Lake Pontchartrain is the largest inland body of water in Louisiana at 630 square miles. It is actually an estuary, not a lake, connected to the Gulf of Mexico and various rivers and bayous. The Causeway Bridge runs 23 miles over the lake and is the longest bridge over water in the world! It connects New Orleans to the North Shore and takes about 50 minutes to fully cross.
Along the lake, find a family-friendly neighborhood full of mom-and-pop shops, fresh seafood, local restaurants and outdoor activities. See our guide below to explore the Lake Pontchartrain area.
Throughout the Lakeview neighborhood, various cuisines can be found at local eateries. Near-by Harrison Avenue is lined with restaurants and bars that offer everything from donuts and ice cream to tacos and pizza. But a trip on the lake usually calls for seafood, and there are several restaurants just steps from the water that specialize in just that.
The popular Felix’s is known for its oyster bar. Landry’s Seafood offers lake views, both inside the dining room and out on the terrace. The Blue Crab is known for its frozen drinks and seafood specials, like oyster happy hour and crawfish boils. If seafood isn’t your preference, Ming’s offers classic Chinese street food and Sala has great Italian dishes. Russel’s Marina Grill offers a little bit of everything from breakfast to dinner.
Picnicking along the lake is a great outing as well. Soak up the sun or watch it set with wine or sno-ball in hand. NOLA Snow and Robert’s Fresh Market are nearby for to-go options.
Fishing and boating on Lake Pontchartrain remains a favorite hobby for locals and visitors alike. Sailboats line the waterway while motorboats cruise around. Whether you charter a boat or bring your own, a day on the lake is tons of fun for the whole family. Lake Pontchartrain Pleasure Cruises has a selection of specialty rides available. See various boating and fishing companies here.
Wednesday night is a particularly busy night on the water, as it is the sailors' regatta from March to November. If you’re interested in participating, contact New Orleans Yacht Club. Otherwise, grab a spot along the water and watch them race by.
For a different kind of boating experience on a swamp boat, cross the Causeway into the North Shore. Cajun Encounters offers tours of the Honey Island Swamp.
Things To Do
Visit the New Canal Lighthouse Museum to learn about the history of the lake, the ecology of Pontchartrain basin and the coastal issues it faces today. The lighthouse was originally built in 1850 and restored after Hurricane Katrina.
Lakeshore Drive recently got a few upgrades that make it great for bike riding or walking. Explore five miles from the Industrial Canal to France Street to just past Canal Street. Take a break on one of the many benches along the lake. Many of the restaurants offer bike parking as well.
Lake Pontchartrain is located about 20 minutes from the French Quarter. The main hub is located in the Lakeview neighborhood and has plenty of free public parking available. Otherwise, a ride-share or taxi is recommended.