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Grand Isle State Park, LA

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Grand Isle State Park is located on the Louisiana Gulf Coast about 50 miles south of New Orleans, making it the southern-most state park in the state. Part of the drive south is over a 7-mile long toll bridge that is reminiscent of the drive to Key West, FL. There is a lot more water down this way than solid ground. The town of Grand Isle has two roles: it's a summer destination with lots of cottages, and it is also a major base for support of off-shore drilling operations. Every day helicopters fly over on their way to and from the rigs.

Grand Isle has an interesting history of piracy and privateering. In the late 1600's, pirate Henry Morgan lived here and supposedly hid some of his loot in the area. Later, in the early 1800's, privateer Jean Lafitte and his band of cutthroats had an outpost on Grand Isle. Lafitte also had a role in the War of 1812. The British recruited him to help them seize New Orleans, but Lafitte double-crossed them and joined forces with Gen Andrew Jackson to defend the city.

Date of visit: Feb 2016

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We had debated whether to make the trek down to Grand Isle or not, but finally decided to go for it. We did make a reservation about a week in advance of our visit, but it wasn't really necessary - there were lots of empty sites during our two-week stay. Sites are all quite similar, but in looking at the park map and Google Earth, we noticed that a few sites had some space on one side. We picked one of those, site 40. All the sites here are pull-throughs and those in the front row are designed so the rear of the rig is toward the shore. That's fine for the fifth-wheels with the living space in the rear, but for folks with the living area up front, it's backwards. I asked one of the campground hosts if it would be all right to park the opposite way; he hemmed and hawed a bit and pointed out that the utilities would be on the wrong side, but finally relented.

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So let's take a little tour of the campground. All the sites here are quite similar, so you really can't go wrong in picking one. Here are sites 1-3.

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Sites 4-8. Sites here are all very level -our bubbles were dead center for both sideways and front-to-back. We didn't bother to deploy our levelers.

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Sites 9-13.

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Sites 14-18.

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Sites 20-23.

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Sites  23-25.

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Sites 26-39.

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Sites 30-26.

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Sites 39-31.

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There are ten tent-sites right out on the beach. It can get rather breezy out there so be prepared.

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There are two bathhouses, one at each end of the campground loop. Both provide hot showers and one has a laundry room with free washers and dryers.

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At the east end of the park is an observation tower and a small concession stand (not open in the winter).

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From the observation tower, a walkway extends out to a fishing pier. The area to the left of the pier (eastward) is designated as off-limits, with no explantion as to why. Violators will be prosecuted and removed from the park immediately. Hmmm, wonder if there is buried treasure out there?

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Across the inlet at the east end of Grand Isle are the remains of Fort Livingston on Isle Grande Terre. Built in 1814 as a coastal defense facility, the fort was equipped with 15 guns, including a 32-pounder, an 8-inch columbiad, seven 24-pounders, four 12-pounders, and two howitzers. It was abandoned after a hurricane destroyed most of the structure in 1972.

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An overall view of the campground from the tower.

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The park has about a mile of beach. It is quite hard-packed, making for easy walking and even bike riding, as long as your tires aren't too skinny.

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All along the beach is a series of rock jetties. A group of pelicans was enjoying this one.

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There is a nature trail that makes a loop around the park.

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Unfortunately when we tried to walk it, we encountered some fairly deep water and mud which we could not get around.

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For boaters and fishermen there is a simple boat ramp.

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Our first morning here we were treated to a beautiful sunrise.

Amenities

49 sites:  W/E(20/30/50A) - $28 Apr-Sept, $20 Oct-Mar

10 beach tent sites - $14

Campers from states that honor America the Beautiful passes are entitled to a 50% fee reduction

Showers, Dump Station, Laundry

Free Wi-Fi

VZW 4G Coverage

Coordinates: 29.257889 N, 89.956337 W

Elevation: 5'

grand isle map