Indian Creek Recreation Area
Less than 2 hours from Baton Rouge right off Interstate 49
Indian Creek is home to a 2300-acre lake with outstanding bass fishing and both improved & primitive campsites. We love the primitive campsites not only because they are free, but also because in the fall, when the park has fewer visitors, you can pick out a nice peninsula on the lake and no one is close by to disturb you. Solitude and privacy at its finest. Launch a kayak or canoe from your campsite and enjoy fishing from your “back door.” We recommend packing something lightweight and long-sleeved for those unpredictable hot Louisiana days that can still protect you from the sun and keep you dry.
Grand Isle State Park
Grand Isle, LA
Follow LA 1 South all the way to the end of the road, just 2.5 hours away from Baton Rouge.
Rent a cabin or tent and camp on the beach on the last occupied Louisiana Barrier Island. Wake up and fish, go crabbing, gig flounder, kayak with the porpoises, the options are endless. Be sure to check availability and make reservations well before you go. October is a great time to grab some large redfish or speckled trout on the beaches as they move in and out of the passes before winter. Our Hobie Kayaks are a Backpacker favorite and we highly recommend trying one out; they have spacious compartments and are easy to maneuver so your fishing goes swimmingly.
Tickfaw State Park
Less than 30 minutes from Baton Rouge, just off of I-12.
Hiking, fishing, and gators, oh my! This state park is perfect spot for fresh water fishing where you can catch brim, bass and perch on live worms and artificial bait. Not to mention, the large ponds are a known home to several alligators, so keep an eye out–you may spot a few! Being so close to Baton Rouge, this is the perfect spot for a day trip, but if you want to extend your stay the park offers cabins, RV hookups, and primitive camping so you can get your fill of the fun. Whether you’re trying to get the fish to bite, riding the waves on the Tickfaw River, or hiking the trails we know you need something that will keep your supplies safe. This backpack will safely store your sunglasses or electronics with its scratch-resistant pocket, while shielding the pack from rain with its integrated rain cover.
Lake Fausse Point State Park
St Martinville, LA
1 hour from Baton Rouge.
Enjoy the Atchafalaya Wetlands at its finest. This is the perfect place for you to rent a kayak on-site and take it out to your own island in the swamp and set up camp! Combine your wilderness adventure with a tour of nearby historic areas such as the city of St. Martinville and Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site to fully immerse yourself if the culture of South Louisiana. Whether you go for the day or choose to stay overnight, the state park can accommodate you with their lake front cabins and campgrounds. Be sure to call ahead for reservations for cabins or campsites. We think roughing it in this area is the best way to experience everything the Atchafalaya has to offer, but you wont want to go without mosquito protection. This hammock-bug net combo is the way to go in those parts.
Homochitto National Forest
Clear Springs, MS
Less than 2 hours from Baton Rouge.
A short drive out of Louisiana, and you’ll arrive at the Homochitto National Forest offering a wide range of recreational activities from hunting and fishing to mountain biking, horseback riding, and disc golf. There is plenty to see and do here, so you’ll never have a dull moment in the forest. Some trails are easy and fun for families with small children while other paths make great half-day hikes. While you’re out there getting your wilderness on, you never know what conditions you may run into so we think these waterproof shoes are a must.
Suggestions and pairings by Backpacker owner Michael Matthews