Louisiana State Park Road Trip Planning

Louisiana State Parks: 21 reasons to love the Bayou State

Louisiana State Park RoadtripI was scrolling through emails one hot and steamy June 2018 afternoon. You know how it is, thumbing through endless email subject lines that you have no idea came to be in your inbox. (Side note: When did I sign up for so many food and animal rescue email subscriptions?) I landed on an email that I actually open and enjoy each time that I receive it. The LouisianaTravel.com Ambassadors: Bayou Krewe Newsletter is fun to read about what’s going on in Louisiana from other people who love the state as much as I do. In this particular email, there was a “June Challenge” which suggested making a quick road trip or an entire weekend camping with friends at any one of the 21 State Parks. “21 State Parks? Hmmm . . . I want to see them all!” was the thought that went through my head that Friday evening. Louisiana State Park Road Trip PlanningSo, I went to my desk and started plotting out my “21 State Park, One-weekend Road-trip” that I thought I was planning to take in a few weeks. 29 hours and 32 minutes were all I needed to cover the 1456 miles. I went to bed thinking that I may wake up in the morning to start my adventure. That’s exactly what I did.

Starting out Saturday morning, my plan was to hit every State Park in Louisiana by Sunday evening. It was mid-afternoon on Saturday when I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, I decided to see what I could and start again the next weekend. Here¬† are the 21 reasons to love the Bayou State of Louisiana, in the order for which I visited:

Reason #1: North Toledo Bend State Park

Reason #2: South Toledo Bend State Park

Reason #3: Sam Houston Jones State Park

Reason #4: Palmetto Island State Park

Reason #5: Cypermore Point State Park

Reason #6: Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

Reason #7: Grand Isle State Park

Reason #8: Bayou Segnette State Park

Reason #9: St. Bernard State Park

Reason #10: Fountainebleau State Park

Reason #11: Fairview-Riverside State Park

Reason #12: Bogue Chitto State Park

Reason #13: Tickfaw State Park

Tickfaw State Park

Reason #14: Chicot State Park

Reason #15: Lake Bistineau State Park

Reason #16: Jimmie Davis State Park

Reason #17: Lake Bruin State Park

Reason #18: Poverty Point Reservoir State Park

Reason #19: Chemin-A-Haut State Park

Reason #20:¬†Lake D’arbonne State Park

Reason #21: Lake Claiborne State Park

I’ve had many people ask me which was my favorite, and honestly, I can not pick a favorite. I was so stunned by the beauty of each and every park. The care that has been taken to keep our State Parks in good shape was surprising to me. The other reason that I can’t pick a favorite is that two-weekend road trips are not near enough time to find the real gems in the pack. I’m making it a priority to go back and spend more time at each park.

Robin Williams - member of the Bayou KreweIf you are looking for a quick road trip, visiting a Louisiana State Park is an inexpensive way to go. Entry fee is only $3 per person. Camping fees vary in ranges, so make sure you check out the website for each park.¬†When you go, here’s what to remember:

  • Bring fishing gear
  • Pack a Lunch
  • Wear appropriate shoes
  • Sunblock!
  • Create a travel journal to make notes & add photos (paper or electronic)
  • Tag your visits on social media using #OnlyLouisiana and #BayouKrewe (sign up to be a Bayou Krewe Ambassador)

Thank you for visiting Louisiana State Parks

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams

#Eat318 – 318 Restaurant Week Begins Tuesday, March 13 in Shreveport-Bossier

318 Restaurant Week318 Restaurant Week is upon us and I can’t wait to see my social media feeds fill up with delicious foodstuff. Tejas Kitchen Bar Patio in Shreveport helped kick off the week long event with a media preview. I was lucky enough to attend.

If you’re like me, I love to try new restaurants and find out which are sourcing food from local farms. This week gives a chance to try something new with affordable specials that make it a bit easier on the pocketbook.

Menu listings More than 35 local restaurants have cooked up lunch and dinner specials for 318 Restaurant Week. My advice is to preview the list and make a game plan of your “must do” events. Many evening dinner specials are almost sold-out, so if you want to attend, stop reading this and go make your reservation.

Thanks so much to the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and all of the spectacular sponsors who made this week possible. I don’t want to hear anyone say there’s nothing to do in SB!

Chris Jay

Let me know what you intend to try and tell me how it turns out for ya! Oh, hey, don’t forget to follow the 318 Restaurant Week Facebook Page.

That Just Happened!!

Robin Williams

How to find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier (and a Giveaway)

FullSizeRender-1Do you have something that makes you cringe when you hear it? Something that drives you to roll your eyes and stomp your feet? I sure do. When I hear the phrase “there’s nothing to do in Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana” I have to restrain myself from completely wigging out. You see, when I first moved to Shreveport-Bossier, I will admit that I said it myself. I moved here from South Louisiana and I really just wanted to go home. For many years, I went to work and then headed straight to my house. On occasion, I looked to the arts and entertainment section of the newspaper to find things that might be of interest to my family. I didn’t know many people that could help connect me to the community, so I just stayed home. That was then. And now, I subscribe to the thought that there are things to do wherever you may be.

Somewhere along the way I found out that if I wanted to be connected to a community, I first needed to leave my house, and secondly, I had to put some effort in on my¬†part. I¬†kind of had to be a researcher in my own life. I started, uncomfortably and awkwardly, attending events. I visited tourist welcome centers to find attractions located¬†in Shreveport-Bossier. I scoured the newspapers to find events. I asked people what was going on in town. As the internet became more ingrained in my¬†life, Googling and Facebook events became the go-to places for my inspiration. These are all fantastic ways to get information, and I will maintain that flow, but my favorite way to get the SB scoop is through the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s (SBCTB) newly redesigned website Shreveport-Bossier.org. Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 3.36.00 PMThis website has been around for a while and was already one of my go-to sites, and in particular, the SB Fun Guide link that holds the events page. Today the SBCTB unveiled a redesign of the website with a celebratory launch party at Great Raft Brewing.¬†SBCTB President Stacy Brown gave an introduction to area partners and shared some of the new features of the website.¬†With the redesign, there is so much inspiration and a resource for both locals and tourism visitors. What you will find out is that Shreveport-Bossier has more to do than you can even imagine.

What can you expect to find on the site?  Maps, brochures, photo and video galleries, trip advisor and social media integration, geo-triggers for coupons and events, and itinerary planning:

  • CASINOS – gaming, night life and horse racing
  • THINGS TO DO¬†– Attractions, shopping, family fun, sports, nightlife, group experiences and outdoor recreation. Be sure to click on the Attractions Link to see the multitude of experiences such as performing arts, museums, art galleries and historic places. There is also a great link for free offerings!
  • EVENTS – Festivals, music and annual events – <<<< This is one of my favorite parts of the site because it hosts the SB FUN GUIDE, which is the event driven piece
  • RESTAURANTS – food and drinks!
  • HOTELS – where to stay
  • MY TRIP – a personal trip planner to build an itinerary for a visit to the big SB

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 10.06.05 AMIn my job at Holiday Lanes, I have¬†become active in the SB Attractions Association and am currently serving as president of the association. One of my personal goals is to share local event information with as many people as possible in the community. First,¬†I’m asking¬†my attraction/hotel/restaurant/travel industry colleagues to BE AWARE¬†that you¬†can UPDATE¬†your¬†venues on the newly designed site; and ADD¬†events to the SB Fun Guide. For the event driven page to be successful, it will take input from those who are planning, marketing or hosting local events. The SB Fun Guide is also undergoing redesign and will hopefully be launched next week (Feb 2016). Secondarily, I want this site to be¬†top-of-mind for locals and visitors when looking for inspiration for things to do in Shreveport-Bossier. ¬†Chris Jay, social media and public relations manager of the SBCTB, says¬†that he is super excited that the new site will allow easy and quick uploading of featured events which will¬†showcase partners, whether they are festivals, restaurants or attractions. Ideally, a venue would like to promote for several weeks, or months, prior to an event, but being able to make changes in a matter of minutes will be transformative for local tourism partners who might find themselves in need of a last-minute promotional boost.

So . . . how do you find inspiration in Shreveport-Bossier?

And, how do you WIN A GIVEAWAY?

One lucky That Just Happened blog reader will receive Bowling for Six people from Holiday Lanes. Simply go to Shreveport-Bossier.org, find the attractions link and locate the Holiday Lanes link on the site. Paste the Holiday Lanes Attraction page link in the comments section below AND THEN tell me which part of the Shreveport-Bossier.org website gave you a bit of inspiration. Winner will be announced on February 17, 2016.

Panderina Soumas and David Doe, local ambassadors and SB visitor guide cover models share a smile at the website Launch Party.

Other ways to connect with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau:

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

 

2/17/16 – CONGRATS Bill McGill – you are the winner of a bowling certificate for six to Holiday Lanes!

 

It really takes a community

People tell me every day that I seem to have such a fun life and then they ask how I know what’s going on in the Shreveport-Bossier community. Most of the time, I rattle off how I heard about particular events. One of the things that annoys me most is when people say that there is nothing to do in our locale. It is so NOT true. Sometimes my calendar has so many events that I have to cull my choices. I thought it might be fun to make a list of the people and organizations who contribute community event information to my life each day.

BCC new logoBossier Chamber of Commerce – I have been a diplomat for the Bossier Chamber for 5 years. This year I decided to take some time off in an official capacity, but I still make an effort to be at the events. The Bossier Chamber is probably my best resource for networking. I find the info to attend on their website calendars:

facebookFacebook Events – I hear people say they hate getting all of the event invites on Facebook. Not me! I rejoice in them, because behind each one is a person that created the event with hopes for even one “going” response. This is my main resource for finding out information about events in our community. Of course, from time to time, there are events that I’m not interested in attending, but I still look at them and value them as a contribution of knowledge in my life. I link my Facebook events with my iCal and Google calendars so that I don’t miss an opportunity. ALSO, I invite people to those events and share, share, share!

IMG_9723Jada Durden – Recently Jada was named my true soul mate by Captain Quizz, so you know it must be true. Jada has a very similar vision as mine and has made a huge impact in contributing to my life. She is in the know when it comes to the events, restaurants and attractions that are appealing. Jada writes the Loving This Life blog and has been honored by Louisiana Travel as a top 11 blogs to follow in Louisiana. She also writes for the Shreveport Times, has her own videographer and more plans in the works for sharing.  Her contribution is enormous and you should be following her every move.

IMG_7664Chris Jay and Sara Hebert – This dynamic duo = THE cool kids in town. Chris knows lots, and even more about food. Sara is who I strive to be, even though I’m sure she is 20 years younger. I follow both on social media just to pick up any nuggets they might be chucking, especially the events that they share. They know about music, food, events and even weird stuff that you didn’t think you needed to know. I’ll let you figure out those on your own. Oh, and they dress really cool. I want to rip off their style, yet I’m afraid I’m too old to pull it off. Together Sara and Chris produce the All Y’all Blog, Live Storytelling Events and Podcasts. Sara is the marketing genius at Moonbot Studios and Chris is the extra hard working Public Relations and Social Media Manager for the Shreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and writes the 20×49 Blog (listed next).  I hear that Chris writes for six magazines. Ask him about it.

19120_10153133965946328_887482314413511101_nShreveport- Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau (SBCTB) – I serve on the Attractions Association Board with the SBCTB and get lots of info just by hanging around those folks. On days when I can’t think of anything to do, I check out the SB Fun Guide and 20×49 blog:

1507837_10201883458861266_1240861387_nRobert Trudeau – Robert is one of those people who you just want to stand close to in hopes that his creativity will waft over to you. If I’m looking for info about music, art, or community, Robert is the one I look to. Robert is the editor of the Shreveport Blog and I look to him for my cultural arts fill. His wife Talbot is a fabulous artist and they make a great team.

Shreveport Chamber of Commerce – As with the Bossier Chamber, the Shreveport Chamber has many opportunities to connect with others in our community.

These are just a few of the info powerhouses that I look to for my pulse on the community. I wanted to add paragraphs to acknowledge the likes of:

but we would be here for quite a while. It really takes a community to know your community. I guess what I’m saying is . . . get to know those who know.

That just happened.
Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

National Travel and Tourism Week cometh

One of my pet peeves is when people in Shreveport-Bossier say there’s nothing to do. If you believe that statement then listen up. There’s stuff to do!

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau¬†(SBCTB) will be celebrating national travel and tourism week from May 2-10, 2015. This is an opportunity to share all the good stuff going on in Shreveport-Bossier. Part of the celebration will be the annual P.R.I.D.E. awards to be held on May 7 and will celebrate the outstanding tourism employees in our area. As a previous P.R.I.D.E award recipient, I can tell you that it’s an honor to be recognized for efforts in the tourism industry.

The SBCTB is a great resource for not only visitors to our community, but to our local citizens. Have you visited any of the welcome centers? I encourage you to stop by one soon. I promise you will learn something that you didn’t know before about our area. I find something new every time I stop in. I think it’s fun to be a tourist in my own town.¬†

Today I was fortunate enough to be included as a representative of Holiday Lanes in an interview that KTAL will be airing on Wednesday, May 6. I shared the camera with Stacy Brown, the president of SBCTB, and Fred Moss of the Let the Good Times Roll Festival. The festival will be held on June 19-21, 2015. You should check it out.

I serve as a board member on the Attractions Association and I can tell you that the resources available to local businesses, such as Holiday Lanes, is extremely beneficial. This SBCTB is absolutely wonderful at encouraging and celebrating Shreveport-Bossier as a tourism destination and local fun hot spot.

The message that I want to pass along to you is that whether you live in Shreveport-Bossier, or are a visitor to our community, there is tons to do. To find out more about the awesome events, festivals, hotels and attractions in our community go to the Shreveport Bossier Fun Guide which lists lots of the fun that you can have. Celebrate the upcoming National Travel and Tourism week by being a tourist in Shreveport-Bossier!

That just happened,

Robin Williams,

Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes