One of Louisiana's newest state parks, Palmetto Island State Park is quickly becoming one of the state's most popular destinations for tent and RV campers -- and for good reason. This family-friendly park offers something for everyone, whether you're looking for a quick day trip or a week-long getaway spent relaxing and soaking up the ambiance of Lousiana's swampland.
Naturally, Palmetto Island State Park is a water lover's paradise. With separate canoe and boat launches, boaters can cast out onto the Vermillion River in their own craft or rent a canoe from the park. The fish are usually always biting in the park's pond, and the park's splash pad is a big hit with kiddie campers in the summertime.
Though the water activities are the main draw to Palmetto Island State Park, RV visitors looking for a low-key day spent outdoors will find plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs, enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the pavilions, and watch for resident wildlife.
Tent and RV campers at Palmetto Island State Park are advised to store food, toiletries, and scented items in locked vehicles or secure food lockers (which aren't provided at the park). Black bears and bobcats have been spotted roaming these woods, and though they are a rare sight, it's always better to err on the side of caution. Bug spray is a must, too, or you'll be scratching those mosquito bites the whole trip back home! But as long you take some precautions you'll have an amazing time during your RV road trip to Louisiana.
Most of the roads in the park are paved, though some are packed gravel or dirt. Rigs of up to 78 feet long shouldn't have any problems driving around the park. Campers who need provisions or just want to grab a bite to eat are close to Highway 82 and the town of Abbeville, which offers a grocery store and a diner.
Two parking lots are available by the splash pad and visitor's center for day-use visitors. Curbside parking is available in the cabin loop. Note that you'll need to pay a nominal entrance fee to access the park in addition to any overnight camping fees.
With 96 campsites spread across three loops for tent and RV campers, Palmetto Island State Park Campground has plenty of room for everyone. Two comfort stations offer hot showers and flush restroom facilities. All sites are pet-friendly and offer water and 50-amp electric hookups. Some premium sites offer full hookups, meaning water, electricity, and sewer. Only back-in sites are available here, and the maximum length is 78 feet for RVs. Some sites are only long enough to fit smaller RVs and trailers up to 40 feet. Pads are gravel, and some of the larger sites offer an extra tent pad or space to park an extra vehicle or boat. Reservations must be made at least one day prior to arrival.
Six deluxe cabins nestled on the bank of the Vermillion River are also available for campers who prefer their creature comforts. In the summer, cabin campers can relax in a rocking chair on the screened-in front porch and listen to Mother Nature's music. When winter comes, guests can bundle up by the fireplace after cooking a hearty meal in the fully equipped kitchen. Each cabin sleeps eight guests and offers a full bathroom. If you plan to stay in a cabin during the peak season, plan to make reservations well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Prefer to enjoy a backcountry excursion? Primitive backpacking sites are also available for the campers looking to rough it. The backpack sites are located right off the pond and are convenient to the canoe trail, which leads from the canoe launch area down to the boat launch and the Vermillion River.
The emphasis is on water activities at Palmetto Island State Park, but the Cypress Trail makes an excellent option for a quick walk at just under three-quarters of a mile. This nature trail, though short, offers no shortage of opportunities to enjoy this biodiverse ecosystem. Make sure to bring a camera in your camper -- you won't want to miss the chance to snap a photo of the wetlands for which Louisiana is famous.
Offering on-site canoe rentals and a designated canoe trail and launch area, Palmetto Lake State Park attracts avid canoers from all over to enjoy its calm waters. Whether you stick to the park's own canoe trail or paddle along the current of the Vermillion River, exploring the state park by canoe is the perfect way to see this park from a different angle. Do wear a lifejacket while canoeing, though; you won't want to risk running into an alligator!
A water park at a state park? Yes, you heard us correctly. Even with the pond, canoe trail, and the Vermillion River, Palmetto Island State Park also offers its guests a water playground. The kids, and even the adults who would rather be in the water than on it, will love romping around in the park's splash pad anytime between April and October.
Do not forget the binoculars when packing for your RV camping trip at Palmetto Island State Park! Hundreds of species nest in the trees here, including woodpeckers, barred owls, warblers, and so many more. Can't forget the water birds, either, like the ducks and herons. Songbirds like the Carolina Wren add a little music to the park in the spring, and winter sees migrating species like kinglet and sparrow flock south to spend the cold months in the more temperate climate of Louisiana.
This region of Louisiana is nicknamed L'Isle de Grand Bois (French for "the big woods") and was once home to wolves and panthers. Today, it's home to a vast variety of species both docile and potentially dangerous. From otters and beavers to alligators and boars, you'll never know what you might find at Palmetto Island State Park. However, you might want to fill up on trail snacks before you set out for your wilderness excursion; black bears do occasionally make an appearance at this park, and you wouldn't want one of these big beasts sneaking up on you!
Whether all that adventuring worked up your appetite or you're just looking to enjoy a quick bite to eat, the park's four picnic pavilions make the perfect spot to enjoy a packed lunch or a larger get-together. Invite up to 40 of your closest friends and family members to enjoy a barbecue at one of the reservable pavilions. Looking to get fancy? Rent the park's multi-purpose room for your reunion!