Things to do Near Lake Bruin State Park

You’ll find Lake Bruin State Park at the easternmost edge of central Louisiana, within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River. The park’s namesake lake itself was once part of the nation’s longest waterway until the Mississippi changed course around 500 years ago and left what’s called an “oxbow” lake behind. The remaining horseshoe-shaped lake, measuring 3,000 acres in surface area, is the centerpiece of one of Louisiana’s remotest state parks.

Many of the lakes left behind by the Mississippi lack the right conditions for fishing. But Lake Bruin, with its deep waters and sandy bottom, is an exception. The lake is stocked with bass, bream, white perch and sac-à-lait, the local term for crappie. The lake was once a state-run fish hatchery, and the facilities — three large fishing piers, a boat launch and a boat shed for docking —testify to Lake Bruin State Park’s well-earned reputation as a fishing mecca.

There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the beauty of Lake Bruin State Park as well. Rent a flat-bottom boat at the park (they come equipped with paddles and life jackets), or bring your kayak, canoe or paddleboard to get an up-close view of massive cypress trees, some of which date back to when Lake Bruin was still part of the Mississippi River!

Back on land, visitors will find a water park for the kids — perfect for cooling off during the warmer months — and the abundance of picnic tables and barbecue grills means that families can take their time enjoying their serene surroundings at Lake Bruin State Park.

After hours, families can take a rest at one of the standard cabins or the deluxe cabin, which sleeps up to eight guests. RV travelers will also find much to rave about at Lake Bruin State Park, thanks to the premium campsites overlooking the water and the 36 campsites behind them. All have water and electrical hookups and are easy to access.

Nearby Attractions

Lake Bruin State Park is certainly a highlight of nature preserves in east-central Louisiana, but it’s not the only one. For visitors looking for a truly wild backwoods experience, take a trip to Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge, overseen by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, was founded in 1980, with a mission of preserving one of the largest privately-owned hardwood forests in the Mississippi River Delta. The largest concentration of the Louisiana black bear lives in these forests along with more than 400 species of birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles (including the iconic American alligator).

With such pristine scenery and abundant wildlife, it’s no surprise that fishing, hunting and photography are popular pastimes at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Likewise, kayaking and canoeing are extremely popular. The refuge has four new paddling trails in its lakes and streams, and convenient put-in/take-out spots throughout.

When you first arrive at Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, be sure to check-in at the visitors center to find out where the best spots are to start your backwoods adventure. Interpreters are on-site to help you get started on your self-guided hike or to tell you about ranger-led programming.

Travel a few miles south of Lake Bruin State Park to Ferriday, one of Louisiana’s hidden cultural gems. This small town is home to the Delta Music Museum, which tells the stories of Delta bluesmen, rockers and country music songwriters who have achieved international acclaim. “Great Balls of Fire” singer Jerry Lee Lewis is the most notable among the Ferriday natives honored here, along with his cousin Mickey Gilley and numerous other Louisiana musicians, from Aaron Neville to Irma Thomas, who are also commemorated through photos and artifacts.

If you're interested in history, head over to Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins and take a guided tour to learn about the causes and effects of change on this working cotton plantation.

When hunger strikes, pop into Big John's Burgers to get a taste of the local burger and barbeque scene.