By Kimberly Wallis

The front cover of the Louisiana Inspiration Guide features canoers on Lake Martin in Louisiana.

Vernon Parish was once part of a lawless neutral strip separating Spanish Texas from the United States after the Louisiana Purchase. This “No Man’s Land” boasts a proud history that runs the gamut with tales regaling the exploits of pirates, outlaws, bandits, heroes, and soldiers. Find stories, adventures, events, and games (such as geocaching) here.

Not to be outdone by mere mortals, our natural environment includes just as vast an array. Not including the myriad waterways, we have 5 notable bodies of water to satisfy any angler: Anacoco and Vernon lakes, the Sabine River, Toro Bayou, and the Toledo Bend Reservoir (the largest man-made lake in the Southern United States). We are also home to portions of the Kisatchie National Forest, which serves as a globally important bird area for an endangered species, the red-cockaded woodpecker. It offers fishing, hunting, both tent and RV camping, and trails for off highway vehicles, hiking, and horseback riding to the public.  

For the history buff, there is Leesville’s Museum of West LA or the Museum of the New Llano Colony.

Those with small children will definitely want to visit Leesville’s Splash Waterpark or Deridder’s Veteran’s Park Splash Pad  and West Park pool (the DeRidder website is under construction). Those of all ages can appreciate a combination of art, music, and nature surrounded by a walking path in Leesville’s Art Park. This park was adopted by a local non-profit, Gallery One Ellleven, which sponsors both contemporary and traditional art exhibits in historic downtown Leesville.

The Angola Arts and Craft Shows feature absolutely amazing handmade goods and the Angola Prison Rodeo is a show you won’t want to miss! Get tickets to these events here

Louisiana has 5 different recognized tribes of indigenous people. The pow wows can be fun and educational, not to mention that they are wonderful places to find jewelry or arts and crafts.Plan a trip using the powwow schedule

Up for a drive? There is no shortage of activities to enjoy as a family. By no means a complete list, here are some ideas to get you started on your journey in Louisiana! Alexandria has the YMCA, the TREE House Children’s Museum, and you can ride a train at the Alexandria Zoo. It’s twin city, Pineville, offers a Splash Pad and 18 hole disc golf at Kees Park. Feed the alligators at the 5-acre Natchitoches Alligator Park. Shreveport has the Sci-Port Discovery Center and an aquarium. Baton Rouge has two-in-one Dixie Landin’ Amusement Park and Blue Bayou Waterpark and the BREC Zoo has both a playground inside and train rides. Lafayette Science Museum has dinosaur exhibits and a planetarium. Lake Charles and it’s twin city, Sulphur, offers the safari style Creole Nature Trail All American RoadAdventure Point and SPAR waterpark. New Orleans has the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and  the Audubon Zoo.  While you’re there, be sure to check out Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, not to mention all the other fabulous things to do in New Orleans

Not surprising for a state whose largest tourism draw is celebrating a Tuesday, Louisiana has festivals for everything! You can find listings for these, as well as information on state parks and museums, or order your free travel and inspiration guide here

Even those who are from this area will be able to learn new things and find interesting places for road trips or weekend getaways that they had no idea existed with this website. Get off the beaten path and find those hidden gems or just broaden your knowledge about what Louisiana has to offer by reading articles or joining their email list.

Life is really what you make of it, and Louisiana has all the ingredients you need!