Things to do Near Tickfaw State Park

Located within an hour’s drive of Louisiana’s largest cities (New Orleans and Baton Rouge), Tickfaw State Park is a remote getaway for both city dwellers and vacationers with a love of the outdoors.

This state park’s name comes from the Tickfaw River that runs through the 1,200-acre preserve. The waterway is indeed Tickfaw State Park’s main attraction, drawing visitors to its four distinct ecosystems: A cypress/tupelo swamp, a bottomland hardwood forest, a mixed pine/hardwood forest and the Tickfaw River itself.

In the winter and spring, the Tickfaw River regularly floods its surrounding landscape. This annual phenomenon replenishes the forests and provides a breeding ground for its abundant wildlife. Guests at Tickfaw State Park are encouraged to stop by the Nature Center, where you can learn about the importance of springtime floods and how they affect the varied ecosystems. Also at the Nature Center, you can get an up-close look at the local wildlife via the 800-gallon aquarium that’s stocked with Tickfaw River fish, and see displays about the history and culture of both the region and of Louisiana in general. Check with park staff about scheduled programs, which offer visitors even deeper insights into this fascinating park.

Visiting Tickfaw State Park isn’t just an educational experience; it’s an adventure, too. Travel down the park’s trails to experience the sights and sounds of the swamp. Nighttime hiking is an especially popular activity.

For those looking to get an even closer look at the scenic Tickfaw River, there are kayaking and canoeing options. Bring your own or get a canoe at the park; they’re available for whole-day rentals. Families looking to stay closer to shore should check out the on-site water playground — perfect for playtime on hot summer days.

When it’s time to rest, Tickfaw State Park has you covered. Deluxe cabins offer the creature comforts of home, and the 50 RV sites make it easier than ever to access the park.

Nearby Attractions

The cities of Hammond and Ponchatoula are within 20 miles of Tickfaw State Park. Hammond attractions include Kliebert & Sons Alligator Tours, billed as the first alligator tour company in Louisiana. Kliebert family members will take you on a memorable trip to see the “king of the swamp” and teach visitors about the importance of preserving these fascinating reptiles.

Learn about the history of African-Americans and their contributions to the region at Hammond’s Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum & Veterans Archives. Here, you’ll find artifacts, murals and artwork that tell the stories of African-Americans, spread across eight galleries. The museum is one of the largest of its kind in the South.

Gnarly Barley is a popular Hammond destination that serves up Louisiana culture in every pint. The brewery is the birthplace of some of the tastiest beers you’ll find among Louisiana’s many craft breweries. Try them for yourself at Gnarly Barley’s taproom, and check with staff about taking a free tour of the facility.

Hammond’s neighboring city, Ponchatoula, is most famous for its delectable strawberries farmed in the rich fields near town (in fact, it’s known as the Strawberry Capital of Louisiana). The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, held every spring, celebrates Ponchatoula’s most prized export with carnival rides, a pageant and great live music.

Take a walk through Ponchatoula’s historical downtown, browsing through the antique stores and boutiques including CJ’s Antiques & Collectibles, Ponchatoula Antiques & Statuary and Roussel’s & Co. Ponchatoula is often called America’s Antique City, in fact, and those shops add to the yesteryear vibe of the city’s three-street historic district.

Finally, for outdoor adventurers seeking swamp life beyond Tickfaw State Park, there’s Joyce Wildlife Management Area near Ponchatoula. Fishing and boating in this remote preserve are prime activities, as is birdwatching. Follow the “swamp boardwalk” through the park to see some of the diverse birdlife, including many migratory species that stop here for a rest before continuing their journey.