We have endless family travel tips on New Orleans Mom because we absolutely LOVE to get away from the city and explore Louisiana and the surrounding areas. Whether it’s a day trip to Fontainebleau State Park for outdoor fun, an outing over to Mississippi to enjoy indoor fun at Lynn Meadows, or a field trip to see Avery Island, home of Tabasco, we have you covered! If you are looking for longer vacation ideas, check out this list of budget friendly road trips from New Orleans. We also suggest checking out Cypress Bend for an alternative to the traditional beach vacation.
Cypress Bend :: Discovering Louisiana
I moved to Louisiana 14 years ago and have only recently realized that with so much to do locally in and immediately around New Orleans, that we don’t necessarily jump on the opportunity to discover other areas of the state as often as we should.
As a single mother, this summer, I choose to forgo the traditional weeks of camp to 1) spend more quality time with my son one-on-one and 2) discover new things about Louisiana that we have never experienced before.
When my son Grayson and I pulled the map out, we asked ourselves, “where haven’t we been?” He reminded me that we hadn’t yet visited the Kisatchie National Forest to see the Wolf Rock Cave. We had already decided on a night’s stay in Breaux Bridge to kayak Lake Martin, and thought, “ok – let’s go north after.” This was something that he has been wanting to experience for a few years now.
After realizing that it was still a few hours away from New Orleans, we decided that it would be best to stay over somewhere nearby and make the drive back the next day. After a quick google search, we discovered Toledo Bend Lake. We usually use points of interest around water as our guide. I had never even heard of Toledo Bend so as the naturally curious woman that I am, I dug in.
Toledo Bend Lake is a Reservoir that was a joint effort between Texas and Louisiana to mitigate continued damage from area flooding within the region. In fact, it was built over 22 years ago which was surprising to me because I had never heard of it until now!
Knowing that a development such as this would have also included a hotel, I kept digging. And, what I discovered was this gorgeous, quiet, off the beaten path, very underutilized resort called Cypress Bend. It is categorized within the Best Western hotel family as one of their premier properties with nightly rates around $125. Very affordable.
Things to do at the resort include an indoor/outdoor pool, a light hiking trail (under 1-mile), golf, and the Cypress Bend State Park, which is just a short drive, south of the hotel.
Cypress Bend State Park has a nominal $2 per day entrance fee but is free for Cypress Bend Hotel guests (just show your room key at the gate). Once inside the park, you will find cabins and golf carts to rent, playgrounds, volleyball nets in the sand, and plenty of beaches to swim and play. You can also bring your boat or jet ski and the Lake has some pretty incredible Bass fishing. The lake itself spans 185,000 acres.
It does appear that they are doing some renovations at the Cypress Bend Resort, especially on the golf course. I would always call before you book to confirm which services are available. The restaurant inside the hotel is closed on Sundays and Mondays so you will need to plan accordingly. Each room does contain a large mini-fridge.
In our household, we have a few general travel rules around food. One is that no matter where we find ourselves, we always have a packed cooler to ensure we are prepared for any destination. Cypress Bend is a little off the beaten path and located in a very small town on the border of Louisiana and Texas. There aren’t too many restaurant options so I would recommend taking the time to pack a cooler for you and your Krewe.
Overall, the resort was just lovely, and I am already pining to return. The views of the lake are breathtaking and quite frankly, we enjoyed a slower pace, being in nature and surrounded by Cypress and Longleaf pine trees draped in Spanish Moss. The sound of the trees blowing in the wind and the waves crashing on the cliffs of the lake were mesmerizing.
Cypress Bend is only a short 4 ½ hour drive Northwest of New Orleans and an alternative to the traditional beach vacation vibe. Hope to see you all there sometime! Have fun and get outside!
Below are some additional resources to help plan your experience:
Toledo Bend Forest Scenic Byway
Sabine River Authority of Louisiana