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Love Where You Live - The Ultimate Guide to Summer Family Fun in Sportman's Paradise

May 13, 2024

As the school year winds down and summer draws near, families in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi are always looking for ways to entertain the family during the summer months. With an abundance of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and family-friendly activities within reach, there's no shortage of ways to make the most of the season. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into a myriad of options for summer fun, including biking along the Tammany Trace, fishing excursions in the various lakes and rivers, berry picking from area farms, tubing and kayaking down local rivers and bayous, and exploring local festivals and happenings.

Discovering Sportsman's Paradise:

This unique region earned its nickname for its abundant natural resources, diverse ecosystems, and unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation. From the sprawling wetlands and marshes to the local beaches, rivers and lakes, Sportsman's Paradise offers a playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Living in this area encourages embracing a lifestyle centered around outdoor adventure and recreational activities. From fishing and hunting to boating and hiking, there's something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy in this picturesque region. Whether you're an avid angler, a hunting enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys spending time in nature, this region has something to offer everyone. With miles of coastline, countless lakes and rivers, and vast expanses of wilderness to explore, there's no shortage of opportunities to connect with the great outdoors.

Biking Adventures on the Tammany Trace:

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Louisiana's Northshore, the Tammany Trace offers families the perfect opportunity to embark on biking adventures. Stretching 31 miles from Covington to Slidell, this former railway line boasts paved trails that wind through lush forests, charming towns, and serene bayous. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a casual rider, the Tammany Trace provides a scenic backdrop for leisurely bike rides, picnics, and nature walks.

Cast a Line: Fishing Excursions:

For families who love the great outdoors, Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi are renowned for their world-class fishing opportunities. Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, there are plenty of options to reel in the big catch. Spend a day fishing on Lake Pontchartrain, where you can hook bass, catfish, and crappie, or venture out on a deep-sea fishing charter in the Gulf of Mexico for the chance to catch redfish, speckled trout, and more. Join a guided fishing charter or venture out on your own to discover your favorite fishing spots.

Berry Picking at Local Farms:

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in the sweet bounty of fresh berries, and luckily, there are several u-pick farms in the region where families can enjoy a day of berry picking. From strawberries to blueberries and blackberries, these farms offer a fun and educational experience for kids while providing an opportunity to savor the flavors of the season. There’s also often livestock for the kids to interact with. After filling your baskets, head home to whip up delicious homemade jams, pies, and smoothies with your freshly picked berries.

Boating and Water Sports:

Take to the water and explore the region's scenic lakes, rivers, and beaches by boat. Whether you prefer kayaking along tranquil waterways, taking the pontoon for a sunset cruise, or jet skiing in Lake Pontchartrain, there's no shortage of water-based activities to enjoy in Sportsman's Paradise. Spend the day cruising on the lake, exploring hidden coves, or anchoring at local beaches for a picnic lunch. There are also tons of local restaurants, offering mouthwatering local fares and lively music along the way.

Exploring Local Lakes, Beaches, and Rivers:

•Mississippi River: The majestic Mississippi River winds its way through the region, offering stunning views and endless opportunities for exploration. Take a riverboat cruise along its historic waters, paddle a kayak or canoe through its serene backwaters, or simply relax on its scenic banks and watch the world float by. The beauty of the Mississippi River is truly incredible and it's a must-see destination for anyone visiting the region.

•Lake Pontchartrain: Known as one of the largest inland bodies of water in the United States, Lake Pontchartrain offers a wide range of recreational activities, including fishing and boating. Pack a picnic and spend the day lounging on the shores of this iconic lake or launch your boat for a day of exploring its vast expanse.

•Mississippi Gulf Coast: With its miles of sandy beaches and sparkling waters, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a haven for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Whether you're building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply soaking up the sun, the Gulf Coast offers endless opportunities for fun and relaxation. Take a dip in the cool waters of the Gulf, try your hand at surf fishing, or rent a jet ski for an adrenaline-pumping ride.

•Bogue Chitto River: Embark on a tubing adventure down the scenic Bogue Chitto River and experience the natural beauty of Sportsman's Paradise from a unique perspective. Drift along the gentle currents, take in the lush scenery, and cool off in the refreshing waters of this picturesque river. Pack a cooler with snacks and drinks, gather your friends and family, and enjoy a leisurely float down one of the region's most beloved waterways. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen!

Explore Wildlife at Local Zoos and Aquariums:

For a dose of wildlife adventure without venturing too far from home, visit one of the region's zoos or aquariums. Encounter exotic animals from around the world at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, where you can stroll through lush habitats and marvel at creatures big and small. Alternatively, dive into the depths of the ocean at the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, where interactive exhibits and immersive experiences bring marine life to life for visitors of all ages.

Splash into Summer: Water Parks and Splash Pads:

When temperatures soar, there's no better way to cool off than with a visit to a water park or splash pad. Treat the kids to a day of aquatic fun at Blue Bayou Water Park in Baton Rouge, where thrilling slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. Closer to home, check out the splash pads at local parks and recreation centers, where little ones can splash and play all day while parents relax in the shade.

Discover History and Culture: Museums and Historic Sites:

Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the region with a visit to a local museum or historic site. Explore the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, where exhibits showcase the state's diverse heritage, from Native American artifacts to Civil War memorabilia. Alternatively, embark on a journey through Mississippi's past at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, where powerful exhibits shed light on the struggle for equality and justice.

Family-Friendly Festivals and Events:

From music festivals to food fairs and everything in between, summer in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi is filled with family-friendly festivals and events. Attend the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival in New Orleans, where you can dance to the rhythms of Cajun and Zydeco music while savoring authentic Louisiana cuisine. Alternatively, head to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for the Biloxi Seafood Festival, where fresh seafood, live music, and family-friendly activities abound.

Local Festivals and Happenings:

1.  Bayou Country Superfest: Country music fans won't want to miss the Bayou Country Superfest, held in Baton Rouge in May. This annual festival brings together top country artists for a weekend of unforgettable performances, tailgating, and Southern hospitality.

2.  Mississippi Blues & Heritage Festival: Immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage of the Mississippi Delta at the Mississippi Blues & Heritage Festival. Held in Clarksdale in June, this legendary event showcases the best of blues music with performances by local and national artists.

3.  Cajun Heartland State Fair: Experience the excitement of a classic Southern fair at the Cajun Heartland State Fair, held in Lafayette in May. Enjoy thrilling rides, delicious fair food, live music, and family-friendly entertainment at this annual event.

4.  Bayou Boogaloo Festival: Celebrate summer on the bayou at the Bayou Boogaloo Festival in New Orleans. Held in June, this free music and arts festival features live performances, food vendors, and a unique floating stage on Bayou St. John.

5.  Mississippi Gulf Coast Music Festival: Sing and dance to live music on the shores of the Gulf Coast at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Music Festival. Held in July, this multi-day event showcases a diverse lineup of local and national artists across multiple stages.

6.  St. Tammany Crab Festival: Get cracking at the St. Tammany Crab Festival, held in August in Slidell. Feast on fresh Gulf Coast seafood, enjoy live music and entertainment, and participate in crab races and other family-friendly activities.

7.  Picayune Street Fair: Experience small-town charm at the Picayune Street Fair, held in August in downtown Picayune. Browse arts and crafts vendors, sample local cuisine, and enjoy live music and entertainment for the whole family.

Additional Resources:

Explore more summer events and attractions in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi by visiting the websites of local chambers of commerce and community organizations:

•Greater Picayune Chamber of Commerce

•Pearl River Chamber of Commerce

•St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce

•Jefferson Chamber of Commerce

•Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce

With an array of festivals, activities, and events to choose from, summer in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi promises to be a season of excitement, exploration, and unforgettable memories for the whole family. Whether you're soaking up the sounds of jazz at a music festival, savoring the flavors of Cajun cuisine at a food fest, or exploring the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast, there's something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant region. Aren’t we lucky to call this great place HOME?! Love where you live.


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