FX Excursions

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Louisiana Family Fun North of New Orleans

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 6, 2023

© F11photo | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

The Northshore region of Louisiana is less than 40 minutes from New Orleans’ French Quarter, and a world apart. Small towns, outdoor activities and kid-friendly attractions give family travelers a lot of reasons to head north for a break from The Big Easy.


The first stop for adventurous families is Brooks’ Bike Shop in Covington, a block from the Tammany Trace Trailhead, to rent bikes or kayaks. Tammany Trace is a paved hike and bike trail between Covington and Slidell, an easy ride for kids. Stop at the trailhead in Mandeville to give kids time at Kids Konnection Playground.


If your family prefers paddling to pedaling, kayak on your own or take a kayak tour to explore the historic waterways of famous Honey Island Swamp, one of the wildest swamps in America. Honey Island Kayak Tours, in Pearl River, leads in-depth nature trips concentrating on the ecosystem and wildlife of this unique environment. Kids love paddling through this exotic world of moss-draped cypress trees with strange knobby roots.


Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tours, in Slidell, travel into the interior of the swamp on specially designed boats, with commentary on the swamp and its wildlife. On any of these adventures, you may see deer, Florida cougars, raccoons or bald eagle, and you’ll certainly see alligators. For an even closer alligator experience, take the kids to Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery in Covington, where they can see and even hold baby alligators.


Meet animals from other environments on a tram ride through Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, a 900-acre park where kangaroos, deer, camels, giraffes, zebras, bison and other wild animals roam free without predators. A highlight for kids is feeding giraffes.


Not all the attractions are outdoor adventures, and you’ll want to spend some time in the charming town of Slidell. Seeing this upbeat town today, it’s hard to imagine only 18 years ago, it was almost completely underwater in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rebuilt and restored, this village dating from the 1880s is again alive with shops, antiques galleries and family-friendly places to eat.


You won’t get the kids past The Olde Town Slidell Soda Shop, which has an on-site mini golf course, in addition to really good ice cream. Look for colorful murals of local life and scenes created by local artists. Pose for family photos with the new art display installed in August of 2023, featuring more than 80 brightly colored umbrellas suspended over First Street in the Antique District of Olde Towne Slidell.



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