A Louisiana RV Vacation for Wildlife Lovers

A boardwalk at the Tensas River

A boardwalk at the Tensas River. Photo: Garry Tucker, USFWS.

With Spring finally here, an RV vacation can be very tempting. It might be good to get going before the summer crowds. A great place to go is Louisiana and the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge area is protecting 80,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest. With a wide array of flora and fauna here, it makes a wonderful destination for wildlife lovers.

The refuge is just one fragment of the beautiful Mississippi Alluvial Valley. You may not have time to count them, but believe it when we say there are more than 400 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish that live on this wildlife refuge. When you are exploring, look for the wood duck nest boxes which are intended to aid the ducks in nesting success.

You would probably give your eye teeth to spot an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. This North American woodpecker is thought to be extinct and the last sighting was very close to Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in the 1940s. Although the chances are unlikely of seeing this unusual bird, there is plenty of other wildlife to view. The Louisiana black bear may be behind that next bush, or you may see an otter, raccoon, alligator, or wild turkey.

Enjoy the refuge to the utmost by first going to the Visitor Center where you can browse the exhibits. Walk the Boardwalk Wildlife Trail, pick up a map of the refuge and really begin your adventures. You will find plenty to keep the whole family busy here. Best of all, it is open all year. The diversity of habitat is best seen by hiking through the woods and getting up close and personal with Mother Nature and her work of art at this refuge.

Explore by boat! River paddling (PDF) is a pastime that many visitors enjoy. This is a unique way to move through the forests and see animals and birds – not to mention alligators. If you have sharp eyes you will probably catch a glimpse of one. Mostly you’ll see them on the roads. You will also find places to launch a canoe and paddle to your heart’s content. Fishing is another activity many love at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Find year-round fishing on Africa Lake. You can catch largemouth bass and hook more of them as temperatures warm up.

Another lake where you will want to throw in a line is Judd Lake. Pull out your rod and reel and hook some bluegill, crappie or largemouth bass. Use grubs, maggots or frogs for bait in these waters. Big Rainey Lake means more crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass. This time your bait should consist of crickets, minnows and maggots. The above lakes are open all year for fishing. The rest of the refuge waters open on the 1st of March and stay open until the 31st of October.

Once you have your fill of nature (if that is even possible), you should head to Tallulah, Louisiana for a wide array of sights. If you love history, you will love the historic plantations and magnificent homes. Civil war buffs can tour battle sites and old encampments. Drive the scenic Bayou Drive and get the real feel of the Old South. There is RV Camping in Tallulah as well, at Hunters Bend Campground.

The Hermione House is a great place to see while in Tallulah. This museum showcases some very interesting tidbits, such as the display on the first woman millionaire in the U.S. It also exhibits artifacts from ancient Indian times all the way up to the Civil War.

Three miles north of Delhi is Poverty Point State Historic Site where you have the rare opportunity to see an exceptional culture. The earthworks here are dated back as far as 700 B.C. and estimated as having taken millions of hours of labor. You should stop in the museum for an interpretive experience. There are guided tours you can take advantage of, as well as other special events and programs. A tram tour is one of the best ways to see this amazing site.

Now that your RV vacation is coming to an end, you may be hesitant to leave. No one can blame you. This area is just too relaxing and there is just too much to do. You can always extend your time away and stay a little longer. Or just plan on returning again next year for more adventures in Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge.

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