Lafayette has been named the “happiest city in America” and perhaps this has to do with the number of natural areas there are for residents and visitors to explore. Louisiana has an interesting landscape with swampy areas, weeping willow trees, and a wide variety of wildlife. If you’re looking for something to do in Lafayette during your stay, consider one (or a few) of the following outdoor activities.

Paddling Trails

When it comes to water activities, Lafayette has a number of different options depending on what you’re looking to explore. With lakes, rivers, swamps, bayous, and even the Gulf Coast, there are so many ways to experience water activities. One of the best and easiest ways to explore Louisiana and Lafayette is by taking a trip down one of these popular paddling trails.

Bayou Vermilion Trail

The Bayou Vermilion is a 9.5-mile paddling trail that goes through the shade of trees and winds all the way to the nature station in Vermilionville. There are kayaks available for rent at both ends of the trail, making it easy for you to begin your adventure. Through this trail, you’ll pass two canals leading to lakes Martin and Charlo, which are great places for side excursions along the trail.

Bayou Teche Trail

This 15.5-mile paddling trail is a more challenging day trip for paddlers. It goes from Arnaudville all the way to Breaux Bridge. Although 15.5 miles sounds daunting, it’s a doable day trip for most. After a long day of making your way to Breaux Bridge (http://breauxbridgela.net/), just 20 minutes from Lafayette, enjoy what the  “Crawfish Capital of the World” has to offer.

Lake Martin

Mentioned above as a body of water you’ll pass on the Bayou Vermilion Trail, this lake is perfect for a paddling outing all on its own. This is one of Louisiana’s amazing swamplands with the signature moss, trees, and wildlife signature to this part of the United States.

Bird Watching

Bird watching is a popular activity in Louisiana because there are over 250 species in the area. This makes it an especially exciting place for those looking to add new species to the list of birds they’ve seen throughout their life. Birding in Lafayette would be exciting for an ornithologist as well as someone who’s completely new to the bird watching world. View over 50,000 egrets, herons, and more in the natural areas of Lafayette.

Nature Photography

If you’re a fan of capturing sights on camera, Louisiana is a great place to take some of the most stunning photography. The landscape is unique with its swamps, species of trees such as the Cypress and Tupelo which grow in water, and as mentioned above, the amazing birds and wildlife. There are so many amazing sights in this part of the United States and you won’t want to miss this opportunity to catch them on camera if taking photos is your passion.

Acadiana Park for Biking, Sports, and More

Acadiana Park is made up of over 140 acres of land. For a fun day spent outside playing sports, enjoy fields, basketball and tennis courts, as well as a frisbee golf course throughout the grounds. If you’d rather spend the day biking, they have impressive mountain bike trails looping themselves through the forest.

Camping and Hiking

Acadiana Park is also a place for camping, and home to a nature station. They host clubs, outreach programs, and nature talks. The trails are open every day during daylight hours, but if you’re feeling adventurous, check out one of their guided night hikes that take place the last Saturday of every month.

With so much to explore in Lafayette, the only problem you’ll have is figuring out where to begin! Be sure to check out what Louisiana has to offer you for your next road trip. You’ll be excited you came.