Are you looking for a fun and adventurous new park down south to enjoy on your next RV vacation? Check out Lake Bistineau State Park in northwestern Louisiana. On the western edge of Lake Bistineau, this spacious park is a fantastic spot for people who like to escape into nature once in a while. You and your family can enjoy miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding as well as hunting, wildlife viewing, and just hanging out getting some much-needed R&R.
The fishing at Lake Bistineau is phenomenal, with huge catfish being the number one attraction here. However, trophy-sized bass, as well as large crappie, sunfish, and bluegill, are also caught here frequently. The clear water in the lake makes it the perfect habitat for many aquatic creatures, and you will likely see a lot of turtles, lizards, and waterfowl nearby.
The park boasts more than 10 miles of multiuse trails as well as a canoe trail that will take you on an 11-mile paddling expedition. A six-mile equestrian trail is also available for those with horses as long as you have a certificate of a clean Coggins test. When you are done for the day, you can relax back at the campsite in your RV or around the campfire before getting up and enjoying more activities.
The park is conveniently located right off of LA-163, about 30 miles southeast of Shreveport, where you can visit several museums and art galleries. You can also visit Monroe, which is about 86 miles to the east. Monroe is the eighth-largest city in Louisiana and has several attractions, such as zoos, gardens, and museums.
If you really enjoy state parks and national forests, take a side trip to Red River National Wildlife Refuge in Bossier City about 22 miles away. The refuge offers wildlife exhibits at the nature center as well as fishing, trails, boating, and a play area for the kids. You can also check out the nearby Beaver Dam Campground in Kisatchie National Forest in Minden, about 25 miles from the park. This fantastic park is on the shores of the 125-acre Upper Caney Lake, where you can enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming.
The park itself has nicely groomed gravel roads for the most part. However, in the campground area, you may find some curves and turns that are quite tricky. Make sure you consider the size of your rig when you make your reservations, and you should be all right.
Lake Bistineau State Park boasts 67 RV and tent campsites that have various sizes and amenities. Of those 67 sites, 56 offer water and 20/30/50-amp electric hookups while 11 have water only, leaving the remaining sites for primitive-style camping. Those that do not have utilities are within walking distance to restrooms and potable water access. The RV length limits range from 20 to 62 feet, so make sure you reserve one that your rig can fit. Reservations must be made at least one day in advance. The park requires a two-night minimum on weekends and a three-night minimum stay on weekdays.
You won’t have any trouble cooking no matter which site you choose since the park provides a campfire ring as well as a BBQ grill. The picnic table provided seats six, so your group can eat together as a family. You won’t have to go far to enjoy the lake because many of these are waterfront sites, and the rest are all within walking distance to Lake Bistineau. Pets are welcome here too, so go ahead and bring your furbaby. However, it must be supervised and restrained during your visit.
The park also offers seven lakefront cabins, which are furnished and can accommodate up to eight people with two vehicles. They each offer central air, bathrooms with hot showers, a living room, and two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms has a queen bed, the other has two sets of bunk beds, and the living room has a sofa sleeper. The kitchen is fully stocked and has a large dining table that seats six.
Within just a few feet of Lake Bistineau, you won’t have to go far to enjoy any of the water sports like fishing, boating, and swimming. Being this close to the water is not just aesthetically pleasing but it is also nice to fall asleep to the sounds of nature that live in and around the lake. You can dine inside or out with the large BBQ grill and picnic table located right outside your door. And if the cabin gets chilly at night, you can use the fireplace or the central heating. Pets are not allowed in any of the cabins.
Are you having a family gathering or group get-together? Or maybe you just have a really large extended family. If so, there are two group camps available at Lake Bistineau State Park. Group Camp 1 is actually a group of 20 cabins that can accommodate up to 160 people and 40 vehicles. There is a separate lodge with a large professional kitchen where you can cook meals for the whole gang. A huge dining room with plenty of tables and chairs will seat everyone so you can all eat together is also provided. Group Camp 2 is a group of cottages that can accommodate up to 40 people and a lodge with a kitchen where you can cook for the whole group. Tables and chairs are supplied for everyone to eat together in the dining hall. Pets are not permitted at either of the group camps, and you must reserve the sites in advance.
Louisiana gets really hot in the summer, sometimes over 100 degrees. Luckily, the lake is perfect for swimming and has a nice sandy beach at the day-use area by the Visitor Center. There is no lifeguard here, though, so you will be swimming at your own risk. The park also boasts two swimming pools. One of these pools is located near the group campground in Area 2, and the other is in the day-use area. Both pools are available to the public and have lifeguards on duty during specific hours.
Pack your fishing gear in the motorhome before heading to the park because the lake here is full of hungry fish. Lose yourself in the beauty of the park while you wait for the fish to take your bait fishing for big catfish at the bottom. Or enjoy an active bout of fly fishing for bass, crappie, and bream. Lake Bistineau State Park offers a fishing pier if you want to get closer to the deeper parts of the lake or rent a boat from the park and get out there in the middle of the water.
If you have a bike with you, get it out on the 6.4-mile Lake Bistineau Loop Trail that takes you all over the park so you can see everything while getting a good workout. You will enjoy some fun hills and curves as well as the beautiful surroundings of the park as you zip along the dirt path. Some of the areas may be a bit tricky for younger kids and inexperienced bikers, but the trek is easy for the most part.
If you are a fan of disc golfing, you probably already know that there are limited places to enjoy this fun activity. Lake Bistineau State Park has an excellent 18-hole disc golf course that is approved by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). Starting by the parking lot near the nature center, you will follow the course through the oaks and cypress trees draped in moss. There are a few hills and dips, several challenging holes, and dual pin positions and tees, so the course is fun and challenging for disc-golfers of all abilities.
With 10 miles of hiking trails, you are going to want to bring your hiking gear along with you on your trip to Lake Bistineau State Park. The main trail is the 3.8-mile Willis Homestead Trail, which is popular for its many different types of flora along the trail. From sassafras to sparkleberry and mulberry to maples, you can find more than 50 species of flowers, trees, and other plants. If you would rather take a short walk with the kids, try the 0.4-mile Discovery Circle.
If you have horses, bring them along because the park has plenty to offer equestrians. With a six-mile equestrian trail, corral, paddock, and stalls, you and your four-legged friend will feel right at home. Don’t forget to bring certification of a clean Coggins test with you. The forested trail is gorgeous at any time of the year and will take you and your horse on a fun and exciting trip in the Louisiana bayou, so make sure you bring your saddle.