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Lake Pontchartrain
Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain

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New Orleans, Louisiana

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.

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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.

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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.

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Trip ideas

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans

Best Weekend Getaways from New Orleans


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.

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