When you think of visiting Louisiana, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re probably not dreaming of a visit to Cameron. But maybe you should be.
Located on the Gulf, this small town is the closest thing you’ll get to a beach town in this southern state. And while it has been impacted by the hurricanes that passed through it, it’s a town still worthy of your time.
We’ve got your itinerary all planned for your trip to Cameron, LA.
About Cameron, LA
Cameron, LA, consists of just over 200 hardy residents. Located along the Gulf Coast, it’s susceptible to hurricanes. Many have come through this area, recently and in the past.
But this has not stopped the residents or tourists from experiencing this quaint beach community. And being located along the 180-mile long scenic roadway of the Creole Nature Trail, Cameron means it remains a beautiful stop along this drive.
It got its early beginnings in 1870 from its location along the mouth of the Calcasieu River. Cameron, originally named Leesburg, was an important transportation hub. It was the place to get cattle, mail, and other goods shipped to Lake Charles just north of the town.
Situated in Cameron Parish, it’s one of the largest parishes in Louisiana for its landmass. It’s also one of the least populated areas.
Most of the land consists of marshes and waterways making it difficult for human habitation. Because of this, there are many wildlife viewing opportunities both in and around Cameron, including the ever-elusive gators.
Traveler’s Tip: Prepare for your trip to Cameron by reading How to Act Around Alligators: Wrong Answers Only!
Getting to Cameron, LA
You’ll find Cameron, LA, on the Gulf of Mexico, a mere 30 miles from the Texas state line about an hour’s drive south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. There’s no direct route because Cameron is directly south of Calcasieu Lake, but getting here is actually quite simple.
After leaving Lake Charles, La., Hwy 27 will take you all the way into this quaint community. If you happen to be heading here from Texas, you’ll have to find your way across some water.
No worries though, the ferry will get you here. That’s all part of the journey of getting to Cameron, LA.
Things to Do in Cameron, LA
There are always places to explore and things to experience no matter where you visit, and Cameron is no different. But what makes this Louisiana community unique is its coastal southern charm.
Here you can go crabbing, catch glimpses of gators, eat a shrimp po’boy, ride a ferry, and even pay homage to one of the oldest lighthouses in the South. We’ve got five cool things for you to do when visiting Cameron, LA.
1. Go Crabbing at Holly Beach
Address: Cameron, LA (GPS: 29.77, -93.4593)
About: Holly Beach is not your typical tourist attraction style of beach. It is, however, generally quiet, not too crowded, and offers plenty of space to enjoy the shores of the Gulf Coast. The amenities here consist of the sand, the sun, the ocean, and the shells. And, oh, the crabs.
Louisiana’s coastline has a plethora of crabbing opportunities and the best time to capture these delicious creatures is during the hot summer months. You don’t need much to be a crabber. You can use a crab net or even a sturdy string with bait tied to it.
Bait can be almost anything (chicken parts or fish carcasses). And when done crabbing, you can take your catch back to your tent or RV right on the beach because you can camp here, too. Dinner and lodging!
2. Travel the Creole Nature Trail
About: The Creole Nature Trail is 180 miles of scenic roadways that take you along the coast of Louisiana as well as throughout the state. It includes 26 miles of Gulf Beaches, inland marshes, and endless opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Often referred to as “Louisiana’s Outback,” this scenic byway includes the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge and the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. If you’ve ever dreamed of watching gators, the Creole Nature Trail is the place where your dreams could come true.
3. Take the Cameron Ferry
Address: 200 Gulf Beach Hwy, Cameron, LA
About: Because of the many waterways that surround the Cameron area, you may find yourself in need of a ferry. From Cameron, the Cameron Ferry gives you easy access to Holly Beach on the east, taking you across the Calcasieu Ship Channel. It runs about every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, but closes nightly from 12 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. for required maintenance.
Vehicles can’t be longer than 50 ft, and walking passengers are also allowed. The cost is minimal. To ride heading west, it’s $1 per car and 50 cents for walking passengers. There is no cost to ride the ferry eastbound.
If you don’t want to take the ferry but still need to get to the other side, it is a 107-mile drive via I-10. We say take the ferry, even if you don’t have to get to the other side.
If you’ve never experienced one, a ferry ride is a must-do, at least once. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll see dolphins swimming alongside you.
4. Visit the Sabine Pass Lighthouse
Address: 3964 Martin Luther King Jr Dr., Port Arthur, TX (Walter Umphrey State Park for viewing)
About: While you can’t actually pay a direct visit to this historic lighthouse, you can view it from Walter Umphrey State Park. To experience the history that belongs to this lighthouse, even from a distance, is worth the trip.
The Sabine Pass Lighthouse began its working days in 1857 and was lit for 95 years, minus when they temporarily shuttered it during the Civil War. In 1952, the Coast Guard no longer needed it and closed it permanently. This and many other lighthouses became outdated due to technological advances.
The lighthouse has since been abandoned and vandalized over the years but is in the process of restoration by the Cameron Preservation Alliance. There’s hope that this will be a place to visit in the future, and many will pay homage to this historic structure that guided ships safely into harbor for so many years.
5. Catch Dinner at Anchors Up Grill
Address: 465 Marshall St., Cameron, LA
About: Anchors Up Grill is said to be home to the best shrimp po’boy around. You may be drawn in by the thought of this, or it may be the seaside color scheme of sky blue and red and white accents. You’ll be glad you paid a visit here regardless.
Family-owned and operated, this restaurant isn’t your typical restaurant. This is the home of the Kickn’ Shrimp po’boy.
You’ll also find catfish, chicken, fish and chicken baskets, handcrafted burgers, grilled chicken tenders, and crab poppers. Leave your diet at home for this well-loved diner. But be sure to bring your appetite.
Is Cameron, LA, Worth a Visit?
Many people pass through small towns without a glance in their rearview mirror or a thought of regret. If you do this when passing through Cameron, though, you may find yourself thinking you shouldn’t have.
Cameron, LA, is worth your time. Where else can you go crabbing, catch a ferry, see a gator, drive the coastline, eat the world’s best shrimp po’boy, and experience history all within one community? Exactly, nowhere! See you in Cameron!
When will you pay Cameron a visit?
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Holly Beach is west of Cameron, LA.
You left out THE most peaceful free beach camping, Rutherford Beach. The sunsets and the shelling are amazing. Quiet and uncrowded, except for thousands of birds – I pulled in for one night, and stayed a week. Wouldn’t have left then, but I was out of water and there are no amenities besides a few pit toilets. I absolutely fell in love with this place.