Strolling the beach at Fontainebleau State Park
Kayaking on the scenic Cane Bayou
Pedaling on the Tammany Trace hike and bike trail
Cruising down the Tchefuncte River with Louisiana Tours and Adventures
Enjoying an outdoor concert in Abita Springs
Birdwatching at Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville
Southern comfort food from Big Mama’s Country Kitchen
Vibrant works on display in Covington’s Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Art Gallery
Touring the Maritime Museum Louisiana in Madisonville
Touring Honey Island Swamp, one of many ways to explore Slidell and surrounding Northshore communities
Explore the Northshore of New Orleans
As you travel west through St. Tammany, you’ll find Lacombe adjacent to Big Branch Marsh Wildlife Reserve, a great place to experience the Northshore’s natural beauty. Abita Springs is a quirky, artsy community known for its positive vibe. Mandeville offers views of Lake Pontchartrain and ancient oaks, fun shopping and bed-and-breakfast inns along with fascinating historic landmarks. Covington is a charming town with great restaurants and shopping, and a lovely historic district. Madisonville, on the Tchefuncte River, celebrates maritime history with its Wooden Boat Festival and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum.
There are about 32,400 hectares of national wildlife refuge preserved within the Northshore, including Big Branch Marsh and the Northlake Nature Center on Bayou Castine. Kayakers can find easy access points along many of the bayous and rivers and on Lake Pontchartrain, with Bayou Cane being a popular launching point. In Slidell, go on a guided swamp tour for an up-close look at the scenic Honey Island Swamp and its wildlife, or take the kids to Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery to hold baby alligators. Visit Global Wildlife Center to interact with giraffes, camels, llamas and other creatures.
The 50-kilometer Tammany Trace is a jewel of a bike trail threading through many Northshore communities. It’s a Rails to Trails Conservancy project that turned old railroad tracks into a wide, paved bike path. Visitors can walk or rent and ride bikes through the stately pines. At Fontainebleau State Park, camp, hike, bike, enjoy the beach or head out on the water. Louisiana Tours and Adventures offers pontoon boat tours from Fairview-Riverside State Park. Slidell’s charter fishing boats lead anglers to massive trout and redfish.
Tammany Tastes & Historic Downtowns
Exciting Louisiana flavors await at fine dining destinations and family restaurants across the region. In Slidell, you’ll find sophisticated fare at restaurants like Palmettos on the Bayou, and comfort food at Big Mama’s Country Kitchen. Other casual eateries nearby include the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs and Liz's Where Y'at Diner in Mandeville. Delight in perfectly fried shrimp or spicy boiled crawfish at local po' boy shops and seafood markets, and then go wine tasting at Wild Bush Farm and Vineyard, or beer tasting at the Abita Brewing Company.
Can’t get enough of the area’s charm? Tour Olde Towne Slidell, a walkable downtown district full of historic buildings, antique stores, specialty shops and museums. Experience eclectic folk art at the eye-opening Abita Mystery House at the UCM Museum, a roadside attraction for all ages in Abita Springs. And leave time for live music at the historic Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Jazz Hall in Mandeville or at community concerts on Tammany Trace trailheads around the Northshore.
Fontainebleau State Park, the most visited state park in Louisiana, is named after a forest near Paris, a favorite recreation area of the French kings.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, connecting Mandeville and Metairie, is considered the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.
Abita Springs was a popular retreat for 19th-century New Orleanians, who came for fresh air produced by the numerous pine trees and to drink and swim. Legend has it that the spring waters have medicinal qualities.