Picturesque Fontainebleau State Park lies nestled alongside Lake Pontchartrain surrounded by ancient Spanish Oak trees about 39 miles north of New Orleans. Named for a Parisian forest, this 2,800 acre Southeastern Louisiana state park features a beach, hiking trails, cabins and campsites on what was once a sugar cane plantation and brickyard.
Today visitors enjoy swimming, paddling, fishing, crabbing, bird watching, picnicking, camping, exploring trails, and hiking (or biking) into the nearby town of Mandeville.
Head over to picturesque Fontainebleau State Park and spend a few leisurely days at Lake Pontchartrain before driving into New Orleans. The park’s scenic picnic areas, trails, and peaceful campground area makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of city life.
And if you’re craving a bit of shopping, dining, and other entertainment you can always drive (or bike) over to Mandeville, 3 miles down the road.
Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Fontainebleau State Park:
Boating at Fontainebleau State Park
Spend a leisurely day paddling out on Lake Pontchartrain or kayak the short distance over to the Mandeville Marina. The park offers kayak and paddleboard rentals in its day use area.
Swimming at Fontainebleau State Park
Swim, float, and splash in beautiful Lake Pontchartrain. The white sandy beach and shallow water is welcoming for families with small children. A splash park area lies nearby offering more entertainment and a refreshing spray of cool water. The marsh boardwalk, restrooms and a bathhouse are located near the beach area.
Hiking at Fontainebleau State Park
Fontainebleau State Park features hiking trails of various lengths and difficulty that wind through Spanish oaks, pine forest, marsh, and swamp, and along Lake Pontchartrain. The nature trails offer spectacular views of the lake and over the bayou.
Here are a couple of the trails at Fontainebleau State Park:
- The Nature Trail – An easy 1 ¼ mile boardwalk trail across the Louisiana swampland. Two viewing decks with a telescope provide guests with closer views of native wildlife.
- The Tammany Trace Trail – Easy 27 mile trail that is mostly flat and also ideal for running, cycling, and horseback riding. This long trail was once part of the Illinois Central Railroad and runs parallel to US 190 as it connects to the small towns near Fontainebleau State Park. Benches and restrooms are located along the route.
Fishing at Fontainebleau State Park
Don’t forget to pack your angling gear and pick up a Louisiana fishing license.
Lake Pontchartrain is the largest inland body of water in the state and contains a variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, such as redfish, bass, bluegill, and speckled trout. Inside the park you may fish from the fishing pier, shoreline, or your canoe. Crabbing for blue crab is also popular in Lake Pontchartrain.
Birding at Fontainebleau State Park
Many types of birds are commonly sighted throughout Fontainebleau State Park’s Spanish oaks and pine forest, along the nature trail, and beside the lake. Bird lovers are encouraged to check out A Birder’s Guide to Louisiana to get an idea of which birds to keep an eye out for during their visit to the park.
Here you may observe a Pine or Prairie Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman’s, Leconte’s or Henslow’s Sparrow, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, or an Eastern Bluebird.
Nature and Wildlife at Fontainebleau State Park
Spanish Oak trees overlook Lake Pontchartrain inside this picturesque state park where deer, gazelles, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, otters, sables, foxes, wild hogs, armadillos, and coyotes roam free. This area was once home to a sugar plantation, now it is a refuge for more than 400 species.
Pets at Fontainebleau State Park
Well behaved pets are allowed at Fontainebleau State Park but not in the beach area or inside any park buildings. Dogs must be supervised and kept on a leash.
Nearby Pelican Bark Park is a popular place for dogs to run and play.
Camping at Fontainebleau State Park
Interested in spending the night inside Fontainebleau State Park? The park features cabins, modern or primitive campsites, primitive group camping sites, and a rustic group lodge.
Campsites are divided between two areas, an Old Campground area and a New Campground area. Each has either scenic lake views or shady woodlands. All campsites have a picnic table and grill and are located near restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.
The Old Campground has 45 sites, all with water and electric hookups. Some campsites have lake views as well as easy access to the lake. Another 50 non-reservable primitive campsites are nestled within a shaded woodland area.
The newer campground area features 23 premium campsites with water and electric hookups plus another 103 improved campsites with water and electric hookups. Four of the premium sites also have sewer connections. Most campsites are either pull-through or back-in.
The rustic lodge has a fireplace, air conditioning, bathroom with shower, 4 bunk beds, 2 queen sized beds, and a sleeper sofa for groups of up to 10 people.
Each of the 12 cabins have spectacular lake views and sleep up to 8 people. Each cabin has a double bed, 2 bunk beds, a sleeper sofa, and a fully equipped kitchen, living room, satellite TV, air conditioning, and scenic porch area. Pans, dishes, and utensils are provided but not linens or towels.
Fontainebleau State Park
Mandeville, LA 70448
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fontainebleau State Park:
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