Lake Martin is the gold standard by which I judge all other places to paddle in Louisiana. It's one of the few places where you can paddle in a beautiful cypress tupelo forest and actually find shade in the summer time.
There is a huge wading bird rookery here (roped off during active season) and that means you will always see egrets, herons, and if you're lucky, Roseate Spoonbills. There are turtles galore, gators of ALLL sizes (some quite large), and all kinds of birds. The sunsets with the picturesque cypress trees are just phenomenal.
They just installed a kayak launch on the north end of the road. From the boat launch, drive north until you get to the parking area at the end. The launch is just past the yellow gates to the north. They installed timber steps and sand so it's not too muddy. This end of the lake is more open so the vegetation can be quite thick at the launch, but it will clear out as you get to the other end.
Swamp tours are held here daily so "trails" through the swamp are pretty easy to find. I've paddled all around the lake before and the tree cover to the north and west is relatively sparse, but the south east end is wonderful.
** Do note that you cannot cross into the rookery area from Feb 15 through July 31 so as not to disturb the nesting birds.
You will see plenty of alligators; give them wide berth. They are actually shy creatures and want to be left alone but if you surprise them or corner them they can thrash that tail and if you're in a tippy boat, the results could be bad!
There are lots of fisherman on this lake. There is a concrete boat launch
that I've used before the kayak launch. It's OK but some fisherman have little patience with paddlers.
Lake Martin is truly a treasure and a highly recommend paddle destination!
There is a store at the lake now (Champagne's) where you can buy drinks and snacks. You can also rent kayaks...one of the few places I know of where you can rent onsite. No public restroom.
There is a visitor center at the south end of the road with a gorgeous mural inside and bathrooms (not always open) and a short boardwalk for swamp viewing. There are port-o-lets near the boat launch (usually pretty gross)
Breaux Bridge exit off Interstate 10. South on hwy 31 through downtown Breaux Bridge til you see the sign for Lake Martin on the right (maybe 2-3 miles)