Louisiana's Northshore: There's More to Explore
Once a getaway spot for wealthy 19th-century New Orleanians who came to escape the heat and mosquitoes of the city, St. Tammany Parish is home to wonderful attractions, inventive restaurants and verdant expanses of the great outdoors, making the Northshore the perfect place to play.
WHERE WE ARE: The Northshore is mostly St. Tammany Parish, hugging the northern shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain. The Northshore is only a 45-minute drive to New Orleans' French Quarter, and an hour from plantation country south of Baton Rouge and the casinos of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
COME HUNGRY: Exciting flavors inspire menus in elegant dining spaces and mom-and-pop seafood emporiums on the Northshore. You’ll find sophisticated fare at restaurants like Palmettos in Slidell, or at celebrity chef John Besh’s La Provence in Lacombe. The setting’s more down-home at the Abita Brew Pub or local joints like Louie and the Redhead Lady in Mandeville and LA Pines in Slidell (“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” of the Food Network loved both spots). Find happiness in perfectly fried shrimp or a mountain of spicy boiled crawfish at scores of local po-boy shops and seafood markets.
SCENIC BEAUTY: There are about 80,000 acres of national wildlife refuge set aside in the parish, including Big Branch NWR and the Northlake Nature Center on Bayou Castine. Kayakers find easy access along many of the bayous and rivers and on Lake Pontchartrain. Check out one of our local outfitters like Bayou Adventure in Lacombe for rentals. Or, go on a guided swamp tour for an up-close look at the beautiful Honey Island Swamp and its wildlife.
The 31-mile 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 walk or rent and ride bikes through the stately pines.
There are also a number of great golf courses on the Northshore and the fisherman can find plenty to do, from casting a line off a pier on the lake to spending an afternoon on one of the Slidell area’s charter fishing boats for some monster trout or redfish.
THERE’S MORE: In addition to the outdoor activities, the Northshore offers art galleries and upscale shopping. You can browse some of the South’s best art in Covington galleries or experience eclectic folk art at the eye-opening Abita Mystery House at the UCM Museum, a roadside attraction for all ages. Live music can be found at the historic Dew Drop Inn or at the community concerts held at the Tammany Trace trailheads.
Kids especially enjoy the swamp tours, and the Insta-Gator Ranch where they can watch alligators hatch, or getting up close and personal with giraffes, camels, llamas and more at the Global Wildlife Center. Their parents can enjoy wine-tasting at the Pontchartrain Vineyards or beer-tasting at the Abita Brewery and Covington Brewhouse microbrewery.
There’s so much to see, do, and explore on Louisiana’s Northshore.