Louisiana Destinations ... Travel Across the Bayou State

Travel Guide to the Louisiana Northshore and St. Tammany Parish

St. Tammany Parish's close proximity to New Orleans and Baton Rouge has made the area one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Louisiana. The Parish seat is Covington, and the parish is home to more than 265,000 residents. The major east-west highways through the parish are I-10, I-12, US 90 and US 190. Interstate I-59 runs north-south through the area, from New Orleans heading north to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The area north of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain is often called "The Northshore", the location of cities and towns such as Slidell, Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Pearl River, and Madisonville. It also includes smaller communities such as Lacombe, Folsom, Bush, Eden Isle, Sun, and many others.

The area offers visitors a wide range of activities, from fishing and tubing, to cycling, wine tasting, shopping, golfing, Mardi Gras and swamp tours! Plus it is close to all of the attractions and events in New Orleans.

A highly-recommended travel resource for the Northshore is provided by the St. Tammany Parish & Northshore Tourist & Convention Commission


Cities and towns in the Northshore area in Louisiana



Slidell is a gem in southeastern Louisiana on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, a quiet, friendly community. There are lots of festivals, a swamp with elusive alligators, delightful shopping, fine dining and excellent accommodations. In recent years there has been much new residential, and commercial, growth and development, including hotels and motels which also serve the New Orleans area during major events such as the Super Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Final Four Tournaments.

Quiet lagoon near Slidell, Louisiana
Quiet lagoon near Slidell, Louisiana

The city is located at the junction of Interstate Highways I-10, I-12 and I-59. Strategically located close to Baton Rouge to the west, and New Orleans to the south, Slidell is an important element of the East Louisiana infrastructure.

Many of the things that make Slidell such a great place to visit also make it a great place to live. The tree-shaded streets of Olde Towne are filled with visitors and vendors from throughout the south during the Antique District Street Fair in the spring and fall. Every November brings Arts Evening, one of the area's largest cultural festivals, featuring the works of over 100 artists and a variety of live entertainment throughout Olde Towne. Slidell is near the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area.

Five star shopping awaits at North Shore Square, the only regional mall that offers five anchor stores, plus a variety of specialty shops. Christmas Under the Stars twinkle in Griffith Park two weekends in December.

Slidell is close to the technology centers at NASA's Stennis Space Center and Lockheed Martin Manned Space Systems, the intrigue and hotspots of New Orleans and the beaches and casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.


The City of Covington is located at a fork of the Bogue Falaya and the Tchefuncte River. Founded in 1813, it is today the parish seat of St. Tammany, and an interesting locale with a large variety of restaurants and shopping. The historic downtown district includes art galleries, boutiques, antiques shops, a variety of fine dining and restaurants, and an active, fun nightlife.

Fine dining options and cuisines abound, in Covington, Louisiana
Fine dining options and cuisines abound, in Covington, Louisiana



Mandeville offers residents and visitors many things to do, including fine dining, shops and day spas. It is connected to the Southshore in New Orleans via the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest bridge in the world.

Pier and lake in Mandeville, Louisiana
Pier and lake in Mandeville, Louisiana



Madisonville lies on the banks of the beautiful Tchefuncte River, and is home to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum; the museum sponsors the annual Wooden Boat Festival in the fall. During Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Tchefuncte puts on the popular boat parade.

Nearby is the Fairview-Riverside State Park, a popular destination for hiking, boating, fishing and camping.

Welcome to Historical Madisonville
Welcome to Madisonville, Louisiana
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum and Research Center
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum and Research Center in Madisonville, Louisiana

Abita Springs

In earlier times, Abita Springs was a popular destination for its healing waters from deep artesian wells. Today, visitors seek the locally produced Abita Beer, known nationwide. The town also is proud of its fun, quirky personality, and is the locale for great music and unique and as a great place for music and unique festivals.

Abita Springs is also home to the popular Abita Mystery House and the Abita Springs Opry.

Abita Mystery House and UCM Museum in Abita Springs, Louisiana
Abita Mystery House and UCM Museum in Abita Springs, Louisiana


Scene in the Honey Island swamp in Louisiana
Scene in the Honey Island swamp in Louisiana

An unincorporated village on Lake Pontchartrain and along Highway 190, Lacombe is quiet locale known for the Creole observance of All Saints Day, a ceremony known as Les Toussaints les Lumieres du Morte.

The area is also known for the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, featuring thousands of acres of pine flatwoods and coastal marsh ... a great local for kayaking, hiking and birding.

Pearl River

The community of Pearl River lies on the eastern edge of St. Tammany Parish. The nearby Pearl River Wildlife Management Area is popular for fishing, kayaking and birding, and includes the Honey Island Swamp, popular with visitors enjoying its swamp tours.

Visiting attractions in the Northshore area in Louisiana


Fountainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park is one of the crown jewels of the Louisiana State Parks system. Located near Slidell between Mandeville and Lacombe, it's a fantastic spot for watching sunsets and stargazing while listening to the soft sounds of waves lapping on the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline.

Even if you're not camping at Fontainebleau or staying in its cabins, pay the day rate and visit the sandy beach and Lake Pontchartrain swimming area. The water is shallow and perfect for wading, and you can bring supplies and have your own barbecue at the nearby pits.

For more information, visit the website of the Fountainebleau State Park.

Fountainebleau State Park entrance area
Fountainebleau State Park entrance area in the Louisiana Northshore
Rt 66 Motorcycle Parts & Accessories
Sign at the entrance to the Fairview-Riverside State Park in Louisiana


Fairview-Riverside State Park

Located at 119 Fairview Drive in Madisonville is Fairview-Riverside State Park. The facility features picnic tables, a group pavilion, playground, nature trails and comfort stations. The cool, crystal-clear waters of the Tchefuncte River yield bass, bluegill, white perch, and bream near the park area, and channel catfish, speckled trout and redfish where the river meets the lake.

Also on the grounds of the park is the Otis House, originally built in the 1880s as the family home for sawmill owner William Theodore Jay. Just two miles away by road and a few minutes by water is the Madisonville public boat launch.

For more information, visit the website of the Fairview-Riverside State Park.


Tammany Trace

Originally a corridor for the Illinois Central Railroad, the Tammany Trace is now a hike and bike trail that runs from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville and Lacombe and ends in Slidell. A separate equestrian path parallels the Trace in several places. This 31-mile rails-to-trails conversion meanders through lovely, wooded areas and links five St. Tammany cities and towns:

  • Covington
  • Abita Springs
  • Mandeville
  • Lacombe
  • Slidell

The Tammany Trace is the great way to explore the Northshore. Consult a trail map to find the best route and take the children to the Kids Konnection playground at the Koop Drive Trailhead and splash pad at the Mandeville Trailhead. Bike rentals are available at Brooks' Bike Shop in Mandeville. Run, walk, cycle, blade or even bring your horse!

For more information and maps, visit the website of the Tammany Trace.

View along the Tammany Trace
View along the Tammany Trace in the Louisiana Northshore in St. Tammany Parish
Trailhead Museum in Abita Springs
Trailhead Museum in Abita Springs, Louisiana


Bayou Lacombe Museum

Just west of Slidell is the Bayou Lacombe Museum, housed in the oldest wooden school house in St. Tammany Parish. The school was built and donated by John H. Davis in 1912. The Museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of Lacombe from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. It is located at 61115 St. Mary Street in Lacombe.

For more information, visit the website of the Bayou Lacombe Museum.

Abita Brewing Company

The popular and well-known Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs is located at 21084 Highway 36. In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer. By 1994, the company outgrew the original site (now its 100-seat brew pub) and moved up the road to a larger, state-of-the-art brewing facility to keep up with demand. The company remains privately owned and operated by local shareholders. It offers tours, a tap room and gift shop.

The Abita Brew Pub is located at 72011 Holly Street. It is not located at the Brewery and Visitor Center. It is a full-service restaurant housed in the renovated building in which Abita brewed and bottled its beers until April 1994. Sweeping views of the Tammany Trace hiking trail are visible from two separate dining rooms.

For more information, visit the website of the Abita Brewing Company.

Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs
Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs, Louisiana


Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House Museum

The Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House Museum, a Creole-style home, is located west of Slidell. It was built in 1850 on Mandeville's lakefront by tobacco merchant Jean Baptiste Lang. After surviving the Civil War, Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed it in 2005. The City of Mandeville, together with the Old Mandeville Historic Association, moved the home inland and restored it to display original architectural elements. It is located at 605 Carroll Street in Mandeville.

For more information, visit the website of the Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House Museum.

Global Wildlife Center

The Global Wildlife Center is located at 26389 Highway 40 in Folsom. The Center is one of the largest free-roaming wildlife preserves in the country, and is hoe to over 3,500 exotic and endangered animals from all over the world. Visitors are encouraged to touch and feed animals from the comfort and safety of a canopy-covered wagon while learning about each species from their tour guide.

For more information, visit the website of the Global Wildlife Center.

Covered wagons at the Global Wildlife Center
Covered wagons at the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana
Hand-feeding a giraffe at the Global Wildlife Center
Hand feeding a giraffe at the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, Louisiana



Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery

Baby Louisiana alligator at the Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery in Covington
Young alligator at the Insta-Gator Ranch

The Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery is located at 74645 Allen Road in Covington. Visitors will see hundreds of alligators ranging from babies to giant, 8-foot long gators. They will learn about the history and anatomy of the American alligator, and see how Insta-Gator Ranch’s conservation efforts protect these beautiful creatures and preserve their environment.

During a tour, visitors will be able to pet and feed alligators, and, from August to September, even hatch a baby alligator in your hands!

For more information, visit the website of the Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery.

Swamp Tours in the Northshore Area

One of the most popular things to do in Louisiana is touring the swamps!

The lush growth in a Louisiana swamp is indescribable. You have to see it to believe it.

Take a boat tour of the many swamps near Slidell

The most impressive objects in the swamp are the cypress trees which are very graceful in their structure, with their reddish bark, exquisitely bent branches, and delicately fine leaves.

The Honey Island and Pearl River swamps and marshes near Slidell offer exciting and educational opportunities for visitors and residents alike.

Learn more about Swamp Tours Near Slidell & Lacombe, Honey Island & the Pearl River.

More Northshore Attractions

  • Children's Museum of St. Tammany
  • Lakeshore Drive Walking Path & Playgrounds - Mandeville
  • Sunset Point and Fishing Pier - Mandeville - Free to the public ... extends 400 feet into Lake Pontchartrain
  • H J Smith & Sons General Store Museum - 308 N. Columbia Street in Covington. Family owned and operated since 1876, the museum houses hundreds of items from 1870 through the early 1900s.
  • Lakeshore Drive Walking Path & Playgrounds - Mandeville
  • Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve - Abita Springs
  • Abita Mystery House at the UCM Museum in Abita Springs
  • Beau Chene Country Club - Mandeville
  • Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge - Lacombe
  • Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge - Pearl River
  • Bogue Falaya Wayside Park - Covington
  • Covington Trailhead Museum and Visitors Center - 419 N. New Hampshire Street
  • Folsom Village Market
  • Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum - 133 Mabel Drive in Madisonville
  • Pearl River & Honey Island Museum and Research Center - Located across from Pearl River Town Hall
More Southshore attractions and things to do courtesy of the St. Tammany Parish & Northshore Tourist & Convention Commission



Annual events in the Northshore area in Louisiana

The Northshore is a great area to enjoy annual events ... here's just a sampling!

  • Covington Three Rivers Arts Festival - Downtown, in November
  • Abita Springs Busker Festival - Dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana roots music and sponsored by the Abita Opry
  • Heritage Park in Slidell is the locale of the popular St. Tammany Crab Festival.
  • Annual All-You-Can-Eat Crawfish Cook-Off is sponsored as a fund-raiser by the Hospice Foundation of the South. It is held at Fritchie Park in Slidell, 905 Howze Beach Road. In a typical year, 45,000 Ibs. of spicy boiled crawfish are boiled by 60 teams competing for bragging rights and "Best Crawfish in St. Tammany Parish".
  • Mardi Gras
  • Tammany Taste of Summer
  • Covington Three Rivers Art Festival
  • A Taste of Covington - June
  • Bayou Jam concerts at Slidell's Heritage Park
  • Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival - Hundreds of wooden boats line the shore of the Tchefuncte River each October
  • Abita Springs Whole Town Garage Sale - March
  • Slidell Antique District Street Fair - March and October
  • Louisiana Cycle Festival along the Tammany Trace - April
  • Great Louisiana Bird Fest - April
  • Bluesberry Festival - Bayou Falaya Wayside Park in Covington

Details about Southshore Annual Events at the St. Tammany Parish & Northshore Tourist & Convention Commission


Map of St. Tammany Parish and the Northshore Region in Louisiana

More Northshore Information & Resources

St. Tammany Parish & Northshore Tourist & Convention Commission

St. Tammany Parish Government

City of Slidell

City of Covington

City of Mandeville

Town of Madisonville

Town of Abita Springs

Town of Pearl River

Slidell Chamber of Commerce

Slidell Travel Guide at TripAdvisor