Things to do Near Bogue Chitto State Park

Bogue Chitto State Park is named for a slow-moving river that winds through the wilds of Washington and St. Tammany parishes. This is one of the most scenic waterways you’ll find on the Northshore, a region so named because it’s north of Lake Pontchartrain.

The 1,786-acre preserve’s main attraction is the namesake river, where tubing, kayaking and canoeing are especially popular. The many twists and turns of the river are complemented by sandy beaches where visitors can walk onshore to admire tupelo-cypress forests that are far from the nearest cities of Slidell, Mandeville and Covington. You can rent canoes, kayaks and tubes on-site at the park, and there are numerous outfitters within a short distance of the Bogue Chitto as well.

While you’re exploring the park, check out Fricke’s Cave. Despite its name, you can leave the spelunking equipment at home — the natural landform is more of a canyon than a cave, featuring sandstone spires that are the product of erosion from the hillside. Boardwalk trails get visitors up close to the site, which is wonderful for photo-taking.

Speaking of trails, Bogue Chitto State Park is also known for its horseback riding opportunities. 14 miles of backcountry trails offer visitors the chance to bring their own horses into the forested hills; call ahead, though, to check the status of the trails. You can even rent horses on-site.

Fishing? Yeah, Bogue Chitto State Park has plenty of that. Eleven lakes, stocked with freshwater fish, can be found in the park, all but guaranteeing a fresh catch.

Visitors looking to make their Bogue Chitto visit an overnight experience won’t be disappointed. RV camping and tent sites are available. For truly awe-inspiring sunset-watching, consider renting one of Bogue Chitto State Park’s cabins overlooking the bluffs. There are also larger-scale accommodations including group lodges (sleeping up to 14) and group camps (sleeping up to 52), as well as a conference room.

Nearby Attractions

While Bogue Chitto State Park is fairly remote, it’s close to both urban and rural attractions. Check out the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, a privately owned nature preserve famous for its safari tours. On your hour-plus guided wagon tour through the 900-acre facility, you’ll find numerous species rarely found outside of zoos in Louisiana. Free-roaming bison, giraffes, elands (a type of antelope native to eastern and southern Africa), zebras and camels are just some of the animals you’ll find on your tour — an unforgettable entertaining and educational experience for both children and adults. Private tours are available as well, which give passengers a more intimate up-close-and-personal experience of the savanna-like environs of Global Wildlife Center.

20 miles south of Bogue Chitto State Park is Covington, a mid-size town with many large-city amenities. The St. Tammany Parish seat was founded in 1813, and its downtown retains much of its historical vibe. A visit to HJ Smith & Son General Store is like stepping into a time machine, with its array of antiques that date back to the 1870s, plus there’s shopping at downtown destinations and on the city’s outskirts as well. Restaurants including The Chimes, Barrel Wine Bar, Del Porto Ristorante, Oxlot 9 and Abita Roasting Company are just a few of the dozens of dining options.

Speaking of Abita, Abita Brewing Company’s headquarters are in Covington. Take a tour of Louisiana’s largest brewery, and be sure to pick up some souvenirs in its gift shop before heading to your next Northshore destination. Cheers!