Louisiana Family Bike Ride
Where to Start
The best spot is at the Mandeville Trailhead, near the middle of the rail-to-trail path that cuts across Lake Pontchartrain’s Northshore from Slidell to Covington.
For maps and other info, visit tammanytrace.org. You can bring your own bike or pick up a cruiser at the Kickstand Bike Rental in Mandeville.
kickstand.bz or call 985/626-9300
Where to Ride for a Morning:
Beginning at the Mandeville Trailhead (pictured), near the Old Mandeville Café, ride southeast 2 miles to Fontainebleau State Park. The 2,800-acre park features a new visitors center, as well as the brick ruins of a sugar mill that Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, the founder of Mandeville, built in 1829. His major residence was in New Orleans, but Bernard liked to spend most of his time up on the Northshore, cooled by the Lake Pontchartrain breezes. The park makes the ideal spot for a picnic overlooking the lake and the surrounding countryside.
crt.state.la.us/parks or 985/624-4443
Where to Ride for a Day:
Head north from the Mandeville Trailhead for about 41⁄2 miles to the Tammany Trace Headquarters. Housed in a green caboose, the headquarters serves as an information center and park ranger station (985/867-9490). Then follow the trail foranother 31⁄2 miles across the Abita River into downtown Abita Springs.
A couple of miles west of Abita Springs, you’ll find the Abita Brewery (pictured) on Barbee Road. You can take a brewery tour (if you’re 21 or older) and sample a few of Abita’s brews in the brewery Tasting Room.
abita.com or 985/893-3143
Where to Eat:
You can’t beat the muffulettas (pictured) at the Abita Brew Pub in downtown Abita Springs. Made with airy, fresh bread, the sandwiches are stuffed with salami, cheese, and olives ($8.95) and taste great paired with a rich, malty Abita Amber. Relax at a table by the window, and watch as other riders pass by.
Where to Stay:
Book one of the dozen waterfront cottages at Fontainebleau State Park (pictured). Styled like the fishing camp cabins that once dotted the lakeshore, the cottages are on raised platforms with kitchens and porches (request a screened one).