Fontainebleau State Park occupies a whopping 2,800 acres of land on the banks of Lake Pontchartrain, around 40 miles north of New Orleans. Once the part of a vast sugarcane plantation, it's now been converted into a multi-purpose R&R destination, all less than an hour's drive from the French Quarter via the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

    The state park has something for a whole host of travellers. Adventurers can come to kayak between the colossal cypress trees. History buffs get to unravel the story of a half-ruined sugar mill. But there are also charming beaches and picnic lawns for families and relaxation seekers.

    Fontainebleau State Park near New Orleans - one of the highlights of 5 Best Beaches in New Orleans and 10 Best Road Trips near New Orleans (Read all about New Orleans here)

    Foto: Mark Holloway (CC BY 2.0) retusjert

    A brief history of Fontainebleau State Park

    The Fontainebleau State Park was just one of many landholdings under the control of the eccentric French-Creole politician Bernard de Marigny. He ran the property as a sugarcane plantation and brickyard until the early 1850s. He chose the name Fontainebleau in honour of the large tract of forest south of Paris – a one-time favourite of the French kings and nobles.

    The Fontainebleau State Park was finally established as a recreation area in 1942. It was one of the first major parks in Louisiana and a flagship of the Civilian Conservation Corps building program in the region, offering one of the earliest overnight campgrounds in the state.

    Foto: Mark Holloway (CC BY 2.0) retusjert

    What are the highlights of Fontainebleau State Park?

    The Fontainebleau State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Louisiana – and for good reason. It's got a whole load of attractions up its sleeve, along with a rich historical past that's sure to entertain and enthral.

    Nature is the most obvious draw. You can come to wander the grassy meadows on the northern edge of Lake Pontchartrain. They eventually spill out onto a sandy beachfront that has plenty of room for sunbathers and strollers alike.

    There's also a whole maze of enticing waterways and channels coming off Bayou Cane in the east. Kayakers can paddle the creeks to get a feel for the mossy hammocks of The South.

    Located on the other side of the lake from New Orleans, Fontainebleau Beach has shallow waters, a soft lakebed, and white sand onshore. An onsite bathroom block divides the beach in half – you’ll find around 250 ft of sand on one side and 1,100 ft on the other, with more trees and rocks on the longer side.

    The Tammany Trace trail awaits those who prefer to stay on dry land. It's an old railroad line but has now been flattened to host bikers and hikers. The route is 31 miles in total, but you don't have to tackle the entire length. Alternatively, choose the 1.2-mile boardwalk route that reveals some spectacular marshes and birding spots.

    Foto: Mark Holloway (CC BY 2.0) retusjert

    Good to know about Fontainebleau State Park

    The Fontainebleau State Park is right next to the town of Mandeville. To get there, you'll need to drive over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It takes around 50 minutes from the very heart of New Orleans in normal traffic. There's no scheduled public transport to the site, so having a car of your own is the best idea.

    There's lots of parking at the Fontainebleau State Park. The main area is right by the visitor's centre near Fontainebleau Beach. You can also book to stay overnight in one of the deluxe cabins or pitches.

    It's a good idea to do that long in advance of travelling, particularly if you plan on coming in the busy summer season. Also, beware of visiting between June and October. That's the peak of hurricane season in Louisiana, so the waters and weather can be rough.

    Foto: Edd Prince (CC BY 2.0) retusjert

    Fontainebleau State Park near New Orleans

    Beliggenhet: 62883 LA-1089, Mandeville, LA 70448, USA

    Åpent: Daily from 6 am to 9 pm

    Telefonnummer: +1 985-624-4443

    Joseph Francis | Bidragsyter

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    Travel alert

    COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

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