From beautiful, sprawling gardens and picturesque parks to the ever-flowing waters of the Bayou Desiard and the Ouachita River (listed as one of America's 10 most beautiful rivers by National Geographic magazine), Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana has all the makings of an unforgettable outdoor getaway.
Beyond the stunning surroundings and lush landscape, there are countless outdoor experiences that will have you coming back for more. Take on fascinating nature trails. Put your archery skills to the test. Get up close and personal with wildlife. Indulge in local cuisine while overlooking our city’s blackwater rivers. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to make lifelong memories.
Explore our area’s top outdoor activities and map out a one-of-a-kind North Louisiana adventure of your own.
Get Back in Touch with Nature
Outdoor fun abounds at Chennault Park. While the oak-filled, 500-acre reserve is best known for its 18-hole golf course that’s loved by locals and visitors alike, the park is also home to a full disc/frisbee golf course, 12 NHPA-sanctioned horseshoe pits, and a paved 1.2-mile walking and biking path. The Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum is also located within the park and offers visitors a chance to explore the history of the Civil Rights movement in Louisiana.
If a more rustic retreat is what you’re looking for, Kiroli Park is just the ticket. The sprawling, 160-acre park boasts a forest with jogging and nature trails, a fully stocked fishing pond, and gorgeous gardens abloom with seasonal plants. What’s more? The park also features several playgrounds—including Smiles Park, an all-inclusive playground for kids of all ages and abilities—as well as Raising Cane’s Dog Park so Fido won’t be left out from all the outdoor fun.
Marvel at the quiet beauty found at Restoration Park in West Monroe, featuring 70 acres of forest and wetland perfect for exploring. Along the way, take time to soak up panoramic views of the park’s scenic lake and many overlooks. Bring your furry friend along for a light jog or leisurely stroll along the scenic 1.2-mile stone trail.
Immerse in the natural beauty and wonder of the majestic Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. With 4,500 acres of lake, swamp, bottomland hardwoods and woody uplands, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Embark on a sight-seeing journey of the refuge’s abundant wildlife, from alligators and turtles to coyotes, deer and countless bird species. Bring your boat or rent a canoe and enjoy a water-filled day at the heart of the reserve—a 1,600-acre lake, lined with stately cypress and tupelo trees and filled with plentiful fishing. Kick the fun up a notch and get your learning on with the reserve’s interactive experiences, live animal exhibits and arboretum.
Elevate Your Visit with Unique, Hands-On Experiences
While you’re here, make sure you fit in some of Monroe-West Monroe’s signature outdoor experiences.
Master the art of archery at Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office Training Center’s Archery Park. The range features a number of natural areas for every type of archer, including a youth area and a space designated for elevated shooting. If you’re new to the sport, not to worry—range personnel are available to help you along the way.
Yearning to get out on the water? Head over to H2 Go Paddle and rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board and blaze a liquid trail along the scenic Ouachita River, Bayou Desiard or the expansive lake at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Don’t miss out on the wildly good fun at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. The 80+-acre zoological park and gardens are home to about 400 animals of roughly 200 species, and offer a true zoo experience, with two miles of pathways that will take you and your crew through animal exhibits ranging from lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) to zebras, bison, baboons and more. In addition to scores of wildlife, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo also features nearly 30 acres of landscaped grounds flourishing with native fauna, where you’ll also find a walk-through greenhouse.
Indulge in the Local Flavor—Waterside
Your outdoor adventure in Monroe-West Monroe wouldn’t be complete without savoring some of the local flavors that can be found along the banks of our area’s waterways. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to try!
If stunning views of the Ouachita River while you dine is what you’re looking for, make your way to Trapp’s, Warehouse No. 1, Cotton and Miro’s. They each bring something unique to the table—the best thing to do is let your taste buds choose which one(s) to experience on this Monroe-West Monroe visit and which ones to save for your next one.
Trapp’s is a local favorite known for their seafood nachos, fried crawfish and Cajun cuisine. Warehouse No. 1 is also known for tasty Cajun creations, but what really sets this eatery apart is its unique history. The building, located in Monroe’s historic district, has withstood the test of time, standing for roughly half of the city’s 200-year heritage. If you’re craving some of the best comfort food this side of the Mississippi, look no further than Cotton, known for their creative Southern cuisine. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the classics—cheeseburgers, wings, fried fish—and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Miro’s!
For waterfront dining views along the beautiful Bayou DeSiard, head over to the Waterfront Grill and Levee Grill. One of Monroe’s best-known restaurants, the Waterfront Grill serves up chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and po’boys, and a variety of mouth-watering entrees, including Black Angus steaks, succulent chicken dishes and savory seafood cuisine. Like the name suggests, Levee Grill is located on the levee overlooking the Bayou DeSiard. Their specialties include steaks, Cajun dishes and classic Southern fare with a twist.
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Mardi Gras parades. Art exhibitions. Outdoor markets. Concerts. And more. Check out our Events Page to stay in the know about upcoming events in Monroe-West Monroe.