Priceless experiences await in St. Tammany Parish. No, really—it doesn’t cost you a dime, a nickel, or a penny to enjoy some of our favorite things in the towns of Louisiana’s Northshore. You’ll probably come home with a complimentary tan and toned limbs to boot (and who doesn’t love that?).
Mingle with the locals at community events
There’s no purchase necessary at these outdoor celebrations of food, music, and culture. Though, you’ll be saving so much on entertainment you’ll probably have plenty of room in your budget for some local food and artwork.
1. Saturday Farmers Markets
- The Covington Farmers Market: Join the convivial crowd on Saturdays and you can enjoy live music while you munch on free samples from a local chef. The best treats in life are free!
- Camellia City Farmers Market: Check out this market in Historic Olde Town Slidell. Browse the booths, and get a cultural buzz by chatting with a local Artist in Residence.
- Mandeville Community Trailhead Market: Stop by this morning market for more music, food, and fun before you hit the trail in Mandeville (and you should because if you did the markets right, you totally indulged).
2. Sunday Farmers Markets
- Abita Springs Art and Farmers Market: On Sundays you’ll find even more live music (we like to jam, ok?), munchies, and some free crafts and games to keep the kids entertained in Abita Springs. When the kids are happy, mama’s happy (even though it should the other way around).
3. Community Concert Events
- Mandeville Live!: From March to May, Mandeville hosts a free Friday concert series at the Mandeville Trailhead. Bring your own blanket or chair and enjoy some local music that sounds a little sweeter at the bargain price of exactly zero dollars.
- Rockin’ the Rails: Want another free show? Catch one every Thursday in April and October at the Covington Trailhead.
- Sunset at the Landing: An Encore in Covington! Every 3rd Friday (March-October), you can bring your own refreshments to a concert event on Columbia Street in Covington.
The Great Outdoors doesn’t charge an entry fee
Save your money, stretch your legs, and enjoy a freeing and natural experience (puns always intended).
4. Bike or hike the Tammany Trace
It’s Louisiana, so you’ll be sweating whether you sprint or mosey. You might as well throw an intentional workout on the itinerary. The Tammany Trace is a 31-mile former rail line turned paved trail, and you can enjoy as many (free) scenic miles as you want. Hop on or off at any of the trailheads from downtown Covington, through Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Lacombe, to Slidell.
5. Seawall stroll in Mandeville
Take a romantic turn along Lake Pontchartrain. What’s more scenic than mossy live oaks and sunsets? Nothing. The answer is nothing.
6. Float your boat … anywhere
You can’t throw a rock without hitting a bayou, lake, or river around here, so bring your own canoe or paddleboard (or rent one) and explore the many bodies of water in St. Tammany parish.
7. Go crabbing on Lake Road in Lacombe
Grab a string, a scoop net, and your chicken leftovers from last night and try your luck at the boat launch at the end of Lake Road (LA 434). If you’re a newbie, stop by Bayou Adventure outfitters and ask for advice and gear.
8. Play on the playground
Let the kids run wild at the fenced, shaded, and clean Kids Konnection Playground on Koop Drive in Mandeville, or let them off their leashes at the Abita Springs Tourist Park Playground.
9. Northlake Nature Center
Don’t get offended if locals suggest that you take a hike. Just east of Mandeville you can break out the binoculars and do some bird watching on the boardwalk and trails along Bayou Castine.
10. Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
A short walk along the Boy Scout Boardwalk alone will take you through several different ecosystems, and you can register for a free 2-3 hour canoe tour for further exploration!
Local’s Tip: The canoe tour is first come first serve and the tours fill up fast so plan ahead!
Need more information to help plan your trip to the towns of Louisiana’s Northshore? You’ll find everything you need for your St. Tammany Parish exploration right here.
All photos courtesy of LouisianaNorthshore.com