3 Unique Ways to Experience the Louisiana Outdoors in Monroe-West Monroe

By Hunter Lanier

The beautiful thing about traveling through America’s vast landscape is the sheer variety. A single road trip can take you through deserts, mountains, great plains, and more. But there’s no outdoor culture in America quite like Louisiana’s. In Monroe-West Monroe, LA you can delve into the state’s distinctive environment by visiting its thriving agricultural scene, picturesque hiking trails, the famed Ouachita River, and much, much more.  

boating on bayou

Boating on the Bayou 

There are many places you can kayak or canoe, but there’s nothing quite like the Louisiana bayou experience. Monroe-West Monroe is home to Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,500-acre region of striking wetlands. Leafless trees pierce the water’s surface to create an otherworldly atmosphere, ideal for navigating by kayak. Right next to Black Bayou Lake, you can find the 28-mile-long Bayou DeSiard, another prime location for kayaking or canoeing.  

Just a few miles away from the bayous is the  Ouachita River, one of the most beautiful nature wonders in the state. Named after the Ouachita tribe, the river is open to the public for not just kayaking and canoes, but also fishing—yep, that includes crawfish! River access is available at Moon Lake Marina, Forsythe Park Boat Dock, and Lazarre Park. 

trails bayou

Taking it to the Trails 

Maybe you’d like to enjoy the Louisiana outdoors, but you’re not much of a water person. That’s alright, because Monroe-West Monroe’s natural surroundings come with a multitude of walking and biking trails. Yes, that includes Black Bayou, which even provides guided nighttime hikes, daytime nature walks, and birding tours.  

For a park with walking and mountain biking trails—plus a little bit of everything else—pay a visit to Kiroli Park. The kids will love the all-inclusive playground and the dogs will love the Raising Cane’s Dog Park, complete with dedicated areas for big and small dogs.  

You’re going to want to pack the nice camera if you’re planning on visiting Restoration Park, 70 acres of scenic forest and wetlands that used to be a strip mine. Its stone walking path will take you along a scenic lake, cypress trees dressed in Spanish moss, and maybe even some local wildlife.  

outdoor bayou


If you’re looking for some outdoor entertainment that’s more calming than physical, you may want to stop by the family-owned Landry Vineyards. Nestled in Monroe-West Monroe’s hilly countryside, the vineyard produces 20 varieties of wine ranging from dry white wines to port-style wines. If you time your visit right, you may even catch their Outdoor Concert Series, which can be enjoyed on the hillside with a picnic.  

Another charming vineyard in the area is Thirsty Farmer, which hosts regular events and has its very own wine club that does deliver out of state! Oh, and did we mention they serve cider every Saturday? 

For those looking for fresh produce, look no further than Indian Village Harvest Farm. Fruit, jam, meats, and an ever-rotating selection of snacks are available for purchase on behalf of the owners and neighboring farms. Before you leave, don’t forget to give their ice cream a shot, since it’s made using their own produce! 

Louisiana has a character all its own, and Monroe-West Monroe is one of the best manifestations of that character. Remarkable bayous you can paddle across, walking trails wrapped in beautiful natural landscapes, and outdoor concerts at hillside vineyards. It’s too much to fit in a single day, so Monroe-West Monroe makes sure to provide plenty of cozy lodgings when you’re ready to recharge for the next day.  

About the Author: Hunter Lanier is the head writer and content specialist for Tour Texas. When he isn’t writing about the many great places in the state of Texas, he’s writing books and screenplays. He may or may not own an armadillo in the future.

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Contact Information
601 Constitution Drive
West Monroe, LA 71292
Monroe-West Monroe
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