Neighboring parks add to summer memories

Few things are better in life than getting to go somewhere. 

I’m not even picky as to where – it can be as close as Lake D’arbonne or as far away to be in another time zone – I just love the experience of being somewhere different. 

A few criteria have to be met for a good day trip in our family – it needs to be kid-friendly, picnic-friendly, and have some free or almost free water activities because July is way too hot in Louisiana. And, now that we have added a Corgi to our family, dog friendly is a perk. 

One of my favorite summer day trips is to Jimmie Davis State Park – just a little under an hour away from our lovely Lincoln Parish. The park has a variety of outdoor activities, including nice areas to bike, a swimming area, and a splash pad.  

The first time we went to Jimmie Davis State Park was on a boat – mind you, we don’t have a boat, but we are lucky to have friends who do. The Palmers took us all around the lake, and it was absolutely beautiful. We stopped near the splash pad area and our kids played until sunset. 

Unfortunately, due to the 2019 tornado and then COVID, followed by our dear friends moving to a different state, we didn’t visit the park in the summertime again until last year – and as much as I had missed it, it was just as magical as the first time. 

We packed a large picnic bag filled with all our favorites: strawberries, blueberries, sandwiches (we love a good peanut butter and honey), chips, water and Capri Suns. We took beach towels, goggles, lawn chairs, a change of clothes, our bicycles and sunscreen because my pale little kids burn easily. 

It was a good day – we swam in the morning, rode bikes after our swim, laid in some hammocks to rest, ate at one of the picnic tables at the park, played in the splash pad, and by the time it was early afternoon, we were done. We had been at the park for about four hours, and that was enough to wear two little elementary kiddos – and their mama! — out. 

I don’t remember much about the conversations we had that day or what caused us to laugh. I remember watching the girls huddle in the water together, sharing sister secrets as only sisters can do. I remember my younger daughter wrapping her towel around her like a cape and walking up the beach area. I remember wishing we could stay longer but all of us being so tired and fulfilled from the day and knowing that it was time to go home. 

A good summer day doesn’t take a lot of money, and it often doesn’t take a lot of time. It does take a little preparation, a little extra work, and an acceptance that sweat is just Louisiana glitter. But the rewards – the smiles, the memories, the anticipation of future trips – they are always oh so worth it. 

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