Hiking With Kids: Tickfaw State Park

tickfaw1Tickfaw State Park is a welcome surprise just 40 minutes from the center of Baton Rouge and only 20 minutes if you live closer to Prairieville. Coincidentally, 225 chose Tickfaw as it’s top pick for camping, and I definitely agree.  However, with young children (ages 3 and 1), I will do whatever I can to get everyone sleeping in their own beds for the night.  For our family, Tickfaw State Park is where we go for a day of hiking, exploring, and letting our kids experience nature.  We have been twice now as a family and are already making plans to return again soon.  My 3-year old loves hiking “in the forest” and seeing the river, and we love that a quick drive in the car can get us a day of adventure.

After driving 9 miles off the interstate down a winding, tree-lined road, you reach the entrance to the park.  You are greeted and asked to pay $2 cash per adult and children over the age of 3. Be sure to grab a map here and ask any other questions you may have. Once you enter the park, there are several different areas to explore. Your first stop may be the Nature Center, where you can get an up-close look at snakes and alligator skulls and browse the souvenirs in the gift shop.  If your kids need to get some play in, they have a great playground (open year-round) and a splash park (open in the summer.)  You can drive by the three camping areas on your way to the trail heads, and when you are ready, pick one of the three main hiking trails and start exploring!

Each hiking trail has its own parking area, clean restroom/drink facilities, and a covered pavillion. This is a great place to stop, eat, and potty before venturing on the trails.  Much of the trails are gravel or wooden boardwalk and can easily accommodate a stroller (although we always make our kids walk or ride in a back carrier.)  The trails are easy to navigate and as quick as you make them! The trails loop around and range from 20 mintues to an hour length and even include benches here and there. For younger children new to hiking, I would start with the Gum or Pine trails, which are short and easy.  Older children or those up for more of a walk would enjoy the Bottomland and River trails at the very end of the park. These trails are longer and even venture off into natural, dirt trails. Whichever trail you choose, you are guaranteed beautiful scenery, some small animal/bug sightings, and kids having fun!

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tickfaw2If you’ve never hiked with kids before, believe me YOU CAN! We are not “outdoors experts” by any means.  All you need is a love of nature and some or most of the following items:

  • good, closed-toed shoes with socks ON
  • bug spray (especially in the warmer months)
  • a bag for leaf/pinecone/rock collecting
  • water bottles (you can fill up at the water fountains at each trail head)
  • layered clothes for cooler weather
  • a camera (it is a memorable experience)
  • a change of clothes/shoes in the car (because they will probably get dirty)

To learn more about the park, visit their sites here and here.

Have you been to Tickfaw State Park before? What is your favorite feature of the park?

 

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3 Responses to Hiking With Kids: Tickfaw State Park

  1. Andie November 8, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    So glad to see a fellow park/outdoor lover! I’m the
    “camping” expect at NOMB and we go camping pretty often when we
    can! We haven’t been to Tickfaw for camping yet, but we have wanted
    to try… we are big fans of Fountainebleau! Y’all should
    definitely go there and check it out too, same entrance fee, they
    have 2-3 nature trails, and they have a BEACH and 2 playgrounds and
    sometimes, you can see deer freely wandering. 🙂 But now I am
    curious about Tickfaw and want to go check them out! Thanks for
    sharing!

    • Angela November 8, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      We love Fountainbleu!!

  2. Allison November 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    You have inspired me to add this to my to do list!

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