35 beach-houses and one snack shack that may or may not be open.
The nearest population center is the town of Cameron, but good luck trying to find any forgotten supplies there!
If the thought of roughing it on the sand is a little too much for you, there is a motel in the Cajun Riviera that rents out singlewide mobile homes by the night right by the beach!