View of Sunset Over Lake Pontchartrain in Fontainebleau State Park Louisiana

Where is Fontainebleau State Park

Located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Fontainebleau State Park resides entirely within the state of Louisiana. The state park is surrounded on three sides by Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Cane, and Bayou Castine. Amenities contained within the park include a visitor center, beach, fishing pond, fishing pier, cabins, and a campground. The park is located 66 miles and an hour drive west of Gulfport, Mississippi, 78 miles and an hour and fifteen minute drive east of Baton Rouge, and a 39 miles and a forty five minute drive north of New Orleans. Fontainebleau US State Park and New Orleans are separated from each other by Lake Pontchartrain. The state park is also located near several other outdoor recreation areas. These areas include the Joyce, Manchac, Bayou Sauvage, and Bogue Chitto Wildlife Management Areas.

How Large is Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park covers over 2,800 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of lakeshore, marshlands, and intertidal zones. Large portions of the park have been deemed important habitats for a variety of avian species. Lake Pontchartrain, which the park rests against, covers over 630 square miles. The park’s campground contains over 200 sites. These sites include over 150 campsites present with electric and water hookups, several cabins, and a few group camping sites. The park also contains several hiking trails including a nature trail that follows a boardwalk through a mile of the park’s marshland.

Fontainebleau State Park Weather

The weather at Fontainebleau State Park changes frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 70- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 40- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, Fontainebleau State Park receives around 90 days of rain per year. These 90 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 60 inches. The average daily amount of sunlight in the park during the summer is around 14 hours, and in the winter the park averages about 10.5 hours of sunlight.

Beautiful Sunset Seen Through Trees on Beach in Fontainebleau State Park Louisiana

When did Fontainebleau Become a State Park

Fontainebleau State Park first became a state park in 1942. The land that the park now occupies was once the sight of a sugarcane plantation. The history of this plantation and its practices is discussed and critiqued by education exhibits and displays found in the park’s visitor center. The park was originally named Tchefuncte State Park but was changed to Fontainebleau State Park in honor of the forest found near Paris, France. Fontainebleau State Park was added to the national register of historic places in 1999.

Things to do in Fontainebleau State Park

Visitors arriving at Fontainebleau State Park will find a variety of sights, sounds, and outdoor recreation activities awaiting them at the park. The most popular and important adventures found in Fontainebleau State Park are listed below:

Explore the Visitor Center

Our State Park Visitors Guides notes that the visitor center at Fontainebleau State Park is the best place for visitors to start their Louisiana park adventure. The center holds various exhibits and displays that discuss the park’s history, ecology, geography, and geology. A large portion of these displays discuss and critique the park’s past as a sugarcane plantation. Park staff working in the visitor center can also supply guests with park maps, answers to specific questions, and more specific information on activities found throughout the park.

Participate in an Interpretive Program

Visitors looking to learn more about a specific topic or about Fontainebleau State Park in general should look to participate in one of the interpretive programs offered by the park. These programs normally cover topics related to the park’s ecology, geography, or history. A schedule for these events is normally posted in the park’s visitor center. However, the events are only offered on a rotating schedule when specialized park staff are on site.

Hike the Park’s Nature Trail

The nature trail at Fontainebleau State Park allows visitors to gain a larger understanding of the park’s ecosystems and apply information they learned from the visitor center and the park’s interpretive programs. On this short 1.2-mile nature trail, park visitors will follow a boardwalk through the park’s marshlands. Wildlife sightings are probable on this trail.

Cast a Line or Two

Angler’s visiting Fontainebleau State Park will for sure want to take advantage of the park’s fishing pond and fishing pier. Fishermen casting a line in Fontainebleau State Park and Lake Pontchartrain can catch a variety of freshwater species. All anglers are required to obtain a valid Louisiana fishing license prior to fishing anywhere in the park.

Wildlife Viewing

Fontainebleau State Park supports one of the most diverse communities of wildlife in all of Louisiana. The park and surrounding area provide home to over 400 unique wildlife species including alligators and flocks of various birds. Visitors looking to spot various wildlife species can ask park staff working in the visitor center for more information regarding hotspots and species habits.

Camping in Fontainebleau State Park

The campground at Fontainebleau State Park contains campsites and cabins. Visitors looking to reserve either of these two types of sites can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal. The cabins at Fontainebleau State Park come equipped with basic cookware, dishes, and silverware. Visitors looking to stay in the park during peak season should make their reservations months in advance.

View of Low Tide in Fontainebleau State Park Louisiana

When to Visit Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park is open year-round. However, the majority of visitation occurs during the summer season. Summer in Fontainebleau State Park brings endless warm days, long hours of Louisiana sunshine, and warmer water temperatures. Wildlife in the park is most active during the spring and fall when temperatures are slightly cooler. Winters in the park are mostly nonexistent. However, occasionally the temperatures in December and January can drop below forty degrees.

Must Have Items to Bring to Fontainebleau State Park

List of Parks advises that a trip to Fontainebleau State Park requires a little packing and planning. Visitors looking to make the most out of their trip should check out the following list of items:

Water & Energy Filled Snacks

Water and snacks may seem like obvious items to bring along with you to the park, but they sure are important. Visitors looking to recreate extensively in the park or camp for several days should bring larger supplies of water and snacks. High energy snacks like beef jerky, protein bars, and trail mix are best for hikers and other park visitors.

Rain Jacket

Occasionally, Fontainebleau State Park can receive sudden rainstorms. These rainstorms normally don’t last long but can dampen any trip. All visitors should arrive at Fontainebleau State Park equipped with a lightweight rain jacket.

Camping Equipment

There are quite a few camping supplies visitors looking to camp within Fontainebleau State Park will want to remember to bring with them. Obvious items include tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and blankets. However, campers will also want to bring flashlights, camping pillows, and other camping equipment. The best way to make sure you have packed all of your camping equipment before leaving the house is to create and utilize a camping checklist.

Fishing Tackle

Anglers visiting Fontainebleau State Park will want to remember to bring all of their rods, reels, and fishing tackle along with them to the park. These anglers will also want to remember to obtain a valid Louisiana fishing license and educate themselves on all Louisiana fishing regulations and guidelines. Visitors looking to purchase a fishing license can do so online through the state’s license portal or in person from several local issuing establishments.

Wildlife Field Guides

Fontainebleau State Park provides a home to a large array of wildlife species. Visitors looking to learn the most about these species should purchase and bring along a North America specific wildlife field guide. The best field guides include color photos and lengthy species descriptions to make identification easier.

Rental Cabins Perched Over Lake Pontchartrain in Fontainebleau State Park Louisiana

Where to Stay in Fontainebleau State Park

Visitors looking to stay in Fontainebleau State Park should first decide between renting a cabin and reserving a campsite. After deciding these visitors can make reservations for their desired choice online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel or other lodging establishment near the park can find several options in the area. Interested visitors can also make the forty-five-minute drive to New Orleans where there is an endless list of hotels, motels, and inns.

Food Near Fontainebleau State Park

The closest food to Fontainebleau State Park is located in Lacombe or Mandeville. These cities contain several restaurants and grocery stores that visitors can visit to refill on supplies or grab a bite to eat. Visitors looking for a large culinary scene or something specific to the region should make the forty-five-minute drive to New Orleans. The city contains a variety of historic and new age restaurants that are sure to supply visitors with a taste of the bayou. Seafood gumbo, crab cakes, crayfish, and other seafood inspired dishes are very popular in the city.

Airports Near Fontainebleau State Park

The closest international airport to Fontainebleau State Park is located in New Orleans. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is located 40 miles and a forty-five-minute drive away from Fontainebleau State Park. The next closest international airport to the park is located in Gulfport. The city's international airport is located 65 miles and a little over an hour drive away from the park.

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