St. Bernard State Park
St. Bernard State Park is a state park located in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana between the towns of Caernarvon and Poydras. The park was established in 1971, when Lynn Dean, a local businessman and former state senator, along with his wife Jackie, donated the land to the state. For 34 years, St. Bernard State Park was the only state park in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. When Hurricane Katrina hit, the state park was severely damaged by the storm surge from the levee failures and remained closed for over a year due to all the damage.
St. Bernard State Park was restored and officially re-opened with a ceremony on December 19, 2006. The opening ceremonies were held by Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and local dignitaries and included local choirs, tours of the site, and snacks.
The state park is a fantastic visiting spot for families and campers who are looking for a natural experience without straying too far from civilization. There are 51 campsites located in the park and many of the campers that visit the park combine their camping vacation with touring the New Orleans area as well since St. Bernard State Park is only 18 miles away from the French Quarter.
The park is located on 358 acres of lands along the Mississippi River. With a network of manmade lagoons, the park maintains a very peaceful and relaxing setting. The nature trail is made up of both woodlands and wetlands. The park also contains restrooms, pavilions, grills, and picnic tables. Visitors are also welcome to bring their boats and launch them in the Caernarvon waterway, about 1/10th of a mile away from the park’s entrance. Fisherman can experience some fantastic fresh and saltwater fishing here.
St. Bernard State Park is also a stop along America’s Wetland Birding Trail on Louisiana’s Great Gulf Coast. The Orleans Loop takes bird enthusiasts through places like Breton Sound, Bonnet Carre Spillway, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, St. Bernard State Park, Chalmette Battlefield, Audubon Park Heronry, and New Orleans City Park.
You can find a variety of wetlands wildlife in St. Bernard State Park, such as alligators, Eastern Cottontail, Swamp rabbits, Virginia Opossum, Mink, Raccoon, Gray Squirrel, and River Otter. The woodlands are home to animals such as Wood Duck, vultures, owls, Red-shouldered Hawks, and woodpeckers.
Neotropic species such as Green Heron, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, Mississippi Kite, and Hooded warblers, among others, arrive in the park during early to mid-spring to nest.
St. Bernard State Park is open every day from 8 AM to 9 PM. A splash pad water playground has been added to the park and is open Tuesday through Sunday in April to October, from 8 AM to 7 PM. The state park can be found in eastern St. Bernard Parish on 501 St. Bernard Parkway.