Florida Parishes is a region in the eastern part of Louisiana, running from the east bank of the Mississippi River to the Mississippi state line. It includes the state capital of Baton Rouge and the area on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, just north of Greater New Orleans.
The "Florida Parishes" got their name because they were part of the Spanish colonial providence of West Florida until they were made part of Louisiana in 1810. A Louisiana "Parish" is the equivalent of a "county" in other states.
St. Tammany Parish is the easternmost parish, along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, across the lake from New Orleans. With an abundance of pine forests and gently rolling hills, it has been a popular spot for New Orleanians taking a break from city life for more than a century and a half. The area has experienced a boom that has brought a lot of suburban style development and modern conveniences, but St. Tammany still has an abundance of spots with the relaxing atmosphere of charming old Louisiana towns of yesteryear.
Interstate 10 comes in from the west to Baton Rouge and from the east to Slidell. I-55 comes south from Jackson, Mississippi, and I-59 comes southwest from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Several roads connect from Greater New Orleans.
- The old town of Covington.
- Tour the brewery in Abita Springs.
- Fontainebleau State Park – popular park stretching from the lakeshore into the woods. Access from Highway 190 just east of Mandeville.
- Have a meal or beverage overlooking the lakefront in old Mandeville.
- Tammany Trace. Bike, hike, or horse ride along this scenic trail that was reclaimed from an old railroad right of way and runs between Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville, Fontainebleau State Park, Lacombe, and Slidell.
- InstaGator. A working alligator farm 7 minutes drive north east of Abita Springs.
Beer drinkers should be sure to try Louisiana's favorite, Abita Beer, especially when it's on tap. It's brewed at Abita Springs and comes in several varieties.