Sam Houston Jones State Park lies just a few miles south of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana. Sitting equidistance from Houston, TX, and Lafayette, LA, this state park is most easily accessed from Interstate Route 10 and offers a refreshing contrast to the busy pace of city life.
Sam Houston Jones State Park owes its name to two significant men who once made an impact in the area. The first, Sam Houston Jones, was the 46th governor of Louisiana and actually founded the park in 1944. The second, Sam Houston, was a governor in Texas who made regular visits to this part of Louisiana back in the 19th century.
At just 1,000 acres large, Sam Houston Jones State Park is relatively small but still provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Its undisturbed forest and wetlands hide picturesque hiking trails and offer excellent bird watching opportunities, while the meandering rivers that encircle the grounds allow for plenty of water-based exploration. Search for an RV in Calcasieu Parish today to see what Sam Houston Jones State Park can offer you during your outdoor adventure.
Whether you enjoy kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or just relaxing on the water, you’ll find that camping at Sam Houston Jones State Park is the place for you. The West Fork of the Calcasieu River meanders around three sides of the park, providing plenty of space for everyone along with two public boat launch ramps. You’ll need to bring your own boat along with you while motorhome camping at Sam Houston Jones State Park as there are no rentals available here. While motorized boating is permitted on the water, kayaks and small canoes allow you to explore a little deeper into the waterways and access the Houston River and Indian Bayou River. Don’t forget to take your best fishing tackle out in the boat with you as bream, bass, and white perch are all up for grabs. Just remember to get a license for anyone fishing over the age of 16.
Back on dry land, the park is home to three hiking trails, perfect for anyone hoping to stretch their legs during their Sam Houston Jones State Park camping trip. Either hike up to the old stagecoach for a historical adventure or enjoy an afternoon of geocaching with the kids. Exploring hiking and geocaching trails is also a great way to discover the region’s wildlife but do beware that alligators and snakes live in the area too.
RV camping at Sam Houston Jones State Park is a must-do activity for any avid bird watchers in Louisiana. You’ll find a myriad of species in the park throughout the year, but the bird watching is especially good during the migrating seasons when nearly 200 birds can be seen resting in the area. Explore the wetlands for likely sightings of the double-crested cormorant or Mississippi kite, or hit up some of the longer walking trails to find balding eagles nesting in the trees and maybe a sleeping owl or two.
Camping at Sam Houston Jones State Park
Officially, Sam Houston Jones State Park is home to one campground, though there are two further options for parking up your RV rental just outside of the grounds. Surprisingly well equipped, the state park RV camping here is more than comfortable. Of the 60 RV-friendly campsites, over half are serviced with partial hookups, and all have access to the nearby dump station. Along with a free WiFi connection at reception, campers can use the coin-operated laundry rooms, modern restrooms, and children’s playground. Two of the paved sites have also be designed to be ADA-accessible.
Should you head just outside of the park, you’ll find Parkside Marina Resort and Whispering Meadow RV Park, both alternative options for parking up your RV rental near Sam Houston Jones State Park. Here, you’ll find the advantages of full hookup sites, a stable site-wide WiFi connection, and a selection of discounts, including Military, Good Sam and AAA. Unlike the campground within the state park, you’ll need to drive to access any of the recreational trails and boat launch ramps.
Exploring the Area
Just south of this oasis of natural beauty is the bustling city of Lake Charles, a great option for a day trip when you’re looking for a change of pace. Nestled in between the city’s casinos and high-rise blocks, you’ll find the intriguing Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. Through vibrant costume displays, parade float replicas and well-shot footage, you can learn about everything you ever thought you needed to know about the Mardi Gras festival in Louisiana, and more.
For something a little less colorful, pop into the USS Orleck Naval Museum. An operational vessel in the US Navy from 1945 to 1983, the ship traveled across the world, and even played a part in the Vietnam War, before ending up as a museum ship in Lake Charles. Visitors who take the time to step onboard can learn about the heritage of the Historic Naval Ship Association, the ship itself, and America’s military.
When you’re searching for something a little more child-friendly, head to the city’s Children Museum. Spread across three floors, your little ones can explore more than 45 exhibits designed to inspire curiosity and creativity in younger years. Watch their faces light up as they discover the dress-up corner and transform into a nurse, artist or fireman, or clamber up the rock wall to see the world from a different perspective.