The North Shore is an area North of New Orleans that you can visit via the causeway. It is about a 30 minute drive. We suggest a rental car. If you decide to visit, be sure that your New Orleans travel plans include transportation to this area.
Covington, Mandeville, and Madisonville, Louisiana are located just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, with easy access via the Causeway Bridge. Collectively called the “North Shore” this area has a small town “feel” and a lot of water, making it a very interesting place.
Covington is the parish seat of St. Tammany Parish. It boasts a history as a major cotton trading stop for the paddle wheel boats. The Old Southern Hotel was once the place to stay on the North Shore.
H. J. Smith's Hardware Store and Museum (308 N. Columbia St., Covington, LA 70433 985-892-0460) is worth a visit in and of itself. The fifth generation of the Smith family still works here, since its founding in 1875. The museum next to the hardware store boasts 1910 receipts for wagon wheels and farm implements which were delivered by schooners, docked at the foot of Columbia Street. This interesting museum features items dating from the late 1890’s through the mid-1900’s.
Lake Ramsey Preserve (Horse Branch Road, Covington, LA 70435, 985-809-1414) is the perfect place for a nature walk, photography, or just getting to see nature up close. This preserve features well-marked trails and contains many rare wildflower species.
New Orleans Travel Tip: If you like wooden boats, try to make it to Madisonville in October for the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival.
"Every year the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum pays tribute to the hand crafted wooden boats of the Gulf Coast. Hundreds of boats will line the banks of the Tchefuncte River as 30,000 wooden boat enthusiasts come to celebrate the wonders of wood and waterToday the beauty of the surrounding areas attracts nature lovers as well as artists."
There are also artist colonies established in and near Covington. One of the largest art and antique areas is the old Columbia Street Landing area by the Bogue Falaya River.
There are other area attractions as well. Global Wildlife Center (26389 Louisiana 40, Folsom, LA 70437-7777, 985-796-3585) is a 900 acre, 3000 animal wildlife park that offers tours.
St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College ( 75376 River Rd., Saint Benedict, LA 70457, 985-892-1800) is a Catholic Church run facility that offers tours and has a cemetery and church..
If you are looking for a small lakeside town, with a large marina and good food, consider Madisonville, across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans. Morton’s Seafood (702 Water Street, Madisonville, LA 70447, 985-845-4970) and Friend’s Coastal Restaurant (407 Saint Tammany Street, Madisonville, LA 70447, 985-845-7303) are great places to eat and watch the boat traffic.
New Orleans Travel Tip: You may want to rent a car to cross the lake. Also, you may enjoy visiting Ponchartrain Vineyards (81250 Louisiana 1082 Bush, LA 70431, 985-892-9742) which is about 20 minutes North of Madisonville.
A popular restaurant in the area is The Dakota (629 North Highway, 190 Covington, LA 70433-8961, 985-892-3712.) If in season, we suggest the softshell crab.
Another great place to visit is the Abita Brewery (21084 Louisiana 36, Abita Springs, LA 70433, 985-893-3143) featuring a great brewpub. Abita is considered a micro-bre but is quickly gaining in popularity all over Louisiana and the region. Taking over from the other great New Orleans Brewers - Jax, Dixie, Regal and Falstaff - Abita has come of age!
See our other places to visit - Cool Side Trips.