Louisiana can be a fun, wild, and vibrant place to visit and explore. There are so many things in our own “backyard” we still have yet to do, even after living in Louisiana almost our whole lives. Here are some of our top picks for the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.
The Northshore area is starting to get more and more micro-breweries, and visiting some of these and tasting some local beers are on top of our the list. Of course, we love free or cheap outings, as well as good beer ☺, so our favorite is the Abita Brewery and Tasting Room. They have
free (apparently now it’s $5) one hour tours, at their brand new tasting room adjacent to the brewery, which includes as much beer as you want, in full size cups! The tour features two videos about the brewing process and special initiatives of Abita Brewing Co, then the tour guide takes you into the brewery for a short tour of the facilities, and allows you to self-pour your own draft as many times as you want. They even have Abita Root Beer on tap for those designated drivers or abstainers. This is the place to go if you want to taste an array of Abita beers without purchasing them at the local Abita Brew Pub or grocery. Some other local micro-breweries to visit include Chafuncta Brewing Company, Covington Brewhouse, and Old Rail Brewing Co. We like to stop after the tour to fuel up at the local Abita Brew Pub next to the Abita Springs Trailhead, try the sauteed crab claws if you go!
Another stop in historic Abita Springs is the Abita Mystery House. Advertising as “Louisiana’s Most Eccentric Museum” this is a favorite stop to see combination of the strange and folksy. The museum is in a vintage service station, and includes 100 year old Louisiana Creole Cottage, whacky and fun exhibits of memorabilia and junk, founds objects and artistic creations of the owner. It is $3 admission for anyone over the age of three, and definitely a must do if you’re visiting the Northshore area.
Biking on the Tammany Trace is next on the list. The Tammany Trace is a hike and bike trail, and also has parallel attached equestrian riding trails. Built over abandoned railroad lines, it connects Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe, and Slidell with a smooth paved path. Dogs are not allowed on the trail. There are bike rentals next to the Mandeville Trailhead at the Shiver Shack, which also serves up delicious snow balls, ice cream, and hot food with outside picnic tables and is a great place to stop along or after a bike ride. The trace is open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset.
The Lake Ponchartrain lakefront pedestrian trail is also a great place for a walk or bike ride, pictured above. Only three miles round trip it’s a much smaller area, but with beautiful views all year long.
Hiking in the Northshore Nature Center in Mandeville is also one of our favorites. These trails do allow dogs, which is great for the pet lovers. Multiple trails wind through three different ecosystems to give you a feel for the varied terrain of South Louisiana. The trails are free, and are open from sunrise to sunset daily, but be sure to grab a map at the trailhead as the different loops can be confusing to find your way out of at times.
Kayaking through Bayou Lacombe is another classic Northshore experience. We now own kayaks, but before we did we would often rent them for the day from Bayou Adventure, a local kayak, bike, and fishing outfitter in Lacombe, LA. Bayou Adventure single kayak rentals are $35 a day or $50 a day for a tandem kayak, but they often run Groupon deals to which include half-price kayak rentals. The rental includes a personal flotation device (PFD), paddle, and maps of the bayou area as well as advice on where to paddle. If you like to fish, add-on rentals such as portable fish finders or fishing pole crate w/rod holders are also available.
The Bayou Lacombe area is beautiful is any season, but try spring or fall for the most comfortable weather. Be on the lookout for local flora/fauna such as blue herons, white egrets, alligators, turtles, and lots of fish. Another popular spot is Cane Bayou, about ten minutes up the road, where Bayou Adventure will drop off for an additional delivery fee. Cane Bayou is more secluded as it goes through a protected wilderness area, either spot is a great way to explore more of Louisiana’s natural beauty!
Hope this gives you some ideas when visiting the beautiful Louisiana Northshore! We’re always looking for new adventures, what’s your favorite thing to do in our area?