Natural Beauty Abounds in Cajun Country, Lousiana

After reading my previous post, you might think all we did was sit around being fat and happy the entire week.  Well yeah, but it’s not in our nature to let the grass grow under our feet no matter how full our tummies are 🙂

Although the mountains we’ve been yearning for are still hundreds of miles ahead, we were able to find some nice “flatlander” trails to enjoy, using notes from our previous travels here and a little help from our (RV) friends and their blogs.

Betsy stretched out in her spacious corner site (#64) at Poches

Poches RV Fish Camp is one of the places we’d looked forward to revisiting on this trip east.  It’s a large property holding five man-made ponds, and the 1.5-mile perimeter walk around them allowed us to burn some of the calories we accumulated massively on a daily basis.  The setting here is nice, with frequent sunrises and sunsets that made me jump up and grab my camera several times.  The weekends did get busy with noisy families coming in to fish, similar to how things are in state parks.

Steve the early-riser even grabbed a camera to capture this sunrise, showing it to me later…
…but he woke me up to capture this beautiful moonset
Every RV site gets a water view here
Live oak trees lined the streets and homes
Should we read our books, watch birds, enjoy the fire or capture the sunset?  Life can be so complicated!

While we usually prefer more mountainous terrain, the bayous, swamps and prairies here were just fine with us.  Our atrophying leg muscles came back to life at Comite Park Trail,  Acadiana Nature Station, and at Cypress Island Preserve.  Even with whopping elevation gains of 56′-87′ we were able to hang in there and smile with delight at the beautiful green and yellow-speckled scenery of spring blooms.

A sea of yellow at Comite Park Trail
A 5-mile round-trip hike awaited us at Cypress Island Preserve

After visiting Rip Van Winkle Gardens and Rip’s Bird Rookery, we stopped by Bon Creole Seafood, a local eatery known for their signature Shrimp Po’Boy (and it was the best we’ve ever had!).  Our friends John and Sharon knew about this place and invited us to join them and their friends for lunch.  They’d been hanging out in Cajun Country for several weeks at Betty’s RV Park, exploring and having a great time.

We didn’t tour the Rip Van Winkle house, but the greeter certainly got our attention
The birds at Rip’s Rookery were on an island at a distance, but gorgeous and worth the stop
Lots of these guys lurked along the trail at the rookery, making us flash back to our hikes in Florida
John, Steve, Sharon and friends from Betty’s RV Park

Cypress Island Preserve Swamp Tour

When in Louisiana, everyone should at least take a canoe or kayak journey into a swamp, but we think a guided tour is even better.  We took the first tour of the day at Champagne’s Swamp Tours, and for two hours we glided through groves of 500-year-old moss covered cypress and tupelo trees, learning about the swamp and its natural inhabitants.

Our guide knew the swamps and how to get a boat through them!

Right off the bat we learned the difference between a bayou and a swamp; the former being an imperceptibly slow moving body of water, while the latter is a stagnate forested wetland.  The vegetation along each of them is quite different.  Now we know!

This is a bayou – slow moving water…
…and this is a swamp – a forested wetland or flooded forest
Don’t the swamp trees look a little spooky?
The green film floating on the water is called duckweed
Giant Bald Cypress were everywhere
A boatload of photographers on a different guided tour

Wildlife abounded here, from the winged ones to the scary ones under and over the water:

Ally is always smiling
Breeding Anhingas have cobalt/turquoise facial color and an orange bill
Breeding Black-crowned Night Herons have long white streamers extending from their crown, and red eyes
Countless Black-bellied Whistling Ducks whistled at us from overhead
Just as they heard us coming these guys jumped into the water at the same instant

It was an excellent tour and we highly recommend it.  Swamp landscape is something you have to see and experience, its beauty is unique and fascinating!

Louisiana Iris
Louisiana Iris also thrives in the swamp

As much as we loved the food, people and unique bayous and swamps, the roads and highways in Louisiana are in disgraceful condition and need to be fixed!  Other than that our stay in Cajun Country brought lots of exciting social, cultural and musical experiences.  The locals are so warm and friendly, and we had to smile each time they called us “baby”, sweetie pie”, “honey” or several other endearing terms that are just the way folks communicate here.  What a wonderful place to spend some time!




  1. Wonderful nature photos, thank you for sharing. Agree about the poor road conditions! Agree about the friendliness of the locals, too. It took awhile for me to bend my mind around being called “Honey” and “Sweetie” (I’m from up north, now living in East TX, near Louisiana), cause I viewed it as patronizing at first, but then when I got into the southern culture over the years, I realized it was meant to invite a tone of emotional intimacy between us. Yes very endearing 🙂

  2. Your photography is stunning, Mona Liza. You must have been running I-10. We also just came through Louisiana and are happy to report that I-12 from the eastern end to Baton Rouge is either new road or is being rebuilt! Much better than the last time we were there. So there is hope!

  3. Thanks for sharing so much of the natural beauty of Cajun Country. I love the birds, the cypress trees, and even the alligators. I have to agree with you about the roads. We traveled west on I-10 several years ago and read the section in Louisiana was the worst section of interstate in the country. Sounds like it hasn’t gotten much better. Even with the bad roads it’s worth a visit.

  4. Great photos!! We always enjoy canoeing in bayous. The people in that area are so friendly. We agree, the roads in LA are some of the worst we’ve traveled.

  5. The swamps and bayous are eerily splendid. Flatland hiking is some of my favorite! It seems like you can pay more attention to your surroundings and less to plummeting off a mountainside 😆 Beautiful recounting as always. Your posts are truly the next best thing to being there.

  6. We are from Northern New England but traveled full-time in our motorhome for several years, enjoying all the wonders! But a year ago, we got off the road (arthritis became my enemy and has required a few surgeries) and we are now on the Gulf coast of MS, near several small, adorable towns. And getting used to the Southern Culture — being called, “baby”, “Darlin”, and so forth was a bit startling at first, but then I realized that it’s just part of the friendliness and hospitality shown here — by young and old alike! I still love “my” mountains of NH, but also love the bayous, the rivers, the Gulf, and the magnificent old oaks and our beautiful beaches. Thank you for your enthusiasm and details about all you have done here….and elsewhere, of course!

  7. Wow, you got some beautiful shots there! I was trying to pick my favorite and I could not decide between the butterfly, whistling ducks and the picture where you described the duck week.

  8. Amazing photos ML. The swamp tour is definitely on my list…so much beauty! I’ve heard the words bayou and swamp all my life, thanks for explaining the difference. Great hikes too…love all the color. Poches RV is a great find!

  9. What a wonderful collection of beautiful photographs … nice job. And even though you may be missing those elevation changes, the landscape is so unique and worthwhile exploring. What a great campsite with those water views. I would love it!

  10. I grew up in the south and the terms “honey” and “darlin'” are a normal part of my vocabulary, although I tend to use them more for friends. My friends who are not from the south tease me about it. :-))
    We’ve walked the trails on Cypress Island and kayaked the swamp at Lake Martin there—I agree, the swamp is magical! Your bird photos are fantastic—love seeing the birds in their fancy breeding plumage!

    • I know, Steve giggled after making a reservation at the swamp tour, cause the lady addressed him as “baby.” The swamp is truly magical, love the unique scenery.

  11. Your photos from the swamp tour are incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly creepy. I must be getting fearful in my old age or something because that tour would really freak me out. I think alligators are just not of this planet and secretly terrify me. So yeah, thanks for the tour of the swamp because I think I’ll be skipping that one. 🙂

    Love the bird photos and especially the peacock! What a gorgeous, colorful creature!

  12. Once again you’ve found all the local color and beauty. I love those old bald cypress trees. We took a swamp tour once and loved parts of it…..I stopped enjoying it when I noticed a snake hanging from a tree right over the boat’s path……The bird’s in their breeding plumage are really special, and I think they know it too!
    We both agree about the road conditions, abysmal.

  13. That sunrise would have inspired even the most hardened to grab the camera … it’s gorgeous. I love the spooky nature of those photos of your wetlands tour. We took Mui’s sister on a tour similar to yours when she visited us in Louisiana back in 2013 … it was a fascinating experience … especially for someone who had never been to a swamp or bayou before.

    • In case you travel to Louisiana ( is this one of your still to be visited state?) then be sure to join a swamp tour, the landscape is mystical and unique.

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