10 Free Things to Do on Louisiana’s Northshore

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

Enjoy free family fun during the Sunset at the Landing concert series in Covington Louisiana
Sunset at the Landing concert series

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

Enjoy shopping for locally made and produce goods at the Mandeville Community Trailhead Market on the Louisiana Northshore
Mandeville Community Trailhead Market
  • 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

Shop for locally made items at the Abita Farmers' Market on Louisiana's Northshore
Abita Farmers Market
  • 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

Enjoy free outdoor music at the Sunset at the Landing Concert series in Covington, LA
Sunset at the Landing concert series
  • 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.

Hike or bike along the Tammany Trace Trail in Louisiana's Northshore
Tammany Trace Trail

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.

Take a stroll along the seawall on the Mandeville Lakefront in the Louisiana Northshore
Seawall stroll in Mandeville

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.

Paddleboard the Bogue Falaya River with Bayou Paddle Company on the Louisiana Northshore
Paddleboarding the Bogue Falaya River with Bayou Paddle Company, photo by Mark Salvetti

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.

Enjoy crabbing, fishing, and more on Lacombe's Lake Road
Lacombe’s Lake Road

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.

Enjoy a family fun play day at Kids Konnection Playground in Louisiana's Northshore
Kids Konnection 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.

Enjoy scenic beauty and wildlife along the walkways at the Northlake Nature Center on Louisiana's Northshore
Northlake Nature Center

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!

View amazing wildlife at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on Louisiana's Northshore
Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

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