Welcome to the Northshore (north of Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans) where breathtaking nature and superb culinary traditions collide providing the perfect setup for adventure. Here are a few ideas for starting your day with adventure and ending it with a full belly.
Bikes and Brews
Option 1: Rent bikes from Brooks Bike Shop in Covington. Ride to visit the Covington Brewhouse for cold Louisiana-crafted beers. Try their flagship ales (always on tap) such as the Pontchartrain Pilsner or the Bayou Bock and don't forget to order a seasonal brew that rotate by season. After a brew, bike to discover Covington's historic St. John district to shop at H.J. Smith and Sons. You'll also find unique art pieces at the multiple art galleries and shopping continues at the multiple boutique shops. Swing by the Bogue Falaya Park then bike six miles to Abita Springs where more delicious Louisiana brews can be tasted at Abita Brewing Co. Bonus: Stop by the Abita Mystery House to view some of the strangest collections in Louisiana.
Option 2: Start here or continue your journey… Rent bikes at the Shiver Shack at the Mandeville Trailhead and bike nine miles to the Abita Springs Trailhead. Snack or have lunch at the Abita Brew Pub and try the Abita line of craft beers. They have seasonal brews such as Octoberfest, in addition to Abita Amber, Andygator, Restoration Pale Ale and Turbodog (and more) on tap, locally brewed at the Abita Brewery down the road. Start with the Andygator Crawfish Cakes or Brewer’s BBQ Crab Claws Sautéed in Abita Amber and Rosemary BBQ sauce. Then choose one of 10 specialty burgers or an old-fashioned Louisiana seafood po' boy.
Stand-Up Paddleboard for Your Lunch
Ready to hit the water? A popular stand-up paddleboarding excursion starts at Columbia Street Landing in Covington (site of live music concerts every third Friday of the month from March through October) then paddles north on the Bogue Falaya River just past the Highway 190 bridge. To earn your beer, paddle back to the Chimes Covington Restaurant. Just leave the paddleboards on the dock and walk up the boardwalk to the restaurant. Try the Barney, a beer mix of Abita Purple Haze and Andygator, and follow it up with some icy oysters on the half shell, warm gumbo, fried alligator, red beans and rice, New Orleans BBQ shrimp, or other Louisiana specialties.
Other paddling trips meet in Madisonville on Water Street by the local gourmet Abita Roasting Company coffee shop and paddle south to the mouth of the Tchefuncte River at Lake Pontchartrain and the 1837 Lighthouse. Refuel with some American-Creole cuisine in a quaint bistro setting at Waterstreet Bistro overlooking the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville.
Want to learn to paddle board? The Bayou Paddle Company (985-966-7978), located inside The Spokesman Professional Bicycle Works in Mandeville, offers board sales and rentals, as well as leads individual lessons and group paddles.
Kayaking or Boating to Foodie Heaven
Bayou Adventure in Lacombe is a bait stand that now serves as a one-stop shop for all things outdoors. Take a kayak tour (with or without fishing equipment) to paddle the nearby bayous Cane, Castine and Lacombe where wildlife is abundant and easily spotted. Later, enjoy a lovely dinner at La Provence, a John Besh restaurant, or Sal & Judy’s, known for its Creole-Italian cuisine and line of salad dressings and sauces available online and in supermarkets.
Pull your boat right up to the dock at the Friends Coastal Restaurant in Madisonville. This waterfront grill has seen its share of hard times (think Hurricane Issac, then fire damage) but the newly rebuilt restaurant and its food outshines any disaster. Try favorites like the Jack-leg chicken and Buffaleaux oysters.
A Day on the Water
More than a dozen fishing charters call St. Tammany home, most based in Slidell. Some charters motor out to fish off the Causeway Bridge, a 24-mile-long span over Lake Pontchartrain while others offer access to well-known fishing hot spots like the Rigolets, the Biloxi Marsh, Lake Borgne, the Chandeleur Islands and the Mississippi Sound. Head out with Category 5 Outdoors lure designer and captain Kenny Kreeger of Lake Pontchartrain Charters or Dudley Vandenborre, creator of the famous Deadly Dudley lures. After catching trophy trout and record redfish, arrive by boat at Palmettos on the Bayou or try Nathan’s Restaurant—both known for their waterfront dining.
For more information for things to do on your Northshore adventure, visit Louisiana Northshore online.