Lake Pontchartrain Tours

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At 630 square miles (1,632 square kilometers), Lake Pontchartrain is one of the largest bodies of water in the US. It’s beloved by locals as a place to fish, sail, and swim, and its shores and waters shelter a huge variety of wildlife and marine life, including blue crabs, Atlantic stingrays, pelicans, ospreys, and even bull sharks.
 
The Basics
Technically, Lake Pontchartrain is not actually a lake at all. It’s an estuary that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever its official designation, it makes a fun day trip from the city of New Orleans, whether for a fishing excursion or pleasure cruise, as part of an airboat swamp tour, or simply for a shoreline picnic.
 
There are a number of lakeside beaches open to the public, including Fontainebleau State Park on the North Shore. The North Shore is accessible by a 24-mile (39-kilometer) causeway (one of the longest bridges in the world), which connects the shoreline communities with downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • For a great photo opportunity, drive across the causeway at sunset when the lake reflects the colors in the sky to impressive effect.
  • There’s a pleasant running/walking path that follows the route of Lakeshore Drive past the University of New Orleans.
  • If you drive across the causeway, plan to stop off for a bite to eat at one of the pretty lakeside restaurants in the town of Madisonville along the North Shore.
 
How to Get There
The lake sits to the north of New Orleans city. Most people access the lake via I-610, using the West End exit. From there a scenic road—Lakeshore Drive—hugs the shore through the Metairie district and is ideal for a sightseeing drive. To reach the North Shore, take the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
 
When to Get There
Lake Pontchartrain is publicly accessible at all times. The shoreline beaches are busier on weekends when local families come to enjoy picnics.
 
Exploring the Bayou
Many New Orleans visitors first glimpse the lake on the way to explore the region’s swamps and bayous. From airboat swamp tours to kayaking and more, bayous are an essential part of Louisiana life, and each one is home to an incredibly diverse ecosystem. On a bayou visit, you might see alligators, many types of birds, nutria (large rodents a similar to groundhogs), and the famous stands of cypress trees covered with low-hanging Spanish moss.
Location
Address: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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5 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Small-Group Airboat Swamp Adventure and Plantation Tour from New Orleans

Take a wild ride through the bayous of Cajun Country on this 2‐hour airboat adventure from New Orleans. In a small group, wind through tree‐lined swampland and spot abundant local wildlife, including nutria, alligators and giant catfish, and stop at Destrehan Plantation to get a taste of the elegant antebellum south.
  • Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
From
USD155.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
From
USD155.00

Whitney Plantation, Museum of Slavery and St. Joseph Plantation Tour

Delve into the history of slavery and the plantations of Louisiana on a 5.5-hour small-group tour from New Orleans. Drive past Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River to the Whitney Plantation’s Louisiana Museum of Slavery. Learn about the lives of the enslaved people who worked there and on plantations throughout the South during a 90-minute tour of the museum and restored buildings. Next, head to the Creole-style St Joseph Plantation for a tour of the working sugar plantation where the movie ’12 Years A Slave’ was filmed.
  • Duration: 6 hours
From
USD120.00
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  • Duration: 6 hours
From
USD120.00

New Orleans City Bus Tour

Experience the highlights of New Orleans on this 2.5-hour sightseeing bus tour, including the bustling French Quarter, the opulent Garden District and St. Charles Avenue. Absorb the sights and sounds of the city as you learn about its fascinating history and eclectic contemporary culture from your friendly local guide.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
USD44.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
From
USD44.00

City of New Orleans and Katrina Recovery Tour

Immerse yourself in the culture, history, and landscape of vibrant New Orleans on this half-day tour with a small group of 15 people or fewer. This experience combines elements from several disparate tours, including those focusing on architecture, the Garden District, historic cemeteries, the French Quarter, and recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Hotel pickup included.
  • Duration: 3 hours
From
USD49.00
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  • Duration: 3 hours
From
USD49.00

Laura Plantation Tour

One of America’s top-rated historical tours, this guided visit to Laura Plantation revisits one of the darkest chapters in US history. Learn about the Creole women and children who once toiled as slaves in this early 19th-century estate, and enter the original slave cabins where Br'er Rabbit’s famous folktales were recorded. Tours include transfers from New Orleans, admission tickets, and live commentary.
  • Duration: 5 hours
From
USD65.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
USD65.00


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