One of the really nice things about New Orleans is how easy it is to escape. Just 45 minutes away to the north is bayou and marsh teeming with birds, frogs, fish and alligators.
Fountainbleau State Park is just over the Causeway on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. Although the nature trail is not long, it takes you on a boardwalk overlooking the swamp to experience the sights and sounds of old Louisiana. More than 400 species of animals live in the park. It is not difficult to imagine how the native Indians once lived or how challenging life was for early settlers.
Bernard de Marigny built a sugar mill on the land in 1829, which burned to the ground. The adjacent visitor center has terrific displays that provide some history for this lovely spot. Rangers give talks and nature walks on Saturday mornings.