Worth the Drive From New Orleans :: Fontainebleau State Park

We have dozens of family travel tips on New Orleans Mom. If you are looking for longer adventures, check out this list of budget friendly road trips from New Orleans.

Day Trip From New Orleans :: Fontainebleau State Park

If you are looking for an easy day trip from New Orleans, look no further than Fontainebleau State Park! When everyone in my house is getting a little stir crazy and needing a change in scenery and some adventure, I pack up my boys and some necessities and make the 30 minute drive from New Orleans to Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville. We all have such a great time enjoying all the park had to offer and making memories along the way. Fontainebleau offers so many things to do that we easily spent the day at the park without getting bored.

What to Expect With Kids at Fontainebleau State Park

Entrance to the park is $3 a person, making this a super affordable day trip. Once we arrived, we drove all the way to the end of the road and parked by the bathhouse by the beach, leaving us within walking distance of every destination we wanted to explore.

sugar Mill Trail
Walking along Sugar Mill Trail

Things to do at Fontainebleau State Park ::

We started off by hiking along Sugar Mill Trail, then walking along the Alligator Marsh Walk. The trails were smooth, wide and shaded, making them easy for even a toddler. The marsh walk had stunning views, but was super hot as it is fully exposed to the sun.

After our walk, we picked up our cooler packed with lunch in the car and found some shade at one of the many picnic tables. After lunch we cooled off at the beach, which had several shaded spots for me to sit while watching my boys, a few picnic tables to house our gear and the water was nice and shallow, meaning I didn’t have to worry about my littles.

Fontainebleau beach

Once we had our fill of the beach, we walked over to the splash pad to rinse off all the sand. (Note: The splash pad is open Tuesday – Sunday from 8:30am-6:30pm.) The splash pad was my kid’s favorite part of the trip as they enjoyed all the sprinklers, water shooters and dumping buckets. After a while at the splash pad, we dried off on a blanket in the grass watching a baby alligator in the nearby pond (or you could play on the playground right there) before getting in the car to head home. One activity worth mentioning that we didn’t do is there is a long fishing pier so you could absolutely bring a rod and a chair and do some fishing while you are there.

Alligator Marsh Walk
View from the Alligator Marsh Walk

Items to pack ::

  • Cooler with snacks, lunches and lots of beverages to cool off with (glass bottles are not allowed at the beach and picnic area)
  • Sneakers for hiking
  • Water shoes or sandals for the beach and splash pad
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray for hiking trails
  • Towels
  • Beach chairs (if desired)
  • Beach toys: football, shovels, buckets, rafts… (if desired)
  • Swimsuits (we wore ours)
  • Money for park entrance fee and $5 cash for the toll bridge on the way home

Fontainebleau was definitely worth the drive from New Orleans and our family will for sure be returning again soon!

Fontainebleau State Park Splash Pad
Splash pad



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Shannon Mangerchine
Shannon lives in Central City, New Orleans with her husband, Jeremy, and three sons, Noah, Eli and Zeke. She left a career in Human Resources to take on her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. During this time, she and her husband founded a non-profit called Bastion Resources with the purpose of inspiring others to live a life of intimacy with God. Shannon is passionate about creating community and engaging in meaningful conversation around the dinner table. Recently, she created The Intentional Daily Journal to help people live with more purpose and clarity, which is available for purchase on Amazon. In her free time, Shannon enjoys all types of fitness, trying new restaurants, reading and discussing books with her book club, coffee dates with friends and hanging at the park with her family. Shannon is constantly creating new healthy recipes and sharing them on her blog Dinner Done by 9am.


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