Things to do Near Jimmie Davis State Park

Situated in the middle of pine and hardwood forest in the center of north Louisiana, surrounding scenic Caney Lake, you’ll find Jimmie Davis State Park. This park, encompassing 294 acres, is a haven for freshwater fishing, hiking, sunbathing and — most of all — peaceful relaxation on the waterfront.

The centerpiece of the park, Caney Lake, was created when Caney Creek was dammed in 1986. This natural area was first named Caney Creek Lake State Park. In 1996 it was renamed for the legendary Louisiana governor, singer and songwriter best known for penning the state song “You Are My Sunshine,” who was born in a tiny village 10 miles west of the park.

Fishing and watersports are the main draws to the park. In fact, the state record for the biggest largemouth bass, weighing in at nearly 16 pounds, was caught here in 1994. Many other state-record catches, particularly of largemouth bass, have been made at Jimmie Davis State Park as well. Two boat launches and a fishing pier will get anglers and boaters out on the water conveniently and quickly, and considering both the lake’s size and its numerous inlets, you won’t have to worry about finding a nice, quiet spot to drop a line.

The lake is a prime attraction to Jimmie Davis State Park, but it’s far from the only one. Cyclists can use the park as a starting point for exploring the wooded, winding trails through the hills. Birders will want to bring their binoculars to catch views of some of the abundant feathered friends that make their homes in the park. After a fun day on the lake with the family, let the kids run through the park’s water park before an outdoor meal in the nearby picnic area.

There are plentiful camping options for overnight visitors to Jimmie Davis State Park. Seventeen waterfront cabins and a deluxe lodge are lined along the waterfront, guaranteeing great views of Caney Lake. For larger groups, a group camp (with four dormitories and a dining hall) is available, and — bonus — it has its own playground and fishing pier.

RV campers, too, have a place at Jimmie Davis State Park. You’ll find a combination of premium campsites with some of the best views of the park, and improved campsites aplenty, all with full water and electrical hookups.

Nearby Attractions

Ruston is the nearest city to Jimmie Davis State Park, and one of the metro areas in the I-20 corridor (along with Shreveport, Bossier City and Monroe-West Monroe). It’s home to Louisiana Tech University. And, as you might expect from a college town, there’s plenty to do there.

Start with downtown Ruston, where historical buildings and modern life converge. Around Trenton and Vienna Streets you’ll find popular spots like Ponchatoulas, Sundown Tavern, the brewpub Utility Brewing Company (a rising star in Louisiana’s thriving craft brewery scene) and breakfast/lunch spot Uptown Downtown. A bit beyond downtown is Beau Vines Steakhouse, Log Cabin Grill & Market and Hot Rod Bar B Que — a quality barbecue spot where Southern charm is served up by the plateful.

Beyond the dinner table are festivals for the whole family (the Louisiana Peach Festival celebrates the locally famous Ruston peaches at locations throughout the city), museums (such as the Lincoln Parish Museum and wartime memorial the Louisiana Military Museum), mountain biking mecca Lincoln Parish Park and numerous antique, art, décor and outlet stores found throughout town.

Finally, there’s Mitcham Farms Peach Store, a highlight of any visit to the northern part of the state. This uniquely Louisiana business serves up peaches in just about every way imaginable, with both the expected (peach jams and preserves) to items that you won’t find anywhere else (peach butter, peach cobbler in a jar). Gifts from Mitcham Farms Peach Store make for wonderful souvenirs and are well worth picking up before or after your trip to Jimmie Davis State Park.