We all know the coronavirus has taken its toll on so many things this year. Being able to socially distance is more important than ever, so I have three park recommendations to enjoy the great outdoors in St. Tammany Parish.

Park #1 – Fontainebleau State Park


This photo of the Fontainebleau Pier is so beautiful, it almost looks like a painting!

If you are looking for amazing sights while getting in some exercise, Fontainebleau is the place to be. The park is named after a recreation area near Paris beloved by the founder of Mandeville. Located along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, the 2,800-acre Fontainebleau offers plenty of activities for the entire family. We enjoyed a five-mile hike, which ended up taking a bit longer than usual due to our frequent stops to enjoy the sights and sounds of birds, flora and a few critters. The interpretive signs helped expand our nature knowledge. We ended the day watching the sun set over the pier. While we didn’t indulge, there are cabins and campsites to stay overnight. I have heard the stars are fabulous!

Park #2 – Fairview-Riverside State Park

Last weekend we were in search of the perfect picnic spot, and we instantly thought of Fairview-Riverside. Situated in Madisonville, the park features the beautiful Otis House (closed temporarily due to covid), fishing, hiking and of course, just the right spot for picnics. There are plenty of tables, however we decided to do it the old-fashioned way and spread out a blanket. Was the temperature above 90 degrees that day? Yes. Was enjoying phone-free time with our teenagers fishing (we released the one baby fish caught) worth it? Definitely.

Park #3 – Camp Salmen Nature Park

Now if you really want to call yourself a nature lover, spend a few hours at Camp Salmen in Slidell. With over three miles of trails to explore, the park boasts an incredible array of indigenous flowers, plants and trees. And yes, you will see animals, including some slithery creatures! This place is true Louisiana, ranging from flatwoods to swampland.

All three parks offer enjoyment for the entire family. You may even learn more than you desired, such as the variety of toads in Louisiana. I do love nature, but frogs not so much!