Words by Paige Townley
There’s plenty to appreciate about the Louisiana Northshore, also known as St. Tammany Parish. The area is comprised of multiple communities that each offer their own unique culture and history. But a big standout here is the Louisiana Northshore’s location. Situated just 40 minutes north of New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, the Northshore is just close enough to offer easy access to everything—including state parks, safari adventures, and swamp tours—but just far enough away to feel secluded and restorative. That’s what makes the Louisiana Northshore a great destination for family reunions. Featuring excellent hotels, activities galore, and restaurants to please any palate, the Northshore is the ultimate location to plan your next family reunion. Here's our three-day itinerary to please every member of the family.
Day 1: Meet and Greet
With so many hotel options offering every price point and amenity option, it’s easy to get the whole family checked in. Once everyone has arrived, host a get together at one of the spacious facilities that gets the comradery started with plenty to eat and drink. Or start the reunion with off-site activities where the whole family can enjoy bonding over memorable experiences. The Insta-gator Ranch and Hatchery lets everyone get up close and personal with baby alligators—not to mention snap that Instagram-worthy pose. Embark on a safari adventure at the Global Wildlife Center where you can get eye to eye with giraffes. Or, sit back, relax, and take in the stunning scenery on a guided flat-bottom boat tour of the Honey Island Swamp.
Day 2: Commence with the Family Fun
Celebrate family over a favorite iconic Louisiana meal: a crawfish or shrimp boil. Fontainebleau State Park is an ideal destination as it also offers a great beach, splash pad, and even hiking and kayaking opportunities. The Pontchartrain Yacht Club is also a frequently-booked mealtime location with an open-air facility downstairs and private event space upstairs that’s near the Mandeville lakefront playground and splash pad.
Walk off the meal with an afternoon of shopping. There are numerous historic districts ideal for strolling and splurging, including downtown Covington, Olde Towne Slidell, and Old Mandeville. Serious shoppers may even head over to the Fremaux Shopping Center, which houses a variety of department and specialty stores. Slidell, Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Covington also feature a number of farmers markets that allow for pursuing of locally-grown and prepared food and delicacies to enjoy, including Delta tamales, squeezed juices, and baked goods.
There are a number of banquet spaces fully capable of hosting the grand finale dinner of the reunion, such as Benedict’s Plantation, Fleur de Lis Event Center, Annadele’s Planation, Palmetto on the Bayou, and Trinity’s. Any selection is sure to provide plenty of space and everything needed to enjoy a fun family evening.
Day 3: Departure Day
With all the fun had over the weekend, departure day is sure to arrive quickly, but it’s not over before the whole family visits one of St. Tammany Parish’s local churches. There are a variety of area churches that even entertain requests to include favorite family hymns if contacted in advance.
The knowledgeable team at the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission is ready to assist with complimentary planning, welcome bags and even custom T-shirt sponsorships. Contact their team today to learn more.