Melding history and natural beauty, this 2,800-acre state park is the perfect spot to get a sense of place when visiting the Northshore. Once a sugar plantation founded by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville (who also developed the nearby town that bears his name), the park charms with huge moss-draped oaks, the sight of deer foraging in the morning light and the ruins of Marigny’s sugar mill, built in 1829.
The park offers premium, improved and unimproved campsites, a lodge, and group camps. But, best of all, Fontainebleau has 12 deluxe cabins, all built camp-style on pilings out over the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. The cabins, which sleep up to 8 people, are accessed by wooden walkways and feature porches, kitchens and, yes, a TV. You can fall asleep to the sounds of waves gently lapping below, wake up to coffee enjoyed on the porch overlooking the water.
When (or if) you’re ready to pull yourself away from the view, you can explore the park’s nature trails or spend a lazy afternoon on the little sandy beach that has been a favorite of families for decades. The water here is calm and shallow, gently sloping from a few inches to about two feet deep, perfect for young children. Also great for kids: the water playground with splash pad, open year-round. Some guests bring (or rent) kayaks and bicycles, great for getting around the park or checking out the Tammany Trace bike path that spends part of its 31 miles winding through Fontainebleau.
The park is located only minutes from nearby towns of Mandeville and Lacombe, where you’ll find restaurants, groceries and even kayak, paddleboard and bicycle rentals. Fontainebleau has become a popular movie location in recent years because its setting is lovely and quintessentially Louisiana.
It’s a great base for your Northshore vacation.