Over on the east side of St. Tammany Parish, in the Slidell and Pearl River area, there are several operators that conduct tours in flat bottomed boats of the Honey Island Swamp, with entertaining captains who double as naturalists and give insight into the ecosystem and the flora and fauna that live there. The Honey Island Swamp tours are a great way to see alligators in the wild, as well as boar, raccoons, and numerous bird species. Insta-gator Ranch and Hatchery in Covington is a working alligator ranch where you can touch, hold, even hatch (during hatching season) alligators and learn about the alligator industry and the iconic Louisiana reptile. Global Wildlife Center in Folsom is home to thousands of free-roaming animals from all over the world, and families love to take the safari tours where they can feed the animals and learn about their habits and habitat. Wiggling a camel’s hump and getting eye to eye with giraffes are amazing experiences. America's oldest sightseeing carriage company, Royal Carriages, has expanded to Downtown Covington, offering 30- and 60-minute mule-drawn carriage ride tours of the charming historic St. John’s District.
With miles and miles of bayous, rivers, and swamps, not to mention the glittering jewel of Lake Pontchartrain, there are countless opportunities to paddle. Visit Bayou Adventure for self-service kayak rentals on Cane Bayou. The buzzing shop in Lacombe also sells live bait, fishing gear, regional craft brews and Louisiana favorites from their kitchen. Their food truck can be found at Fontainebleau State Park on weekends, too!
The 31-mile Tammany Trace is a scenic way to pedal through the Northshore. The state’s first rails-to trails conversion, it ribbons through green spaces, pine forests and over bridges, and connects five communities. Brooks’ Bike Shop has locations in three of our communities (Covington, Mandeville, Slidell) with a rental station in Abita Springs, too. The convenient locations are a one-stop-shop for all your bicycle rental and repair needs.
Charter captains in Slidell can help you catch your limit and a good time of speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Guided pontoon boat tour down the Tchefuncte river in Madisonville are offered for visitors looking to experience The Northshore “like the locals” out on the water. Pack the cooler for a float down the Bogue Chitto river with tubing outfitters Louisiana River Adventures or Bogue Chitto Tubing Center.
Shoppers love browsing through antiques and boutiques in the historic districts of Slidell and Covington, or down Girod Street in Old Mandeville. You are sure to find many treasures. The Northshore is an artist’s haven, and there are plenty of galleries showcasing local art, including Marianne Angeli Rodriquez Gallery and SALADINO gallery. Many art, farmers and makers markets are held throughout the year in Northshore towns and communities.
The sweet sounds of music abound on the Northshore. The community trailheads in Mandeville and Covington are host to many concert series in the fall and spring, as is Wild Bush Farm + Vineyard, Columbia Street Landing, and Heritage Park in Slidell. The Dew Drop Jazz Hall, built in 1895, is the oldest unaltered jazz hall in the world, and guarded by ancient moss-draped oak trees not far from Mandeville’s lakefront. The Abita Springs Opry plays Louisiana roots music at the town hall; its wooden floors and pecky cypress-lined walls create an acoustically satisfying setting.