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Sometimes we just need to get away from New Orleans for a minute. Luckily there’s a land of pine trees and chill out spots just across the Lake. We picked some of our favorite trips beyond the Causeway as a “choose your own adventure” guide to the Northshore.

Weekend In Mandeville


Trey Yuen

600 N Causeway Blvd
Mandeville, LA 70448

Our first stop off the Causeway is lunch at Trey Yuen. The Wong brothers have been operating in the area since 1981, first in Hammond and opening this spot a few years later. Theirs were the first Chinese restaurants in the region to use fresh Louisiana seafood in its dishes. Be sure to order at least one dish with Tong Cho in the title. Also, try local seafood dishes whose main ingredients include oysters, alligator, trout, or crawfish. You'll be eating fresh local product served up Cantonese style.

Marvilla Guesthouse

2013 Claiborne St
Mandeville, LA 70448

Next, check in at Marvilla. This renovated 1870s guesthouse is a block from the lake and smack dab in the middle of where you’ll be spending the next few days. The rooms all feature original heart pine floors and beadboard ceilings. The porch at this place is one of the best we’ve ever experienced. Perfect for relaxing with a cocktail, a good book, or better yet both.


246 Girod St
Mandeville, LA 70448

Nuvolari’s is an old school Creole Italian restaurant. Stick to the basics, order a bottle of wine, and you’ll be doing alright.

Don’z On The Lake

1951 Lakeshore Dr
Mandeville, LA 70448

Don’z is the kind of dive bar we love best. That means a loud and dingy barroom, ice cold beer, a loaded jukebox, and a deep cast of local characters. The 1970s erotica lining the walls puts it over the top. Sit at one of the large tables facing the Lakefront and drink a pitcher of beer as the sun goes down. At that exact moment you’ll understand why you’re there.

The Scotts'

201 Carroll St
Mandeville, LA 70448

Wake up early for breakfast at The Scott’s. The food and coffee are just average but the space is exceptional. Be sure to sit outside at a sidewalk table if weather allows for the maximum Mandeville experience.

Shiver Shack

2020 Woodrow St
Mandeville, LA 70448

The Shiver Shack at the Mandeville Trailhead is an amazing combination snoball, bbq, pizza, po-boy, and hamburger stand. They also rent out bicycles. We suggest renting one and taking a bike ride along the Tammany Trace.

Fontainebleau State Park

62883 LA-1089
Mandeville, LA 70443

Fontainebleau is about 15 minutes by bike from the Mandeville Trailhead. You'll find a few easily bikeable trails with nice views of lakeside marshes and bird watching. Plus great camp sites.

Ruby's Roadhouse

840 Lamarque St
Mandeville, LA 70448

End your trip at this historic roadhouse. There’s live entertainment nightly, lots of interesting locals, and all the ice cold Abita Beer you can drink. Bonus: step out back for a fantastic patio situation.


Overnight in Downtown Covington

Walker Percy's Waffle House

110 Holiday Blvd
Covington, LA 70433

On your drive into town along Highway 190 be sure to stop at this Waffle House to pay tribute to Walker Percy. He claimed that his two favorite restaurants were Galatoire’s and Waffle House. While the two may seem drastically different Percy believed they actually share common ground. The food is good and consistent, the conversation at the next table is always interesting, and both provide excellent people watching. He had breakfast or lunch at this Waffle House just about every day of his adult life.

Southern Hotel

428 E Boston St
Covington, LA 70433

The Southern Hotel opened in 1907 but stopped operating as a hotel in the 1960s. It then transitioned into a courthouse and municipal building, home of the beloved and much missed Tugy's Bar. In 2014 it underwent a historic renovation to convert back to a hotel. You'll find comfortable rooms and great public spaces here including a lively bar. Highly recommended.

Covington Farmer’s Market

609 N Columbia St
Covington, LA 70433

The Saturday morning Covington Farmer’s Market features a wide variety of vendors. They include Grow Farms, Coast Roast Coffee, and Blood River Honey. Don't miss the Kombucha Girl stand.


Smith and Sons

308 N Columbia St
Covington, LA 70433

H.J. Smith and Sons General Store, founded in 1876, is the oldest continuously operating business in St. Tammany Parish. Smith and Sons is a half-museum, half-general store hybrid. The museum side includes antique coffins from the days of the yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans, a wide variety of taxidermy, and an actual human skeleton. In the general store you'll find tools and hardware, outdoor gear, and a wide variety of other, "dry goods."

Roy's Knife and Archery

319 N Columbia St
Covington, LA 70433

Stop in to see Mr. Roy for camping, fishing, and hunting gear including an impressive collection of knives. Stay for the wisdom and stories he will impart on you (free with purchase).


515 E Boston St
Covington, LA 70433

Vazquez offers an interesting combination of heavy plate lunches, po-boys, and Cuban food. You can’t go wrong with their Cubano sandwich served with a side of black beans and plantains. Start with the jalitos if you’re feeling gluttonous.

Covington Brewhouse

226 East Lockwood Street
Covington, Louisiana 70433

Covington Brewhouse has been producing excellent craft beers for over a decade. Stop in on Saturdays for brewery tours and pours from legendary head and beer maniac Mike Ogden (On, Nut, Norco Lapalco).

Del Porto Ristorante 

501 E Boston St
Covington, LA 70433

If we’re honest with ourselves del Porto is kind of the whole reason we ever go to Covington anyway. It’s not only the best restaurant in the parish, it may be one of the best in the entire region. We like to order a bottle of wine from their well-curated list, then tuck into a long chain of dishes. Order at least one thing per diner from each category -- appetizer, salad, primi, secondi, etc -- and share. The cooking here is transcendent and will leave you feeling completely blissed out.

Bear's Po-Boys

128 W 21st Ave
Covington, LA 70433

No trip to Covington is complete without a stop at Bear’s. There’s only really one choice here - a dressed roast beef po-boy. However, if you’re feeling adventurous you could go for the Ferdie which features grilled chisesi ham and swiss cheese on top of Bear’s “best in class” roast beef.

Bogue Chitto and Back

Bogue Chitto State Park

7049 State Park Blvd
Franklinton, LA 70438

Just north of Folsom lies the relatively new Bogue Chitto State Park where you’ll find some of the most varied and interesting terrain in the area. There’s a 14 mile hilly and moderately strenuous trail that goes from river side prairies to small red dirt canyons to cypress swamps. You could easily turn this into an all-day tubing adventure or an overnight trip. You can rent a tube on site or stay in one of their well-appointed, modern cabins.

Pizza Man

1248 N Collins Blvd
Covington, LA 70433

A friend recently put it best when he said, “Eating at Pizza Man is a privilege.” Order The Pizza Palace, Wow!, or Board pizza and a pitcher of Abita Beer and you’ll understand why. This place is a temple to pizza perfection. It’s also the perfect stop after a long day of outdoor exploration.

Far Out In Abita Springs

Abita Springs Cafe

22132 Level St
Abita Springs, LA 70420

Get to town early and hit this spot for a great heavy breakfast featuring giant biscuits and Abita Roasting Co. coffee. Then head straight over to the...

Abita Mystery House and the UCM Museum

22275 LA-36
Abita Springs, LA 70420

There's more to the Abita Mystery House and the UCM Museum than we can share here. All we can tell you is this tangle of southern weirdness and crackpot Americana is fully worth the trip to Abita.

Rosie's Tavern

22067 LA-59
Abita Springs, LA 70420

After the Mystery House stop in for a beer at this classic hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Beats the Abita Brew Pub by a mile.

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