Louisiana is known as a “Sportsman’s (and Woman’s!) Paradise.” The state boasts millions of square miles of open wilderness, conveniently located near city centers. Rivers, lakes, parks, and recreation spaces are perfect for enjoying the outdoors. With mild winters and sunny, warm summers, Greater New Orleans is the perfect location to spend time outside and enjoy nature.
Greater New Orleans lies amidst a network of bayous, lakes, and rivers which provide the perfect location for boating, canoeing, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Lake Pontchartrain is a popular sailing destination, where leisure sailors and serious racers alike enjoy the calm waters and winds that come in from the Gulf of Mexico. On both sides of the lake, you can find a mixture of public piers and private yacht clubs to accommodate any size vessel. Popular hot spots include: Bonnabel Boat Launch, Bucktown Marina, New Orleans Yacht Club, several Northshore marinas in Mandeville, Madisonville, and Slidell, and more.
Throughout the region, green spaces can be found in great abundance. In the city itself, dozens of parks provide the perfect setting for organized sports, playtime with children, or a relaxing picnic.
New Orleans City Park is a 1,300-acre public park with amenities that include a best-in-class tennis center, boat rentals, equestrian stables, a dog park, two golf courses, two football stadiums, miniature golf, and more. Audubon Park and Riverview (known to locals as “The Fly”) is home to formal and informal sports, including golf tennis, and Little League, as well as the Audubon Zoo — one of the top 10 zoos in the country. Similarly in Jefferson Parish, 155-acre Lafreniere Park on the East Bank and 610-acre Parc des Familles on the West Bank are not to be missed community gems. The numerous parks of the Northshore, as well as the beloved Tammany Trace — Louisiana’s top-rated rail-to-trail — are not to be missed as well.
Around the region, visitors and residents enjoy the scenery found in state and national parks, wildlife centers, and more, including Jean Lafitte State Park, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Segnette State Park, the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Fontainebleau State Park, all of which offer exceptional amenities to their guests.
Running and Hiking
Southeast Louisiana sits on mostly flat land, making it the perfect place to take an evening jog along the levee, or run laps at a local track. The Crescent City Classic 10K, Jazz Half Marathon, and Race for the Cure are just a few examples of the many regional races that attract runners from around the country.
With more than 22 state parks in Louisiana, and six within an hour of the city center, Greater New Orleans offers a wide array of hiking paths and nature trails. Snakes, frogs, alligators, birds, and even the rare Louisiana black bear are all creatures that can be spotted while hiking local trails.
Fishing and Hunting
The Louisiana bayous, marshes, and forests are home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the country. You’ll find alligator, deer, turkey, quail, rabbit, and squirrel hunting a plenty within the region. In fact, Venice, LA, located in Plaquemines Parish, was voted one of the top five best hunting locations in the United States.
Easy access to water makes fishing one of the most popular pastimes of regional residents. Each of the parishes in the region offers unparalleled access to both freshwater fishing and deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. In Jefferson Parish, Grand Isle hosts the ever-popular International Tarpon Rodeo, attracting serious anglers from around the world. Plus, generations of fishing enthusiasts have beelined it to Hopedale Marina and Campo’s Marina (Shell Beach) in St. Bernard Parish, as well as the iconic Venice Marina in the foot of Plaquemines, for the redfish, speckled trout, flounder, drum, and bass that thrive in area waterways. Whether spending a relaxing afternoon on the lake, or booking a chartered trip to the Gulf of Mexico or through our coastal marshes, fishermen and women are sure to be pleased with the many area offerings.
Louisiana offers some of the most unique and gorgeous golf courses in the country. Lush landscaping and stunning oaks make New Orleans a popular golfing destination. The Big Easy is home to a range of approachable public golf courses for all levels of play, open year-round. Time to tee up!
Audubon Golf Course is an immaculate and well-manicured course tucked between St. Charles Ave. and Magazine St. within Audubon Park. Located Uptown, this par-62 course by noted golf course architect Denis Griffiths offers gorgeous views of ancient oaks and duck-filled lagoons.
TPC Louisiana hosts the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic every year, and for good reason. Designed by Pete Dye, this award-winning golf course is open to the public so you can play where the pros play.
Joseph M. Bartholomew Municipal Golf Course is a luscious 18-hole public course located in Gentilly. It was renovated and renamed in 1979 to honor the first African-American inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.
The Bayou Oaks Course in City Park offers a 36 hole golf complex in the Mid-City neighborhood. Every skill level is welcomed and encouraged to play on these spacious greens.
There are also many private country clubs in the New Orleans area such as English Turn Golf & Country Club, New Orleans Country Club, Metairie Country Club, Money Hill Golf and Country Club, and Tchefuncta Country Club, that offer golf, tennis, swimming, and a variety of other amenities.
When biking through Southeast Louisiana you can marvel at gorgeous landscapes like swamps, rivers, and lakes, speed through forests, or ogle at the stunning architecture of the city. Check out all the trails our region has to offer here!
- Madisonville Loop: 21 – 26 miles, Location: Madisonville
- Louisiana Wine Leg: 26 miles, Location: Abita Springs
- Abita Springs to Fontainebleau State Park Loop: 28.6 miles, Location: Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe
- Tammany Trace: 31 miles, Location: Covington
- Fontainebleau State Park: 6 miles, Location: Mandeville
- Lafitte Greenway: 2.6 miles, Location: New Orleans
- French Quarter to the Lakefront Loop: 15 miles, Location: New Orleans
- Vieux Carré Since 1718: 5 miles, Location: New Orleans
- French Quarter to Uptown/Garden District Loop: 10.8 miles, Location: New Orleans
- Uptown Garden District Tour: 7.2 miles, Location: New Orleans
- Mississippi Levee-Top Trail/Audubon Zoo to Rivertown: 11.7 miles, Location: New Orleans, Kenner
See an interactive map of trails available in the region:
Rankings & Facts
City Park in AmericaNew Orleans City Park Thrillist
rail-trail hall of fame nominationSt. Tammany Parish Rails-To-Trails Conservancy
Percent of Residents within Half-Mile Walk to a ParkNew Orleans Trust for Public Land
National ParksGreater New Orleans U.S. National Parks Service
State ParksGreater New Orleans Louisiana Department of Culture
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