From the time you stumble upon the ruins of the old sugar
mill, drive past the historic oak grove and then discover
the vast expanse of Lake Pontchartrain, you'll realize this
park is something special.
The crumbling brick ruins of a sugar mill built in 1829 by
Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, founder of the nearby town
of Mandeville, suggest an interesting history for this site,
and indeed there is. The wealthy Marigny developed this area
across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans as a sugar plantation
until 1852. The plantation income helped support his lavish
lifestyle. He named his large land holding Fontainebleau after
the beautiful forest near Paris, a favorite recreation area
of the French kings.
Along the Lakeshore
The day use area of the 2,800-acre park is located on
the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Numerous picnic sites, complete
with tables and grills, and an adjacent pavilion are nestled
under the oak trees in sight of the lake. On a clear day,
visitors can see the lake dotted with multi-colored sailboats
of all sizes and types. Fontainebleau contains an area accessible
to Lake Pontchartrain from where wind surfers and small non-motorized
boats may be launched.
The sandy beach is a delight for sunbathers, while the nearby
swimming pool offers refreshment from the summer heat. Two
pavilions are located along both sides of the pool's bathhouse.
The pool is open six days a week during the summer. It is
closed on Mondays, except on holidays.
Large cleared areas next to the picnic sections are handy
for sporting events. An old railroad track that runs through
the park has been converted into the Tammany Trace as a part
of the Rails to Trails program. It is a wonderful route for
cycling, hiking and in-line skating. The park's nature trail
is a favorite of nature lovers. Interpretive signs along the
trail will help you identify many of the common trees and
shrubs. Always be on the lookout for birds and other animals.
Over 400 different species live in and around Fontainebleau.
Some species to look for include the endangered red cockaded
woodpecker, turkey, opossum,squirrel and other native Louisiana
The Fontainebleau Birding Guide is a good resource for birding
enthusiasts to identify the numerous species found in the
area. Bordered on three sides by water--Lake Pontchartrain,
Bayou Cane and Bayou Castine--and characterized by a convergence
of diverse ecosystems, it has a multitude of habitats for
birds. Fontainebleau offers an excellent opportunity for you
to discover the wildlife of the marsh, pines, mixed hardwoods,
open fields and lake. Join the park naturalist for a variety
of programs or hikes which bring these resources to life.
Spend the Night
For the overnight visitor, Fontainebleau has several different
types of accommodations.
In the camping area, there are 126 improved campsites with
water, electricity, barbeque grills and picnic tables at each.
An adjacent bathhouse and dump station are also provided.
In addition, there are 37 unimproved campsites and a primitive
camping area for those who want to "rough it." There
are also 200 undesignated campsites.
The park also offers three group camps. Camp Number 1, which
can sleep up to 150 people, and Camp Number 2, which sleeps
30, are located close together near the beachfront. A nearby
swimming pool is available for guests at the three group camps
and lodge. Camp Number 3 is located in another part of the
park and can accommodate 65 people. A fishing pier with freshwater
fishing are available at this camp. All group camps include
dormitory sleeping areas and fully equipped kitchens.
There is also a primitive camping area, the Tepee area, which
is used by Scouts and other organizations. Located near Camps
Number 1 and 2, this area has access to running water and
a bathhouse, but no other improvements are provided.
Just across U.S. Highway 190 from the main part of the park
is the Fontainebleau State Park Lodge. The Lodge includes
sleeping facilities for ten people, with a maximum capacity
of twelve, as well as a kitchen and two baths.
This park, named after a place for kings, is truly fit for
a king. Come visit us and receive the royal treatment at Fontainebleau
Fort Pike State Historic Site --(adjacent to Old Spanish Trail
on Old US 90, approximately 23 miles east of downtown New
Orleans)--This historic masonry fort was completed in 1827
to defend New Orleans. Stroll through arched casemates and
stand overlooking the Rigolets as sentries once did, enjoy
living history programs, visit the museum or picnic at the
Fairview-Riverside State Park
--(2 miles east of Madisonville on LA Hwy. 22)--Nestled among
magnificent live oaks and situated on the cool clear waters
of the Tchefuncte River, this gem of a state park features
81 improved campsites, excellent fishing, canoeing and picnicking.
A nearby boat ramp offers access to the park and Lake Pontchartrain.
Town of Mandeville --(I-10 to US 190 north of New Orleans,
on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain)--Take the longest
bridge over water in the world to scenic byways, swamp tours,
antiques, shopping, festivals and trails.
Town of Madisonville --(LA 22 northwest of US 190 on north
shore of Lake Pontchartrain)--Nostalgic river town of Tchefuncte
River with great restaurants, antiques, boating and specialty
Town of Covington --(I-12 to US 190)--A charming town of
specialty shops, antiques, scenic byways, festivals, trails,
campgrounds and B&Bs. A short drive from New Orleans and
the Gulf Coast.
St. Bernard State Park --(18
miles southeast of New Orleans at Poydras)--Located on the
Mississippi River, just minutes from New Orleans, the park
features 51 improved campsites, a covered pavilion with grill,
picnic tables, playground, swimming pool and nature trail
in a tranquil and quiet setting.
Bayou Segnette State Park --(7777
Westbank Expressway, Westwego)--Minutes from New Orleans,
the park offers 20 waterfront cabins, 98 improved campsites,
a group camp, wave pool, conference center, playgrounds, picnic
tables and pavilions, a large boat launch, and abundant wildlife.
Tammany Trace --(Koop Drive, Mandeville)--Thirty-one miles
of this "Rails-to-Trails" conversion are open from
Slidell to Abita Springs. The Trace is a popular spot for
cyclists, horseback riders, runners, skaters and walkers.
New Orleans and the Historic
French Quarter -- Visit downtown New Orleans' museums,
casinos, Aquarium of the Americas, the Riverwalk, or take
a cruise on the Mississippi River.
Louisiana State Museum --(French Quarter, New Orleans)--One
of New Orleans' top ten attractions, the State Museum is comprised
of the Cabildo, Presbytère, 1850 House and the Old
Antique Shopping in Ponchatoula
--"America's Antique City."
Swamp Tours --Contact local guides for tours of Honey Island
Pearl River Wildlife Management Area --(2 miles east of Slidell
in St. Tammany Parish)--This 34,896-acre area is managed for
wildlife and includes a cypress-tupelo swamp and hardwoods.
Visitors may enjoy fishing, canoeing, boating, birding, crawfishing,
hunting, a nature walk and rifle range.
Fontainebleau State Park --(P.O. Box 8925, Mandeville, LA
70470-8925; 985-624-4443 or 1-888-677-3668) is located southeast
of Mandeville on US 190.
The park embraces 2,800 acres on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Camping, a nature trail, group camps, a lodge, swimming, a
playground, fishing and the ruins of a plantation sugar mill
are a few of the reasons why visitors return to Fontainebleau
year after year. To reserve a campsite, group camp, picnic
pavilion or the lodge, call 1-877-CAMP-N-LA toll free (877-226-7652).
Next Park> Grand
Isle State Park