Exploring Bayous, Lakes, and Trails Beyond New Orleans

Exploring the Bayous, Lakes, and Trails Beyond New Orleans

Today’s show is the first one where we venture beyond New Orleans! We’ll be traveling to the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, where we’ll focus on the outdoors. Come along as I explore Cane Bayou by kayak with Chad Almquist and Matt May of Canoe and Trail Adventures.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to paddle along a Louisiana bayou? Want to see wildlife including turtles, heron, and the occasional alligator or snake up close? Would you love to see the New Orleans skyline from the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain?

If so, this episode is for you!

Places to Visit

While we spent a lot of the discussion focused on Cane Bayou, there are many more places to explore across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Visit the shores of the lake from Fontainebleau State Park. There, you can wander the park as a day visitor, or plan ahead and rent one of their cabins.

Cane Bayou runs directly between Fontainebleau State Park and Big Branch Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is an interesting place to hike, hunt, and explore. Look for the trees with the white rings at their base. This is your sign there is a woodpecker’s nest in the branches above!

If cycling or running is your thing, the Tammany Trace is your spot. This 30+ mile path connects many of the communities along Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore. As an added bonus, you’ll find places to eat and to enjoy a beverage along or very close to the trail. My favorite areas include Abita Springs and Old Covington. Nan’s Cafe, where we recorded this week’s show is just off the path in Mandeville.

Where to Stay

Fontainebleau State Park – the cabins are in high demand. If you want to rent one, plan on making a reservation several months n advance. You can also rent a campsite on the grounds.

Southern Hotel – this 40 room hotel is the place to stay on the Northshore if you want to pamper yourself in luxury. Located in downtown Covington, the location is easy to get to from the Tammany Chase or the highway. Close by, you’ll find several excellent options for meals, as well as small boutiques for shopping. The Covington Brewhouse is a short walk.

B&Bs – the Northshore is home to a wide array of bed and breakfasts.

Where to Eat

More to follow, but for now….

Nan’s Cafe – our host for today’s show, this casual eatery on Highway 190 in Mandeville, is excellent for lunch or dinner. Try the fried chicken on Tuesdays and do not skip the boudin egg rolls!

Just Chillin’ Too – across the patio from Nan’s is where you’ll find this spot. They offer both homemade ice cream and the traditional New Orleans dessert, shaved ice snoballs!

Oxlot 9 in the southern Hotel is an upscale bistro.

Just across the street is Del Porto Ristorante. Del Porto’s has terrific fresh pastas, and excellent grilled entrees. The double cut pork chop is delicious! I recently had the sautéed sweet potato soup that was beyond words.


Across the Lake From New Orleans, you’ll find a terrific community of craft breweries and brewpubs. Be sure to check out Abita Beer, Chafunkta, and the Covington Brewhouse. Many of the local restuarants will have these and other local beers on tap or in bottles.


You can find Canoe and Trail Adventures at their website and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (all @canoeandtrail).  Book a tour on their website, and check out the wonderful photography on their Instagram feed.

Thank You

Thanks to Chad Almquist and Matt May for joining me on the podcast and inviting me to take a kayak tour of Cane Bayou. Matt was a wonderful guide and helped bring the bayou to life with his knowledge and stories.

A special thanks to Bobby Folse at Nan’s Cafe. We showed up announced. Not only did Bobby welcome us, but he proceeded to feed the three of us and kept our glasses full.

Lynne over at Just Chillin’ Too helped cap off a wonderful afternoon with a delicious scoop (or two!) of homemade ice cream. Thanks!

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