Creole Nature Trail
Length: 180 miles / 289.7 km
Time to Allow: A self-guided tour could take a day or two.
Louisiana only has two byways, and the Creole Nature Trail is the only one specific to the state. It’s a 180-mile route that can take between four hours and several days, depending on how much time you have to dedicate to travel. Furthermore, it’s a circuitous route instead of a straight line. The route will take you along the coast and up to Lake Charles, and over to the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.
Starting at the Texas border, the byway begins at the Walter Umphrey State Park near Port Arthur that flows into Sabine Lake. It’s a gorgeous state park with tent camping and RV parking. The park offers views of the Sabine Channel, where you can watch ships passing in the water, making for an enjoyable day. As a matter of fact, the entire byway practically floats on water as it’s close to the Gulf of Mexico, with lakes and wetlands filling the area.
Move east along the coast toward Mae’s beach and Holly beach, where you can find shells galore perfect for kids. The water is shallow, warm, and ready for visitors of all ages, free of amenities. If you want to camp, try out Holly beach and take a ferry to Cameron to explore town for lunch or dinner. It’s a fun location for fishing and crabbing too.
Continue east, going through the small towns of Creole and Grand Chenier before the trail stops near White Lake and the town of Pecan Island. The swamp area comes rich with history, with many television shows based on alligators and other monsters in the marsh. Make sure to stay on the byway if you do not have the right gear to head into marshland.
From here, head back west and up to Hacketts Corners passing Sweet Lake, Willow Lake, and the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is open to the public to view wildlife, including otters, deer, bobcats, coyotes, birds, and turtles. Then, heading north, the byway goes to Lake Charles, the largest town on the route.
Lake Charles offers something for everyone as Louisiana’s playground. Adults will love visiting the Golden Nugget Casino or one of two other casinos with resorts including amazing pools, green golf courses, and entertainment. It’s a great town for families too with tons of activities and museums. Check before going anywhere as the town still has a lot of temporary closures due to the pandemic.
From Lake Charles, the trail veers off to several places. To the east, the trailhead through a few forks before ending at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge by Grand Lake. To the west, the byway follows a few towns up, leaving the water behind back into civilization. People looking to fill their vacation with seashells, water, and unique culture will find this byway enthralling. Make sure to visit the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point in Sulpher, a free attraction ready to immerse you into Louisiana’s unique culture.
More Louisiana Byways
You can check out additional Byways in Louisiana by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Louisiana Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.