If you are looking for a place to swim other than your neighbor’s pool, there’s a really nice just north of Lafayette. There was once a time, a long time ago, that I thought there was nowhere to go swimming in Lousiana. I thought the only place to place to relax in the sun was a swamp or crawfish pond. Both places are not very inviting since both are known to be snake-infested with the possibility of an alligator lurking. This is Louisiana, the bayou state, the state that borders the Gulf of Mexico. We have more water than most states. But in fact, there is a place to swim and fish that is clean, fresh, and beautiful. Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is about a three-hour drive from Lafayette, Louisiana. Although, someone recently told me it should be only a 2 and half hour drive from Lafayette. So apparently, I have been taking the scenic route. Toledo Bend is freshwater paradise. Surrounded by trees just north of Leesville, it is, in my opinion, one of the most relaxing places to visit. Cell phone service is limited, and there’s always a gentle breeze.
Most of the time people visit Toledo Bend to go fishing. But I like to go there to unwind. I kayak, swim and just take in the fresh air. We go to a campground just off of Army Rec Road and stay in a Yurt. A yurt is a dome structure that is similar to a tent except it has air conditioning, a refrigerator, bunk beds, and a microwave. This campground has a sandy beach. The water feels clean. We barbecue and fry the fish we catch. It seriously is paradise in the deep south. And even though, Wikipedia has stated that Toledo Bend has alligators, I have never seen one. So I pretend that there no alligators living in the waters when I go swimming.
Toledo Bend is huge. It is 1,200 miles of shoreline between Texas and Louisiana, making it the largest man-made lake in the south. According to ToledoBendLakeCountry.com, Toledo Bend has been named the number one Bass Lake in the Nation by Bassmaster Magazine for two years in a row. This site also states that the Toledo Bend area was once known as “No Man’s Land” because of the fights and small battles between outlaws. In the 1950s, groups from Texas and Louisiana worked together to create the reservoir to use as a water supply and for hydroelectric power. The cost of the project was shared between the two states costing around $70 million and was successfully completed with the help of the federal government.
So, if you are limited on vacation days but need to recharge in the outdoors, Toledo Bend is just down the road.