There is nothing quite like spending a weekend exploring the outdoors in Ruston and Lincoln Parish. Commonly referred to as “The Piney Hills,” Lincoln Parish offers a wide range of outdoor adventures for those who like biking, camping, fishing, hiking, birding and other recreational activities. When you’re in Ruston, we want you to make the most out of your trip by experiencing the local attractions and culture of Louisiana’s College Town. We’ve created an itinerary of how you can enjoy the outdoors and find out why they call it “The Piney Hills” during your weekend stay.
There is no better way to begin the weekend than in Ruston’s walkable historic downtown. Once you’ve checked into your hotel, make your way downtown where you’ll find unique shops, local restaurants, and several outdoor art installations to discover, including The Bulldog Project. Be sure to take a minute and snap a photo in front of one of the many colorful murals in the district! If you’ve worked up an appetite, walk on over to the Heard Freighthouse Food Park, where you can choose from several local food trucks serving up burgers, sandwiches, barbecue, and other specialty items. The park also features an outdoor dining area with covered picnic tables, which makes for the perfect place to dine on a sunny afternoon.
After lunch, take your pick from several outdoor adventures in the piney hills. You can enjoy an afternoon of biking or water activities at the pristine Lincoln Parish Park, which boasts world-class bike trails, a 1.25-mile walking path around the beautiful lake, a sandy beach, and several fishing piers. If you’re really looking for an adventure, set up camp at one of the park’s primitive or RV campsites for the weekend. If observing nature is more your speed, then grab your binoculars and head to the James Lake Birding Trail, where you can unplug and connect with nature from a peaceful viewing platform overlooking the lake and all its wildlife.
The perfect way to end a fun-packed day is with good food and drinks, of course. Portico’s open-air patio is a perfect dining location year-round, often featuring live music on the weekends. The menu boasts delicious southern staples with a twist, in addition to top-notch wine, beer and specialty drink options. Also be sure to check our calendar of events to see what's happening that weekend.
Kickstart your day with a morning walk on the Rock Island Greenway, a multi-use path that stretches 5 miles across the city. This scenic path is great for a casual walk, run, or bike ride. Along the Greenway, you’ll also find the Ruston Fitness Court on California Ave., perfect for a quick outdoor workout. After your walk, head over to Common Goods Co. for a latte and a homemade pastry.
We recommend returning to downtown to check out the Farmers Market, shop at our local businesses, and grab a bite to eat. If you want to find some gear to rep the Bulldogs, be sure to swing by FanBase for all your official Louisiana Tech merch. For lunch, head to Utility Brewing Co., Ruston’s only microbrewery known for its craft beer and specialty pizzas. They also have delicious salads if you’re looking to keep lunch on the lighter side.
After lunch head over to Hideaway Park and enjoy a relaxing hammock session. If you’re looking for a little more activity, the park also features an 18-hole frisbee golf course and a 7-acre pond for fishing. Once the sun sets, head over to Champs Sports Bar or Sundown Tavern for dinner and drinks. If watching the big game this your thing, we suggest grabbing a table at Champs. If catching up over cocktails on the patio is more your vibe, head over to Sundown.
Though the weekend is coming to a close, there’s no rush to head out of town. Sleep in a bit, then make your way to Trio’s for a delicious Sunday brunch. Their brunch menu features all the classics, in addition to several house specials and brunchy cocktails. If you feel like a little fresh air, enjoy your meal on their breezy patio.
We hope you enjoy your weekend experience in Ruston, complete with a little outdoor adventure. Be sure to come visit again soon!
For more information on any of these attractions, or for other trip ideas, visit www.experienceruston.com.