Exploring Historic Denham Springs and Livingston Parish

Livingston Parish is filled with things to do, places to see, and a treasure trove of Southern Louisiana charm and culture

Shortly after settling into Lakeside RV Park we oriented ourselves to the area (Livingston Parish) with a day trip to Denham Springs. Livingston Parish is located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Lakeside RV Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Easy-on, easy-off (I-12; Exit 22), Lakeside RV Park is big-rig friendly with back-in and pull-through sites. Our back-in site is in the 55-60 foot range with 50/30-amp electric service, water, and sewer centrally located. No cable TV. Wi-Fi worked well from our site; no problem locating satellite. All interior roads and sites are concrete. Site amenities include picnic table and fire pit.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Denham Springs is located just a few miles east of Baton Rouge and is easily accessible via I-12 (Exit 10). At Denham Springs we wandered the Historic Downtown/Antiques Village and stopped at Mr. McDavid’s Specialty Meats to purchase pork boudin and smoked boudin.

Mineral Springs near the Amite River about one-half mile west of the present historic downtown drew settlers to the area. The springs attracted visitors who came to bathe in the reportedly-therapeutic mineral waters, and a resort developed around them.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The settlement was known at different times as Benton’s Ferry, Amite Springs, Hill’s Springs, and lastly, Denham Springs. The name came from William Denham, a Mississippi native who moved to the area and married Mercy Houge, daughter of Alexander Houge, one of the two original landholders.

By the 1960s-70s, commerce stagnated and businesses closed. Denham Springs became a bedroom community as many residents commuted to Baton Rouge to work and shop. Downtown buildings were shuttered for many years until the 1980s when first one and then another and then more antique stores and other shops opened for business. Today the downtown is a designated Main Street Community and is known throughout the South for its antiques, arts, and specialty shopping.

Denham Springs City Hall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our first stop on the walking tour was the Old City Hall in the heart of the downtown historic district. This historic building currently houses the Welcome Center, a small museum, and serves as a civic gathering place. This stately building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1940, this building is constructed of poured concrete and includes two stories and a basement—a unique feature in this part of the country.

Driggers Park mural, Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Benches in Driggers Park, a small “pocket” park in the heart of the historic downtown district, allow visitors to rest a few minutes as they explore and shop the Antiques Village. We took time to admire the beautiful mural painting of the historic Springs Hotel and the mineral springs which drew settlers to the area in the early 1900s. A photograph of this hotel was the inspiration for the painting of the mural in 2014. The photograph currently hangs in the Old City Hall.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The oldest continuously operated business in the historic downtown district is the Benton Brothers. The business was established in 1938 by brothers Leslie, Edwin, and Robert Benton, one of the oldest families in this area. The three buildings on this site once housed an appliance/furniture business.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

General building deterioration caused the three buildings to be demolished. A new store was built in 1973 and a brick facade was added in 1986. It is still owned by the Benton family and now operates as an antiques mall.

The first moving picture to be shown in Denham Springs was screened in the Farmers Association Building (circa 1917) in 1923. Later, Savoy’s Grocery operated in this building.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Livingston Parish was one of the hardest hit areas in the catastrophic flood of August 2016 with an estimated 75 percent of the homes a total loss. A low-pressure front remained nearly stationary over the area for days with rainfall rates of up to 2-3 inches an hour resulting in a total rainfall of 25-30 inches. The storm dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina, enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times. Eight rivers reached record levels including the Amite River which crested at nearly 5 feet above the previous record in Denham Springs. The Historic District was under water. At one point, a 62-mile section of Interstate 12 was closed because of flooding. Lakeside RV Park escaped flooding since it is located on higher ground.

Denham Springs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

Goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, well have good fun on the bayou.

—Hank Williams, Sr.

More Highly Rated Snowbird Resorts, According To RVers

These five Sunbelt resorts have both convenient locations and top-quality facilities

You can learn a lot about campgrounds and RV parks by reading reviews by real campers and seeing photos of the property. It can help you find RV parks and resorts that offer spacious full hookup sites while avoiding crowded parks that get traffic noise all night.

RV Park Reviews provides information on what other campers have said and an overall idea of the park’s amenities. Reviews can also give you insider tips on what to see in the area and tourist traps to avoid.

These five Sunbelt resorts have both convenient locations and top-quality facilities that have ranked them the highest across the U.S. This list of top rated RV parks and resorts has been selected from parks personally visited.

Pechanga Casino RV Resort – Temecula, California

8.6 rating

Recently expanded Pechanga Casino RV Resort offers 168 full-service sites with 12 feet grass on either side. These sites include 24 pull throughs (76 feet x 18 feet concrete pads) and 142 back-ins (55 feet x 18 feet concrete pads). All sites have 50/30/20-amp electric service, water, sewer, cable TV, and Wi-Fi access. Amenities include heated pool with two spas and four cabanas, fenced dog run, security patrol, and on-property shuttle service 24/7.

Top tip: Be sure to visit Old Town Temecula and Temecula Wine Country.

Lakeside RV Park – Livingston, Louisiana

8.5 rating

Great park near Baton Rouge. Easy-on, easy-off, Lakeside RV Park is big-rig friendly with back-in and pull-through sites. The sites are good sized, especially the pull through sites. Our back-in site is in the 55-60 foot range with 50/30-amp electric service, water, and sewer centrally located.

Site amenities include picnic table and fire pit. The park is located around a lake, with boats, fishing, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and laundry room. The staff are great.

Top tip: Ambrosia Bakery sells around 20,000 king cakes during the Mardi Gras season. While the bakery offers a selections of pastries, cakes, candies, and chocolates, as well as a selection of deli items, Ambrosia is known for its cakes. This Baton Rouge shop is located at 8546 Siegen Lane (I-10, Exit 162).

Gulf Coast RV Resort – Beaumont, Texas

8.5 rating

Easy-on, easy-off, Gulf Coast RV Resort is big-rig friendly with pull-through sites in the 60-65 foot range with 50/30-amp electric service, water, and sewer centrally located. All sites are pull-through; sites #115 through 125 are 75 feet in length and sites #75 through 83 are in the 90 foot range. All interior roads and sites are concrete. Site amenities include picnic table.

Top tip: If you have the time, tour the McFadden-Ward House. It is only about six miles from the resort and well worth the time.

Poche’s RV Park – Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

8.5 rating

RV sites at Poche’s RV Park are located on several sides of the pond overlooking the water. A pleasant and unique location with excellent fishing and birding. Sites are concrete and level and separated by grass. Fire rings at every other site. Picnic tables at every site. Relaxing campground with fishing at your door. Major complaint are the rough roads.

Top tip: The owners also have a great little Cajun market with a really good restaurant a mile or so away on the road to Breaux Bridge. Check it out if you’re looking for the real deal; home-made boudin sausage, alligator, crawfish etouffee, andouille, crawfish jambalaya, cracklin, fried catfish, red beans, cornbread dressing, and a great assortment of other quality Cajun specialties to either take home or eat there. Casual, authentic, and reasonably priced.

Golden Village Palms RV Resort – Hemet, California

8.3 rating

Golden Village Palms is a Sunland Resort, not to be confused with the much larger Sun Communities. Golden Village Palms is an older park with mostly back-in sites that are rather tight. Our site is barely 50 feet long and under 30 feet in width. Water and sewer connections are near the rear of the site; 50/30/20-amp electric service and cable TV (50 channels) are behind the RV. Wi-Fi service was intermittent. Paved streets and gravel sites with 35 pull-through sites in the 85-90 foot range. Amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center, volleyball courts, pickleball courts, and putting green. Passport America accepted for four nights.

Top tip: This might have been a nice place at one time but for the most part it is pretty ghetto.

Worth Pondering…

Home is where you park it.