Sam Houston Jones State Park is a recreation hotspot in the Lake Charles area, loved for its diversity of activities and overnight camping. Paddling is right up there with hiking, biking, and fishing as one of the best ways to spend a day or weekend here. The park contains three cypress-filled lagoons that are perfect for a calm paddle in shallow water surrounded by greenery and wildlife. Two of the lagoons are along the road near the picnic area, and they are very easy to access with a canoe or paddleboard. The third and largest is east of these and reached by a short walk through the woods or from the campground. They are not always full, however, because they may be drained or dried up depending on the time of year.
There is also the river, which is always available for paddling. This is the Calcasieu West Fork which forms one boundary of the park. Current is noticeable but easy enough to paddle against, so you can travel out and back in either direction. You will pass homes and private docks along the river, but boat traffic is normally low and there is still plenty of natural forest lining the rest of the banks. You can easily put on from the park's boat ramp, or from the low-walled bank at the picnic area. On both the river and the lagoons you are likely to see a lot of southern Louisiana's native residents like deer, herons, egrets, waterfowl, and turtles.
This paddle adventure was equipped by and published in collaboration with Bote Boards.