Top 9 Winter Holiday Events in Louisiana

Top 9 Winter Holiday Events in Louisiana

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most magical seasons of the year. It is a time of togetherness, celebration, and indulgence. And while most people envision a white Christmas and mulled cider, in Louisiana, Christmas magic takes on a new meaning.

Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind and while there won’t be a snowflake in sight and Santa might arrive by boat versus sleigh, there is so much to love about a Cajun Christmas. From crackling Christmas bonfires – to lights and fireworks that light up the night sky in December, we’ve compiled a list of the best holiday events in Louisiana this year.


Our Favorite Holiday Events in Louisiana


Opelousas Christmas Festival

First on our list, we have to start with the annual Opelousas Children’s Chirstmas Parade because it is right in our backyard! The parade is set to enchant downtown on Thursday, December 14, at 6 p.m. Starting at Landry and Academy Streets near Le Vieux Village, the parade will wind its way west through downtown, concluding at the intersection of Landry and Bullard Streets. Look forward to a dazzling display with brightly adorned floats, lively marching bands, community organizations, dance groups, and the star of the show, Santa Claus! And, if you’re in the area, stop in and see our showroom at our dealership in Opelousas.

Festival of the Bonfires

Next on our list of must attend holiday events in Louisiana is the Festival of the Bonfires. Enjoy a Cajun style Christmas on the river with food, live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest and carnival rides throughout the weekend. The festival takes place December 8, 9, and 10, 2023 and each night will be highlighted with a single bonfire lighting!

LA for Christmas

Bonfires on the Levee

Similarly, the Festival of Bonfires is only a prelude to this famous Christmas Eve bonfire celebration. Perhaps one of the most famous Louisiana traditions, the river is lit up, not by lights but by fire! While this may not be traditional, bonfires up to 30ft tall can be found along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Notably, the highest concentration of bonfires is found in St. James Parish and this unique tradition is known worldwide. This is one of the most famous winter events in Louisiana and truly an experience not to miss!

NOLA Christmasfest

If you’re looking for festive indoor events in Louisiana, spend Christmas in New Orleans. NOLA Christmasfest, presented by Coca-Cola, is a dazzling, family-friendly holiday attraction. With almost 300,000 square feet of rides, giant ice slides, a real ice-skating rink and holiday décor, you will feel the holiday magic here! Plus, you are close to a ton of RV parks and campgrounds, making this an ideal destination for an RV trip.

The Celebration in the Oaks

Also in New Orleans, the Celebration in the Oaks is another one of the events in Louisiana that you should not miss.  With the’ City Park’s ancient oak trees aglow in twinkling lights and other colorful light displays, it’s beautiful. You can choose between a walking tour or a driving tour of the park. You can meander through the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Additionally, this is City Park’s largest fundraiser and has enchanted park visitors since the 1980s. The proceeds go towards the Park’s maintenance, care, and beautification year-round. So, support the park and make memories with your loved ones in City Park this holiday season.

NOLA City Park

Natchitoches Christmas Festival

Natchitoches (pronounced Nack-a-tish ) is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory and Natchitoches Christmas Festival is one of the longest running Christmas events in Louisiana. In fact, the festival was started in 1927 and is one of the oldest community-based holiday celebrations in the country. This year’s event begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and concludes on January the 6th, 2024. Downtown Natchitoches transforms into a holiday wonderland and is decorated with hundreds of thousands of colored lights and set pieces. The festival is known for its holiday lights display and we think it’s an absolute must-see event!

Darkwoods Adventure Park

And if you’re in Natchitoches, another one of our favorite holiday events in Louisianna is a visit to Dark Woods® Christmas. From strolling the twinkling light displays in the woods to sitting firepit side and making s’mores, this is the perfect place to make family memories. And you can even get your pictures with Santa. Focusing on family activities, this event is filled with love and promotes the true meaning of Christmas. This event opens on November 25th and 26th for its official “turn on the lights” weekend, then resumes December 2nd and runs through December 25th. The park is open Wednesday – Sunday from 6:00pm – 9:00pm weekdays and 6:00pm – 10:00pm on weekends.


Candy Cane Lane

Again, if you are looking for a scenic drive to take in Christmas lights, this one’s for you! Located in Calhoun, LA, Candy Cane Lane is a mile-long wooded drive that’s decorated with over one million Christmas lights. It is open daily November 10th -December 30th from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. However, it is important to note that trailers are not allowed. Additionally, vehicles longer than 30 Ft must have prior approval. However, if you are roaming the country in a small Class C, this is a perfect pit stop to make!


Christmas Lights Trail

Holiday Trail of Lights

Similarly, if you enjoyed Candy Cane Lane and wanted to enjoy another road trip, check out the Holiday trail of lights. The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is a great way to enjoy the holidays for locals and visitors alike. The trail runs along I-20 and I-49 in north Louisiana and includes the areas of Shreveport and Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches, and Alexandria/Pineville. Because each city is within driving distance of one another, this makes for a convenient hour-long trip from city to city.

You can enjoy the downtown lights, local restaurants, shops, and festivals. You can visit the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets in Shreveport-Bossier and enjoy shopping and dining in Antique Alley in Monroe-West Monroe. Additionally, you can experience the Fasching Fifth Season Celebration and Old-World Christmas Lights Spectacular in Minden and the Christmas parades and safari zoo tour in Alexandria/Pineville. There is so much to see and do from one end of the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights to the other!


Which Holiday Events in Louisiana Will You Attend?

Whether you attend one event or attend them all, we hope our lists helps you plan your next Louisiana adventure. And if you’re planning an RV Christmas, here is our Complete guide to celebrating the holidays in an RV. Christmas is as they say, the most wonderful time of the year! We wish you all the best for the holiday and all year!

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RVing in the Big Easy: Your Ultimate Guide to Camping in New Orleans

RVing in the Big Easy: Your Ultimate Guide to Camping in New Orleans

New Orleans, the vibrant heart of Louisiana, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, world-class cuisine, and lively music scene. While the city’s attractions and events are truly enticing, embarking on an RV adventure in the Big Easy can offer a unique and immersive experience. In this comprehensive guide to RV camping in New Orleans, we’ll navigate the exciting blend of culture, history, and natural beauty the city has to offer while helping you plan the perfect RV journey to one of America’s most captivating destinations.


RV Camping in New Orleans: Culture & Campgrounds

Embracing New Orleans’ culture is a one-of-a-kind experience. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant history by strolling through diverse neighborhoods like the French Quarter and Jackson Square. Dive into the city’s rich heritage by visiting iconic landmarks like City Park, and the St. Louis Cathedral. And stop in to explore even more history at The National WWII Museum.

Jackson Square

When it comes to exploring the culture of New Orleans, we have to talk a little bit about the food. New Orleans is truly a distinctive and eclectic culinary haven. Stopping in at Café Du Monde for chicory coffee and beignets is a New Orleans tradition you cannot pass up. And NOLA offers tons of dishes featuring the freshest seafood you can get. Try some of the local favorite Cajun and Creole dishes, such as gumbo, jambalaya, and the famous po’ boys. Even if you don’t want to eat out, there are plenty of seafood markets to shop. Grab some fresh crawfish or shrimp at  Zimmer’s Seafood and whip up some Cajun recipes at the campground!

Cafe Du Monde Beignets in Jackson Square.

From the beautiful architecture and nature to the amazing music and food, NOLA is an exceptional experience. Visiting the city in an RV offers freedom to roam and can enhance the adventure in an all-new way. Keep reading for how to maximize your trip RV camping in New Orleans!

Choosing Your RV

To kickstart your New Orleans RV adventure, you’ll need the perfect home on wheels. Selecting the right RV is essential for an enjoyable journey. At Courvelle’s RV, your trusted RV dealer in Opelousas, we have RVs that cater to various preferences and travel needs.

Travelers seeking mobility and self-contained living may opt for motorhomes, which offer the convenience of home, complete with kitchens and bathrooms. On the other hand, travel trailers and fifth wheels provide a more budget-friendly option offering the essential amenities and versatility.

Consider factors like the size of your group, mobility requirements, and the amenities you desire. For instance, a family with children may opt for a spacious motorhome, while solo travelers might prefer a compact travel trailer for easy maneuverability. Our team at Courvelle’s can help you determine the perfect RV for your travels.

RVs for Sale in Opelousas, LA

Choosing a Campground

New Orleans teems with RV parks that cater to varied preferences. Let location, amenities, and reviews guide your choice. Consider both the proximity to the city center, nearby attractions, and natural surroundings. Do your research and opt for an RV park that’s close to your favorite attractions and planned activities. French Quarter RV Resort is located just blocks from the French Quarter, offering a prime location for exploring the city.

If you’re looking for waterfront camping, New Orleans RV Resort & Marina is located on Lake Pontchartrain. This resort is a gated campground and is only 12 minutes from the French Quarter. Check if the RV park offers shuttle services or access to public transportation, like Jude Travel Park. This will make it much more convenient to explore the city since you won’t need to move your RV or fight through traffic. Plus, you can get around without worrying about RV-friendly routes and parking.

Public Transit in NOLA

Also, check for full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, pet-friendliness and amenities like a laundry room or a rec area. Some parks organize social events, which can make your stay and ultimately your New Orleans adventure even better. Compare which campgrounds best meet your needs before booking. Verify that your RV’s size fits within the park’s limits. Check out big rig-friendly parks like Three Oaks & a Pine RV Park to avoid any length or height restrictions. Make reservations in advance to secure your spot, especially during busy seasons.

Tips for RVing in New Orleans

When to Travel

In New Orleans, you can revel in year-round RV camping opportunities, with a variety of experiences awaiting you in every season. Which is great because New Orleans hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year. You can plan your visit around events and festivals like the popular Jazz & Heritage Festival or on the season. 

People in NOLA during a festival.

The busiest seasons for RV camping in New Orleans are fall and spring. In the fall (September to November), you’ll enjoy comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds. Spring (March to May) brings lovely weather and the city’s vibrant flora. And, of course, the city is flooded with visitors during Mardi Gras, which usually takes place in February or March. While summers can be hot and humid, winter RV camping is an option for those seeking milder temperatures. All in all, there’s never a bad time to for RV camping in New Orleans! 


Plan Ahead

When planning an RV camping trip in New Orleans, it’s crucial to book your campsite in advance. Since there are year-round festivities, always check for local events and festivals. And be mindful of peak seasons, fall and springs, as they can affect campsite availability and pricing.

Navigating NOLA in Your RV

Plan your routes carefully, taking into account your RV’s size and any road restrictions. The streets are narrow in New Orleans, so we recommend finding a safe space to park to explore the city.  Luckily, New Orleans has several RV parking options, so research ahead of time based on where you plan to visit.


Safety Tips

Be aware of your surroundings and exercise common-sense safety precautions. Lock your RV when you’re not present and be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded areas.

Find Your Perfect New Orleans RV

Whether you’re a first-time RVer or a veteran traveler, camping in New Orleans is a unique and unforgettable experience. Exploring the city with the right RV allows you to experience the rich culture and enjoy all the local sights. With Courvelle’s RV, you can find the perfect RV to match your travel style and budget. Let our team help ensure that your RVing adventure in New Orleans is a memorable and stress-free experience. Whether you’re interested in a new RV from top brands like Crossroads RV or a reliable used RV, we’ve got you covered. Come in and visit our RV dealership today to start your journey and create unforgettable memories in the Crescent City!


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Where to Find the Best Fishing in Louisiana

Where to Find the Best Fishing in Louisiana

If you have a fishing hobby, Louisiana is heaven. With its rich tapestry of waterways, swamps, and estuaries, there are so many great spots for anglers to discover. The best way to get there? RVing! From the tranquil bayous to the vast coastal marshes and the sprawling lakes, RVing is a great way to experience the Pelican State’s rich fishing scene. Whether you’re in pursuit of trophy-sized bass in serene freshwater reservoirs or casting your line for speckled trout amidst the coastal breezes, it’s hard to narrow down the best fishing in Louisiana. To make it easy for you, we rounded up our top choices.

There’s a reason this state is known as the “Sportsman’s Paradise.” In Louisiana, fishing is not just a pastime, but a way of life. So, grab your fishing gear and hitch up your RV. We’re detailing the best Louisiana waterways for fishing.

A boat with fishermen on a lake next to a lone tree at sunrise. This blog details the best fishing in Louisiana.

Fishing Licenses in Louisiana

Like anywhere else, fishing in Louisiana requires proper licensing. It’s important to ensure both the sustainability of the state’s fisheries and compliance with regulations. To get yours, visit the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ website or a local license vendor. There are various license types available, including those for residents and non-residents, seniors, and military personnel. It’s essential to review the specific regulations and licensing requirements for the type of fishing you plan to do. Staying informed and obtaining the appropriate fishing license not only keeps you legal but also contributes to the conservation efforts that maintain Louisiana’s vibrant fishing ecosystems.

Best Fishing In Louisiana

Now, on to our picks for the best fishing in Louisiana.

Caney Lake

Fishing in Caney Lake is an angler’s dream come true. In 2022, it gained well-deserved recognition, securing the No. 4 spot on Bassmaster Magazine‘s “Top 100 Lakes” list. This recognition for some of the best fishing in Louisiana is attributed to the impressive tournament weights and the remarkable number of 10-pound-plus bass that have been landed in recent years. The lake spans 5,000 acres in Jackson Parish and is currently experiencing exceptional habitat conditions. This is leading to a surge in big fish and an overall abundance of bass. In other words, you can hook your own trophy-sized bass here!

Rental boats in the foreground with one of the spots for the best fishing in Louisiana in the background, Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Toledo Bend Reservoir

Toledo Bend Reservoir is also in Bassmaster Magazine’s “Top 100 Lakes” list, sitting at No. 5. It is situated on the Texas/Louisiana state line and has long had a reputation for some of the best fishing in Louisiana. In 2019, a low-water period led to a temporary drop in the reservoir’s levels. As a result, habitat conditions were enhanced and the fish population thrived. This unique situation contributed to an increase in average winning catch weights. Anglers have caught several 25-pound, 5-bass limit winning weights here in recent years! Anglers visiting Toledo Bend can expect more than just bass, including crappie, catfish, and more. Essentially, this scenic reservoir in Desoto and Vernon Parishes offers ample opportunities for both amateur and seasoned anglers to reel in impressive catches.

Sunrise over a fishing boat and a bridge at Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain is an easily accessible fishing destination for visitors to New Orleans. It is on our list for the best fishing in Louisiana because it offers a rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. Popular catches include speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and sheepshead. There are both inshore and nearshore fishing options, making it accessible for those with various types of watercraft. The lake’s brackish water is a prime habitat for these sought-after species. Additionally, the abundance of oyster beds and marshy areas provides excellent feeding grounds. Undoubtedly, Lake Pontchartrain offers a fruitful fishing experience against the picturesque backdrop of New Orleans.

A shrimp boat off the coast of Grand Isle

Grand Isle

Grande Isle is a coveted destination for both inshore and offshore fishing enthusiasts. Onshore, anglers can target speckled trout and redfish in the calm, shallow waters of Barataria Bay. For those seeking offshore adventures, the Gulf of Mexico offers opportunities to catch a wide variety of species, including tuna, marlin, snapper, and amberjack. Anglers can choose from various charter options to explore these rich fishing grounds. RVers can set up camp at the beautiful Grand Isle State Park. With its stunning coastal scenery and abundant marine life, Grande Isle offers a thrilling fishing experience combined with the comforts of RV camping.


Venice is so well-loved by anglers, it’s known as “Tuna Town.” The town is located at the tip of Louisiana’s boot near the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, it’s an unparalleled hotspot for offshore and deep-sea fishing. The convergence of nutrient-rich waters from the Mississippi River and the warm currents of the Gulf creates the perfect conditions for various tuna species, including yellowfin and blackfin tuna, to thrive. If you want to fish for tuna, Venice has some of the best fishing in Louisiana.

Atchafalaya Basin

Atchafalaya Basin

This sprawling wetland in Cajun Country is perfect for the angler who wants to meander through a labyrinth of cypress swamps. It’s a prime habitat for a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. The basin’s waterways wind through a mesmerizing landscape of towering cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. Anglers often use shallow-draft boats like flat-bottomed skiffs, jon boats, and kayaks to navigate these waters effectively. There’s plenty else to do here as well. We featured Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge as one of the best places to hike in our state.

The Best Louisiana RV Shop for RVing Anglers

These spots only scratch the surface of why our state is known as “Sportsman’s Paradise.” Louisiana offers a fishing experience like no other, with its diverse landscapes, abundant water bodies, and a multitude of fish species. For RVing anglers searching for the best fishing in Louisiana, don’t forget to make Courvelle’s RV in Opelousas your first stop. Our exceptional RV service and high quality RV inventory will ensure you’re well-prepared to enjoy the bountiful fishing opportunities that await in this paradise for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts.

Find the perfect RV for your fishing adventures

The 5 Best Bike Trails in Louisiana

The 5 Best Bike Trails in Louisiana

If you’re an RVer, then chances are you love the outdoors. Biking is one of the best ways to get outside and enjoy nature, and our state has plenty of opportunities for it. Coincidentally, Louisiana is actually a treasure trove for cyclists! It offers diverse terrains, scenic routes, and picturesque towns to discover. Whether you’re a biking enthusiast or a recreational rider, we’ve curated a list of the best bike trails in Louisiana. So, fasten your helmets, hop on your bikes, and let’s delve into Louisiana’s incredible biking scene.

The Best Bike Trails in Louisiana for Your Next Road Trip

Bikes on the Tammany Trace trail, one of the best bike trails in Louisiana

Photo courtesy of

Tammany Trace

Tammany Trace is a 31-mile paved bike trail located on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. It used to be an Illinois Central Railroad corridor, and it has since been transformed into an outdoors haven. Now, you’ll find paths for biking, hiking, rollerblading and wheelchair use. As it stretches from Covington to Slidell, you’ll wind through dense forests, picturesque wetlands, and charming towns. For those who want to experience the heart of the state, it’s one of the best bike trails in Louisiana.

Along the trails, you’ll find amenities such as picnic areas, benches, and water fountains. Plus, there are plenty of convenient spots to take breaks and soak in the natural beauty. The towns along the route offer charming shops, restaurants, and historical sites, inviting cyclists to immerse themselves in the local culture. For extra adventure, you can follow the Tammany Trace Extension. This is a 12-mile paved trail that branches off from the Tammany Trace in Covington. This extension showcases the same scenic beauty as the main trail, but with a more secluded atmosphere. As such, it’s an ideal choice for those seeking a quieter ride away from the bustling main trail.

To enjoy these trails on your RV travels, try camping in Fontainebleau State Park or Fairview-Riverside State Park. Whether you choose to ride the main trail or venture into the extension, you’re in for a remarkable biking experience.

Red River Bike Trail

The Red River Bike Trail in Shreveport offers an array of sights and attractions that make it a captivating destination for cyclists. This 6-mile trail features beautiful views of the Red River from Riverview Park to Charles and Marie Hamel Memorial Park. It passes many different local attractions and recreation areas, so make sure you plan time to stop along the way!

One of the notable highlights is the Louisiana Boardwalk, a bustling waterfront retail and entertainment district. Here, you can explore a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. In addition, it passes by the Sci-Port Discovery Center, a popular science and education museum with exhibits for all ages. From the majestic river scenery to the vibrant urban attractions, the Red River Bike Trail in Shreveport has it all. It provides a delightful mix of natural beauty and city charm, making it one of the best bike trails in Louisiana.

An aerial view of the Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans, one of the best bike trails in Louisiana

Photo courtesy of Lafitte Greenway

Lafitte Greenway

The Lafitte Greenway in the heart of New Orleans is a unique bike trail that offers a distinct blend of urban personality and outdoor recreation. This 2.6-mile paved trail serves as a vibrant link between the historic French Quarter and the picturesque City Park. Essentially, it’s a green oasis amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. As you pedal along the trail, you’ll witness lively neighborhoods, street art, and cultural landmarks. It’s one of the best ways to get active while immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of New Orleans’ heritage. The trail serves as a gateway to the cultural, culinary, and entertainment offerings that make New Orleans a beloved destination. If you’re planning an RV trip to New Orleans anytime soon, then plan to spend a day on one of the best bike trails in Louisiana.

Wild Azalea Trail

Around here, we love the Kisatchie National Forest! If you love biking, then you’ll be thrilled to find out one of the best bike trails in Louisiana is located in this protected area. The Wild Azalea Trail in the Calcasieu Ranger District of the Kisatchie National Forest in Central Louisiana immerses cyclists in the beauty of nature. This renowned trail stretches for 26 miles and winds through the enchanting forested landscapes of the Kisatchie Hills.

The highlight of the trail is the stunning display of wild azaleas that blanket the forest floor from March to April.  Along the way, there are gentle slopes and challenging climbs as well as peaceful stretches where you can relish the serenity of the surroundings. If you ask us, it’s the perfect spot to appreciate the wilderness of Central Louisiana. For those looking to camp while you’re there, we wrote an entire blog about where to camp in Kisatchie National Forest!

The Mississippi River Trail in Louisiana

Mississippi River Trail

The Mississippi River Trail spans multiple states along the majestic Mississippi River. This is one of the best bike trails in Louisiana thanks to its breathtaking scenic beauty and connection to the rich history of the river. On the trail, you’ll take in the grandeur of the Mississippi River and the ever-changing landscapes that line its banks. The MRT offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, historic sites, and charming riverfront towns. It’s an easy place to immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry that the river has woven throughout the centuries. Along the way, you can stop at historic landmarks, enjoy local cuisine, or engage in recreational activities like fishing. The Mississippi River Trail truly encapsulates the spirit and allure of the mighty river. To go on a biking trail that celebrates nature and heritage, this is the spot. 

Plan a Road Trip to the Best Bike Trails in Louisiana

Whether you are an avid cyclist seeking thrilling trails or a family looking for outdoor adventures, the best bike trails in Louisiana have something for everyone. From the serene Tammany Trace to the urban charm of the Lafitte Greenway, unforgettable experiences await. If you plan to travel often with your bikes, then a toy hauler RV may be the best RV type for you! The rear garage provides the perfect spot to transport your bikes without getting in the way of your living space. At Courvelle’s RV, we have toy hauler RVs designed to accommodate your biking needs. Visit our dealership in Opelousas or browse our inventory online to find the ideal toy hauler that fits your lifestyle. Let Courvelle’s RV be your partner in turning your dreams of RVing and cycling into a reality!

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7 Tips for RVing with Pets

7 Tips for RVing with Pets

As a pet owner, leaving for RV trips without your furry friends is hard. Wouldn’t it be more fun if they came along!? The good news is, it’s totally possible to enjoy RVing with pets when you prepare properly. From pet-proofing your RV to finding pet-friendly campgrounds and parks, we’ve got all the tips you need to make your travels with your dog or cat safe, comfortable and as fun as possible. So, grab a leash and let’s hit the road with your furry companion!

What You Need to Know about RVing with Pets

A border collie is on a leash next to a Class B van parked at a river. Keeping your pets on leash is an important part of RVing with pets.

Plan Your Route

The first thing you want to do is plan your RV route specifically for RVing with pets. Not every RV park allows pets, and not every hiking trail allows dogs on leash! Doing your research ahead of time is key. One easy way to find pet-friendly options is by checking a website or app that specializes in traveling with pets, like BringFido or GoPetFriendly. BringFido allows you to search pet-friendly restaurants, activities and events in your destination, while GoPetFriendly has a trip planning feature that allows you to set up your route and plan stops that will allow you to bring your pet along. You can also check on campground websites to see if they allow pets.

While it’s common to hike with your dog, it’s important to make sure that trail allows dogs. GoPetFriendly has a great guide to dog-friendly national parks, but remember to check on the park website to ensure the trail you want to take allows dogs. This isn’t just to protect the trail, but to protect your pup as well! Some environments and local wildlife aren’t safe for dogs, so it’s better to leave them with the RV at these stops. By planning ahead, you can find some incredible stops with lots for you and your furry friends to do!

Pack the Essentials

Next, you’ll want to make sure you pack everything you need for your pet to thrive on the road. Most importantly, make sure you have plenty of their favorite food on hand and more water than you’d usually use if you weren’t traveling with your pet – because your pet needs to drink too! If your pet is a nervous traveler, bringing items from home can make them feel more comfortable and happier. Consider bringing their pet bed or blankets from home and treats to entertain and reward them. Anything that typically calms them is fair game to bring along. Our friends over at RVUSA have put together a great list of essential items for RVing with pets if you need some ideas. Of course, don’t forget the poop bags and litter box!

Invest in a Pet GPS

If you haven’t already, purchase a GPS collar for your dog or cat. While many RVers skip this step when RVing with pets, we think it’s an important way to ensure your pet’s safety. Even if you don’t plan on letting your pet out of the RV, sometimes accidents happen and pets can get loose. Having a GPS tracker on them that you can follow with your phone will make sure you can easily reunite with your pet if anything happens at the campground or on the trail. At the very least, make sure your pet has a collar with ID tags.

A cat looks out the driver side window of an RV.

Pet-proof Your RV

RVs are small spaces and don’t leave your pet a lot of activity options if they’re cooped up for a long time. Plus, they’re often new environments for your pet, so they may get a little too curious trying to explore! Make sure you pet-proof your RV to keep them from getting into things they shouldn’t. Secure cleaning supplies and food in cabinets they can’t enter. Make sure there are no heavy objects that can slide around and injure your pet while driving (or while parked). You may consider using a pet gate inside your rig or an outdoor pet pen if your RV park allows it.

Secure Your Pet on Drive Days

It’s important to make sure your pet is secure while you drive to keep them safe and prevent them from distracting the driver. There are actually pet seatbelts you can purchase that attach to your RV’s seatbelts and secures your pet. You can also use a pet carrier or crate on drive days. We recommend securing it to the floor or seat with bungee cords or straps so it can’t slide around. You could also use a non-slip mat under the carrier to help out. Just don’t leave them in the crate for too long.

Take Breaks

That brings us to our next point: plan for plenty of stops when you are traveling with a pet! You’ll need to take more breaks when you have a dog or cat with you. Of course, that’s partly because you may need to take your dog out for frequent potty breaks. But it’s also because long car rides can make pets anxious or uncomfortable, so it’s a good idea to allow them to get out, stretch their legs and get some fresh air. They may need some extra time to adjust to the motion and new surroundings. Taking breaks often can help them acclimate to RVing and make RVing with pets more enjoyable for everyone.

A small dog looks outside the window of the passenger seat in an RV. Securing your pet on drive days is an important part of RVing with pets.

Be Respectful of Other RVers

While we know you love your furry companions, pets aren’t for everyone! Keep that in mind when you are RVing with pets and at campground where your neighbors may not be pet people. It’s important to respect them too. Follow all campground rules and regulations such as keeping them on leash where required, picking up after them and not disturbing others’ campsites. Try to be mindful of the noise your pet makes and take steps to minimize barking if possible. If your pet is going to roam or interact with other campers, make sure you have permission from those around you. By being considerate of the RVers around you, it makes RVing with pets enjoyable for everyone!

We’ve got the perfect rig for RVing with pets

If you’re planning on hitting the road with your pet this travel season, you need the right RV for your travels. We can help! Come visit our RV dealership in Opelousas, Louisiana and we’ll help you find the perfect rig for Fido.

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Where to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest

Where to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest

National Forests are some of the best places for RV camping. They’re untamed land with beautiful views, often maintained with RV camping in mind. In Louisiana, we’re lucky to call Kisatchie National Forest our own. It’s the only national forest in our state, and its over 600,000 acres are made up of 5 separate ranger districts across central and northern Louisiana. These separate districts are rather spread out, so it’s important to know what area you’re planning on heading to in your RV. Not every campsite in Kisatchie National Forest offers RV camping, so doing your research is key. Not to worry – our RV dealership here in Louisiana has done the research for you! If you’re planning to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest, here are the best campgrounds to visit.

A reservoir in the Calcasieu Ranger District. This area has many places to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest

Best Places to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest: Calcasieu Ranger District

The Calcasieu Ranger District’s Evangeline Unit has plenty of places to camp in Kisatchie National Forest. It’s located in Rapides Parish, near Pineville and Alexandria, not far from our RV dealership in Opelousas. As of early 2023, some popular RV camping sites in this unit such as Kincaid Lake Recreation Area are closed. With that in mind, here are some other great options for RV camping.

Ahtus Melder Campground

If you love boondocking, Ahutus Melder Campground is the place to RV camp in the Calcasieu Ranger District of Kisatchie National Forest. It’s a primitive camping area, with no distinct camp sites or reservations. As the forest service says, they “leave campers to use their imagination on how to best camp” at this location. There are no restrooms and no water, and you must pack out all of your trash. The upside is it’s serene and remote – and free! There is a $5 fee to use the Claiborne Multi-Use Trail but no charge for camping here. Bonus: this spot is located just one hour from Courvelle’s RV in Opelousas!

Valentine Lake Recreation Complex

This 46-acre lake is a peaceful setting to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest. Motorized boating isn’t allowed here, but you can use the boat launch on the south side of the lake for canoes and kayaks if you are camping here. There are 14 campsites, including 6 lakefront sites. Each campsite has a picnic table, lantern post and a fire ring. There are also restrooms, trash containers and water fountains available at Valentine Lake. All of these is available for just $10 per night per campsite. When you camp here, you can enjoy the 3 mile Valentine Lake Trail that starts and ends at the Northshore Campground as well as the 2 fishing piers on the lake. If your RV needs some attention on your trip here, our RV service department is located just 1 hour and 20 minutes from this campground.

Best Places to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest: Caney Ranger District

This district, located in Webster and Claiborne Parishes in northern Louisiana, is divided into 3 units: Caney Lakes, Middle Fork and Corney Lake. The Caney Lakes Unit is the only one that offers RV camping, and we have all the details on this spot to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest.

Beaver Dam Campground

When it comes to comfort and convenience, this is the best place to camp in Kisatchie National Forest. This campground is nestled on the shores of the 125-acre Upper Caney Lake in the Caney Lakes Recreation Complex. Activities abound at this beautiful campground, from boating and water skiing to swimming and skiing. The lake’s main feature is unsurprisingly “Beaver Dam,” and you can fish for bluegill, sandbass, bass, crappie and catfish in this lake. The popular Sugar Cane National Recreation Trail is 5.7 miles long and passes right by this campground, perfect for campers who want to fit a hike or a mountain bike ride into their trip.

Standard campsites are $25 per night and include electric and water hookups. There are drinking water fountains, flush toilets and a sanitary dump station on site. If you’re camping with a convoy, you can opt for access to the group picnic area, which can accommodate up to 200 people for $65-135 a night.

The sign for Cane Camp Campground among wildflowers by a road. This is a great place to camp in Kisatchie National Forest.

Best Places to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest: Kisatchie Ranger District

Kisatchie Ranger District provides a lot of variety for visitors looking to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest. There are 5 different campsites with RV camping availability in this district located near the city of Natchitoches. In fact, this district made our list of the best places to camp in the fall! Many of the campsites are quite primitive though, so if you love boondocking, this is the district for you.

Cane Camp

This campsite near the Sandstone Multiple-Use Trail is mainly used as a horse camp. It offers general camping for a $10 daily usage fee along with drinking water, flush toilets and horse feeding tie poles.

Corral Camp

This is another great spot for campers who love boondocking. Located inside the National Red Dirt Wildlife Management Preserve, it’s popular with OHV campers thanks to its access to the Sandstone Multiple-Use Trail, which has a $5 per operator fee for off-roading. The campsite has no hookups, but it does provide vault toilets. Ironically, although it is called Corral Camp, no horse camping is allowed here. Campsites at Corral Camp are $10 per night.

Custis Camp

If you love hunting on your RV travels, Custis Camp is a great spot to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest. The camping here is primitive – there are no facilities offered here – but as a designated hunter’s camp, it’s popular with outdoorsmen and women looking to hunt during their stay. Even if you aren’t a hunter, it is open year-round to general forest visitors as well.

Lotus Camp

Toy haulers: this is the boondocking spot for you! There’s a connecting spur trail from this campground to the Sandstone Trail, which is popular with OHV riders. You can easily hop from your campsite straight to the trail! Campsites here are $10 per night and include access to drinking water, flush toilets, picnic tables and a fire ring at each campsite. Again, the Sandstone Trail requires an additional $5 per operator fee.

Oak Camp

Oak Camp is another designated hunter’s camp in the Kisatchie Ranger District. Camping here is primitive, although vault toilets are provided. No OHV camping is allowed here, so if you’re looking to go off-roading, you’ll want to skip this stop.

A high viewpoint on a hike in Kisatchie National Forest. The best places to camp in Kisatchie National Forest are near great trails like this.

Best Places to Camp in Kisatchie National Forest: Winn Ranger District

Winn Ranger District is located near Winnfield, Louisiana in Winn Parish. It’s a very popular district for equestrians, thanks to the many amenities it offers both horse and rider. You don’t have to have your horses along to camp in this area, but here are the best spots to RV camp in Kisatchie National Forest’s Winn Ranger District.

Cloud Crossing Campground

Located near Goldonna, this gorgeous, wooded campground provides access to Saline Bayou National Wild and Scenic River. Cloud Crossing is the perfect spot to put in your boat or canoe for a day on Saline Bayou. While there are no hookups here, there are plenty of amenities. There are picnic tables, a pavilion with a barbecue pit, trash containers and vault toilets. Every campsite is equipped with a fire ring and a lantern hook. Some campsites are shaded or even surrounded by brush for seclusion. It’s the only river access campground in Kisatchie National Forest.

Gum Springs Recreation Complex

If you’re an equestrian, this is the place to camp in Kisatchie National Forest. Nearby Gum Springs Horse Camp attracts horses and riders from all over the US thanks to its easy (and free!) access to the popular Gum Springs Horse Trail. This campsite provides plenty of parking for trucks with horse trailers as well as overnight spots for primitive camping alongside hitching posts and a corral. There are also water fountains, vault toilets and trash containers provided. Overnight camping both at the Gum Springs Recreation Complex and at Gum Springs Horse Camp for just $10 a night.

Where will you camp in Kisatchie National Forest?

With so many wonderful options, it’s hard to choose where to camp in Kisatchie National Forests! Note that there was one ranger district we left off this list: Catahoula Ranger District. That’s because there is no place designated to RV camp in Kisatchie National Park’s Catahoula Ranger District. Not to worry, you can enjoy RV camping in plenty of other spots inside this natural area. Whether you’re an equestrian, a hunter, an off-roader, a boater or simply an avid outdoors lover, there’s a campsite for you in this wonderful national forest.

On your travels to Kisatchie National Forest, make sure you stop in and see us at Courvelle’s RV in Opelousas, Louisiana! We are located just north of Lafayette and are open for RV service and RV sales 6 days a week. Our dealership in Opelousas is closest to Kisatchie National Forest’s Evangeline Unit, but we’d love to see you no matter where you camp!

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