Louisiana's Other Side is an interesting mix of modern convenience and natural beauty, so you get a chance to enjoy outdoor fun without having to stray too far. Louisiana is a sportsman's paradise, and Shreveport-Bossier City is the hub of exciting outdoor adventures. Our convenient location straddling the Red River means water sports are plentiful during warm months, while Cross Lake offers a postcard-perfect vision of romance, fun, and relaxation for an afternoon on its shores.
The Gifts of River Living...
Louisiana is known as the Sportsman's Paradise. Nowhere else does that hold more true than along the Red River. Thirty-one recreational sites are planned from Shreveport to the Mississippi, offering areas for camping, nature and hiking trails, biking, picnicking, boating and fishing.
Hundreds of pleasure boaters enjoy the waters of the Red River made accessible by the navigation project. Pleasure craft can be "locked through" to the different pools, free of charge.
At every state of the construction of the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway project, water quality, erosion prevention and wildlife were of foremost concern. The result is truly a paradise for sportsmen of all interests.
What's new on the Red River for boat lovers?
A $7.5 million, 56.47 acre resort is Shreveport's latest addition to the exciting Red River boating scene and boat owners are thrilled about this new development where gas tanks can be filled from 50-ft. long hoses 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and quickly charged to credit cards. The Red River South Marina and Resort has space to dock 60 boats at the main docks and 20 more boats along the retaining wall. Boat launches are capable of lowering 4 boats simultaneously into the water and the resort also contains 12 fully-equipped RV parking areas and 10 cabins that can accommodate up to 4 guests. Ski boat and party boat rentals are available from Reeves Marine in conjunction with Red River South Marina. Boat registration applications may be obtained from most boat dealerships or directly from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The contact phone number for Boat Registrations is (225) 765-2898.
Cross Lake is one of the largest lakes in northwestern Louisiana and it provides the water supply for the City of Shreveport. Because of its critically important function, Cross Lake is owned by the City and its use is subject to many city ordinances and regulations in order to protect the water and its surrounding environment including the alligators, waterfowl, and the entire ecosystem of supporting wildlife. Moss covered cypress trees interspersed with boat docks line the banks of this beautiful 8,575 acre lake where fishing and boating are the most popular sports. Largemouth bass, bream, white perch, and catfish are the main attractions for anglers who can also find bluegill and red ear sunfish. Because of Cross Lake's large size, sailing, motor boating, and water skiing is allowed provided that boats obtain permits from the Cross Lake Patrol Office on South Lakeshore Drive.
Cross Lake is one of the best places for sailing in northwest Louisiana
Cross Lake is relatively shallow with an average depth of about 10 ft. and winds are often light and steady so it is ideal for small sailboats. Waterskiing, swimming, and surf-sailing are allowed between the hours of sunrise and sunset, and swimming is allowed within 30 ft. of a pier, boat or boathouse. The Shreveport Yacht Club located at 2905 Municipal Pier Rd. on the banks of Cross Lake provides sailing education classes and conducts a special Summer Youth Sailing Camp for children. There are many locations from which boats can be launched but the most popular one is the city owned ramp on South Lakeshore Drive because no boat ramp fee is charged there. The Municipal Pier and Boat Launch is another public boat launching facility located at 2900 Municipal Pier Road. Cross Lake also has two public park areas.
One of the reasons northwest Louisiana is known as the Sportsman's Paradise is that the region's rivers, bayous, streams and lakes are teeming with fish. One of the reasons such an abundant resource exists for people's enjoyment is the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' proactive program for keeping Louisiana's waters stocked with fish while controlling the total amount harvested.
Whether the purpose of fishing is recreational or commercial, all anglers must be licensed and knowledgeable about catch limits. Recreational fishing licenses may be purchased at retail stores, from the parish Sheriff's Office, online, or by telephone from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase and they all expire on June 30 each year.
What are the best fishing spots in the Shreveport-Bossier City area?
The locals know where the best spots for fishing are and a good fishing guide can provide a lot of helpful information in addition to supplying the boat and all the fishing gear. Fishing guides usually know the best local fishing areas better than anybody else as a result of being familiar with the area longer than anybody else and they can be found by searching on the Internet, asking in bait shops and at boat rental facilities, or by contacting the many fishing clubs in the region and attending fishing tournaments. Generally, the Red River with its many branching bayous and streams is always great place to catch river bass, bream, perch, crappie and catfish. Cross Lake is known for producing largemouth bass over 7 lbs. in size as well as red ear sunfish and bluefish. Caddo Lake is another great location for catching bass and Lake Bistineau is renowned for being one of the best places in Louisiana for catching crappie in addition to largemouth bass, yellow bass, channel and flathead catfish, bullheads and bluegill.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries can be reached by toll-free phone number at (888) 765-2602 or in Shreveport-Bossier City/Minden at (318) 371-3050. Information about fishing licenses and other regulations can be found online at www.wlf.state.la.us .
HuntingThe population of whitetail deer is so large in northwest Louisiana that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries issues hunting permits to maintain the deer at manageable levels in order to protect them and the environment. Managed deer hunts are conduced periodically on the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' 1.4 million acres of managed wildlife land and this is one reason why hunting for deer, turkeys, quail and rabbits requires a hunting license. People who hunt migratory game birds like mourning doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, rails, snipe, coots or gallinules in Louisiana must also be certified under Louisiana's Harvest Information Program in addition to being licensed so that the state can develop better harvest estimates, season dates and regulations.
Opportunities for hunting abound all around Shreveport-Bossier City
Hunting for wild ducks in northwest Louisiana can be very productive because Louisiana is located in the center of the Mississippi Flyway and large flocks of wild ducks migrate to the region each year to feed, breed and rest from November through February. Louisiana is the second most popular state in America for duck hunting. The 4,211-acre Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area near Shreveport is known to be an excellent location for hunting whitetail deer and elk, and the Kisatchie Forest overflows with deer and quail during the hunting season. In July 2008, the Shreveport Convention Center hosted an enormously successful Hunter's Expo at which more than 90 manufacturers and retailers of hunting equipment demonstrated their products and services to approximately 15,000 attendees. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about responsible hunting, to see many new accessories designed for hunters and to network with other people who are interested in hunting. Undoubtedly the Expo will be held again and again because so many people in the area enjoy hunting.
The City of Shreveport's Public Assembly & Recreation Department (SPAR) is responsible maintaining approximately 5,000 acres of public land in more than 50 parks throughout the city. The largest of these is C. Bickham Dickson Park with 585 acres of verdantly forested parkland adjacent to Old River Lake at 2283 Bert Kouns in southeast Shreveport. C. Bickham Dickson Park has trails for walking and horseback riding, a boat launch, a fishing dock and a beautiful picnic area. One of Shreveport's most popular parks is Ford Park located at 5784 S. Lakeshore Drive near the Municipal Pier and Boat Launch on Cross Lake. Ford Park has two baseball fields, two children's playgrounds and a fishing pier.
Some other notable parks in Shreveport:
- A.C. Steere Park features universal playground modules that were designed to accommodate mentally and physically challenged children. Located at 4009 Youree Drive, the park also contains two lighted baseball fields, two tennis courts, a children's playground and a picnic area.
- Cargill Park at 7700 Lotus Lane has 10 baseball fields, 13 soccer fields, a Bicycle Motocross track, a children's playground area, a picnic area and a covered area for public gatherings. As one of Shreveport's largest sports complexes, Cargill Park often hosts sports tournaments featuring various leagues from all over America.
- Municipal Plaza Park at Milam Street and Douglas Streets adjacent to Shreveport's historic Municipal Auditorium features a multicultural showcase garden with displays reflecting the cultures of India, Africa, China, Japan, and other countries in the Far East.
American Rose Center
The American Rose Center in Shreveport is the regional headquarters for the American Rose Society, a national non-profit organization that is exclusively devoted to the cultivation and enjoyment of roses. Founded in 1892, the American Rose Society has almost 400 local chapters with a total of over 15,000 members. The Society's members in Shreveport are proud of their Center that contains more than 20,000 rose bushes representing about 400 varieties of classic roses and modern variations. The American Rose Center's 118 acres of land are beautifully landscaped with babbling brooks and winding paths through 60 different gorgeous rose gardens expressing many different themes. What's new at the American Rose Center is the “What's New” garden featuring America's most recent varieties of roses, the All-America Rose Selections garden, which showcases nationally tested, award-winning roses, a Miniature Rose garden and Single Petaled Roses garden.
The American Rose Center is located at 8877 Jefferson Paige Rd just off Route I-20 a few miles west of Shreveport, and their contact phone number is (318) 938-8051.
R.W. Norton Art Gallery and Azalea Gardens
Azaleas are so beautiful and varied in color that they are often called the royalty of the garden, and one of the most beautiful azalea gardens in America can be found at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery is renowned for its collection of American and European paintings, sculptures and decorative arts, and the Gallery's 40 acres of land also include azalea gardens containing more than 15,000 plants. At the beginning of April each year, the azaleas blossom into a rainbow of colors including red, yellow, orange, pink, purple, white, and multi-colored varieties. The Gallery's landscaping also includes a wide variety of other native flowers such as ginger lilies, irises, canna lilies, coneflowers and black-eyed Susans. Winding pathways lead visitors through the grounds over a small bridge that crosses a little stream to a quiet pond with benches for resting and observation. Throughout the gardens, outdoor sculptures have been artistically placed for people's enjoyment and near the bottom of the pathway a large arched bridge provides a lovely view of a group of waterfalls and streams flowing together. The Gallery and its azalea gardens are open to the public all year round and they attract thousands of visitors each year.
The R.W. Norton Art Gallery is located at 4747 Creswell Avenue, and their contact phone number is (318)-865-4201.
Barnwell Garden and Arts CenterLocated along the banks of the scenic Red River, the mission of the R.S. Barnwell Memorial Garden & Art Center is to advance cultural activities in the City of Shreveport. The Center was named after one of Louisiana's oil magnates named R.S. "Cap" Barnwell and half of its original 1970 construction cost was donated by the Barnwell family. The Center is owned and operated by the City of Shreveport.
What's happening at the R.S. Barnwell Memorial Garden & Art Center
The main attraction at the Barnwell Garden and Art Center is a 7,850 sq. ft. plexiglass domed botanical conservatory in which palm trees, flowering shrubs, bromeliads and many other unusual tropical plants are showcased. One of the more important purposes of the Center is gardening education. Guest speakers and gardening experts are often invited to give public lectures as part of the Friends of the Barnwell Horticulture Speaker Series from September through May. Art workshops are also periodically conducted in the facility's north wing.
At the south end of the Center is a very unusual garden created especially for visually impaired people. The Fragrance Garden contains a variety of plants that can be identified by smell and touch. The Riverside Park Waterfall is another unusual structure containing a large viewing area from which people can relax and listen to the peaceful sound of water falling while enjoying a panoramic view of the Red River and downtown Shreveport. The store at the Barnwell Garden and Art Center features unique contemporary crafts produced by Louisiana artists and it is one of only three Louisiana Craft Guild galleries in the state.
The R.S. Barnwell Memorial Garden & Art Center is located at 601 Clyde Fant Parkway, and their contact phone number is (318) 673-7703.