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Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail’

Travel Theme: Roads

Posted by Jody on March 3, 2013

Where the rubber meets the sand…

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Long-Dun Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana

Seeing vehicles driving on the sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico is nothing out of the ordinary. Long-Dun Beach in Cameron Parish is a fine example of a rustic beach (no facilities) on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast where beach goers happily drive right onto the sandy shoreline and proceed to pick the perfect parking spot for a day brimming with sun and fun at the beach. These drivable coastlines are treated as byways and standard rules of the road apply.

Long-Dun Beach is a lovely stretch of sand located along the 180 mile long Creole Nature Trail in far southwestern Louisiana. With 26 miles of blissful beachcombing heaven to choose from, the natural beaches of the Creole Nature Trail are perfect for finding driftwood, whelks, oysters, angel wings, and moon snails. With a little luck, you may even find a sea bean or two!

Beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana's Creole Nature Trail

These colorful beach treasures collected along the shores of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.

Enjoy the ride and have a great day at the beach!

This week’s Travel Theme topic is “Roads.”

More about the Creole Nature Trail and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast beaches:

A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail

Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Weekly Photo Challenge: Colors

Posted by Jody on October 1, 2012

The Colors of Long Beach, Louisiana

These are the colors of Long Beach, Louisiana.

Here, there aren’t any flashy neon signs, kitschy souvenir shops, or colorful boardwalk amusements. The beaches of Cameron Parish in the extreme southwestern corner of Louisiana are sparsely populated, undeveloped stretches of sand, surf and sun.  The few folks we did see on Long Beach came well prepared with all of the provisions they needed to spend the day, including their own rainbow colored sun shade.

Long Beach is on the Gulf Of Mexico just east of the Texas/Louisiana boarder (LA Hwy 82).  It’s one of the many easily accessible sandy strands along the 180 mile stretch of bayous, marshlands and beaches known as the Creole Nature Trail National Scenic Byway.

Special thanks to ThirdEyeMom for this week’s first Weekly Photo Challenge theme!  After waiting days for WordPress to come out with this week’s Photo Challenge, she took the initiative and came up with her own theme. Thanks, “Mom!”

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Waves and Welcomes at Mae’s Beach, Louisiana

Posted by E.G.D. on September 7, 2012

Mae’s Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana Gulf Coast

Once upon a time, it had never occurred to me that Louisiana had beaches.  Isn’t that silly?  The entire southern border of Louisiana is the Gulf of Mexico, for Pete’s sake!  Still, when I thought of Louisiana, what popped into my head was invariably the Mississippi, chicory coffee, beignes, creole music, Cajun food, river boats… really, the beach never even entered the equation in my head, unless it was some silty river landing.

Mae’s Beach Shells (Photo: E.G.D.)

Things have changed.  I don’t think I will ever be able to think of Louisiana without thinking of beaches again, and this is a completely good thing.  Earlier this summer, Jody (Mom) and I hopped in my car and road tripped from Houston to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and I have rarely had a more entirely pleasant experience in all my days.  The beaches were clean, the people on the beaches were courteous and friendly, and the shelling was some of the best I have seen anywhere in the world.  I am a very well traveled sort of person, and I have visited a good many beaches, but the shells I picked up in Louisiana are really and truly some of the most unique of pattern and color of any in my collection.

The very first beach we found after crossing the border from Texas into Louisiana was Mae’s Beach, and we were not even sure it would be a real beach (as opposed to a community with a misleading name).

This way to the beach!

We held a car-to-car window conversation with a patrolling officer in a sheriff’s office vehicle just off to the side of the highway, and he confirmed that it was, in fact, a beach that was, in fact, just a short way down the road behind him.  What a gem of a find!  What a complete surprise!  We had never heard of Mae’s Beach or seen it on a map prior to our stumbling upon it as the first in a quite long string of little beaches, and in my opinion, it was the best in the lot.

Jody’s Beach Treasures from Mae’s Beach

Now, this perfectly wonderful little beach is unaccountably a bit lost in internet obscurity.  I did not manage to find an official website for it, but I did finally find it on a proper map when I was doing research for my article on the Creole Nature Trail.  It was on the shelling guide brochure!  We were there at a high-ish tide, and most of what we found were either pieces, eastern oyster shells, and ark shells (I identified those using the above-linked shelling guide).  Even in less than ideal shelling conditions, though, the shells were abundant and delight-inspiringly lovely.  Also, on Mae’s Beach we met a group of friendly Louisianans who knew the area and who were happy to share advice and show of their day’s shelling finds.  Their fondness for their bit of coast was apparent and contagious, and I personally thought that Louisiana’s pride in and love of its beaches was equally apparent from Mae’s Beach’s singular lack of litter.  The beach was clean in a very beachy sort of way, meaning that the clumps of seaweed and bits of dead plant-life were left alone to perpetuate the coastal eco-system, but we saw no signs of broken bottles, chip wrappers, or beer cans.

Mae’s Beach, Cameron Parish, Louisiana Gulf Coast

The only thing about Mae’s Beach that might be considered a down-side was that it lacked facilities (e.g. bathrooms, showers, lifeguards, etc.).  Frankly, that’s also what made it the perfect beach.  I doubt you will ever find it over-crowded.  I would recommend Mae’s Beach to absolutely every beach lover in the world, and I guarantee it will not disappoint.

Fun and interesting patterns on Mae’s Beach shells. Doesn’t that one on the right look like a crimped-edge dumpling? (Photo: E.G.D.)

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Friday Finds, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail

Posted by E.G.D. on August 8, 2012

Long Beach, Louisiana Gulf Coast – Creole Nature Trail

Recently, my mom (Jody) and I spent a weekend enjoying the gulf coast along the Texas/Louisiana border.  We spent nearly a whole day in southern Louisiana enjoying the “Cajun Riviera,” and one of our most amazing and delightful discoveries was that much of the “Cajun Riviera” coast is part of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail.  According to the official website, “Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a hands-on opportunity to experience one of America’s untamed natural wonders,” and we certainly found that to be the case.  We spotted a good many shorebirds, hermit crabs, and wildflowers along the nature trail’s 26 miles of natural beaches, and while we were at it, we had a spectacular time shelling!  More on that in future posts (we’re slated to do articles on Mae’s Beach and Holly Beach, if not more!), but while we’re on the topic of the nature trail, I would like to point out that there’s a downloadable beachcombing guide on the website because the nature trail’s beaches, “located west of the Mississippi Delta… are constantly replenished by the ‘muddy river’s’ southeast tidal flow which carries rich deposits of driftwood and a wide variety of shells including whelks, cockles, angelwings, cateyes, olives, wentletraps, coquinas and periwinkles” as well as sea beans, though Jody and I weren’t lucky enough to find any sea beans or driftwood on this particular trip.

Beachcombing along Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail (Holly Beach)

Back to the wildlife, though (this is Wild Wednesday, after all), the Creole Nature Trail is one of the Top 10 Birding Destinations in the country.”  There is a southwest Louisiana birding guide available on the website that includes the quote “the gulf beaches themselves are extensive, and vary in composition from sand to shell fragments, to mud. Here, common nesters include Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, and Least Tern. Rarities have included Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, California Gull, Thayer’s Gull,  Black-legged Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Smith’s Longspur, and Yellow-nosed Albatross, to mention a few.”  What a wealth of awesome birds to spot, and what a great reference material to have available free to all online!  If you are at all interested in birding and think you might someday be in southern Louisiana, you really should go check it out.

Wildflowers of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast

Finally, the Creole Nature Trail passes through terrain rich in bright, fragrant wildflowers that are far more than “just pretty faces.” Able to thrive with intense heat, the Creole Nature Trail’s wildflower population plays an active role in the ecosystem.” 

I could not find any Louisiana wildflower guides specific to the Gulf of Mexico coast, but if you visit the Creole Nature Trail, I absolutely guarantee you will spot wildflowers, and when that happens, you can attempt to identify them using the Louisiana page of USWildflowers.com, if you’re the type to be curious about flower names.

Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana Gulf Coast

And there you have it!  I personally give the Gulf coast section of the Creole Nature Trail five out of five stars for natural beauty and educational opportunity, and if you keep your eye on our future posts, we’ll give you a full report about its beachcombing opportunities, friendly locals, and soft sands.  Suffice it to say, we are duly impressed.

Happy beach-going -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Beach Flora, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

 
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