This week is National Park Week! Since I’m a big fan of our National Parks system in general, so what better reason to take this Travel Tuesday to share one of my favorite New Orleans-area trips with you, Reader?
Barataria Preserve is part of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and sits about thirty minutes outside of New Orleans. With easily accessible boardwalks and trails, the preserve gets you into the swamp without having to get on a swamp boat tour. You can go at your own pace, and have fun looking for alligators, turtles, snakes, skinks, anole, frogs, and other swamp/wetland creatures. If you’re lucky, you might even get a Junior Ranger badge from one of the lovely park rangers that staffs the visitor center.
My favorite trail is to do the out-and-back beginning from the Visitor Center Trail, hopping onto the Palmetto Trail, to the Bayou Coquille Trail, to the Marsh Overlook Trail. While this sounds complicated, it isn’t at all–the trails run into one another and are incredibly obvious–and only totals about two miles each way.
The visitor center is equipped with bathrooms and water fountains, and has indoor exhibits featuring information on the Mississippi River Delta and local wildlife. Events at the preserve include ranger-led nature walks and stargazing.
My favorite activities at the preserve are ogling at the other-worldly cypress trees, draped with Spanish moss, and playing hide and seek with the alligators!