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.