Beauty of Fairview Riverside State Park
Not Just Another State Park
For a truly relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans, take the short drive across Lake Pontchartrain to Madisonville. While there, be sure to stop at Fairview Riverside State Park and roam its nearly 100 peaceful acres of land. You will see why the park has definitely earned its name due to its beautifully maintained grounds and its prized location on the lazily twisting Tchefuncte River.
Visitors are greeted by graceful, ancient oak trees oozing with Spanish moss whose huge canopies of shade beckon you to stop for a while. They lend a romantic other-worldly charm to the grounds that can only be found in Louisiana. The staff works tirelessly to maintain the park. For this reason, every visitor will find it attractive and pristine.
Fishing On The Tchefuncte River
The tree to the right is a Cypress Tree covered in Spanish moss. This picture was taken in 2010 from the wooden walkway that runs along the side of the Tchefuncte River. This area is good fishing. You can use light tackle with a bobber and a worm on a hook about 2 feet down. You can catch perch, brim, bass and blue cats. The blue cat is a good eating great tasting catfish. the belly will be a lite blue. They love worms and are bottom feeders. The perch and brim are usually small but the kids will have a great time catching them. There are some fish called sac
Camping At Fairview Riverside State Park
Boasting a total of 100 tent and RV campsites, guests will find the rates quite reasonable. Plus, their location is a relaxing change of pace from the usual hotel and brings you much closer to nature. RV sites are easily accessible and offer 30 or 50 amp electrical, sewer, and water hookups, while tents are scattered among the trees and backed up to wooded lands.
Amenities include a large pavilion that lends itself perfectly to group activities, picnic tables and fire rings, and water spigots. Amazingly, this is one state park that surpasses the competition thanks to their recently renovated comfort stations. Men and women alike will not mind the shower and restroom facilities that are well-appointed, extremely clean, and handicap accessible. There is a laundry facility on site, and no park would be complete without a sizable playground for the little ones.
Activities – Fish, Boat, Canoe and Hike The Trails
Fishing: There is plenty of opportunity for sportsmen to cast their lines from shore or boat. Catfish, white perch, bass, and bluegill are all regular residents of the sparkling freshwater. You can also launch your own boat from the public boat launch located 2 miles away and travel downstream to Lake Pontchartrain for a try at redfish and speckled trout. Don’t forget to bring along a crab trap or two. The park has also added a fish cleaning station that allows you to prepare your own fresh catch for dinner. And, we all know that nothing is better than seafood from these waters!
Hiking: This boardwalk is a one-quarter mile trail through the swamp that brings you closer to the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. It is handicap accessible and a birdwatcher’s delight. Be sure to bring along your binoculars and field guides to identify any local species. You will definitely have no trouble locating the peacocks and black-bellied whistling ducks who also call the park home.
Otis House: A circa 1880s mansion that is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits within the park’s confines was the original home of Frank Otis. He loved the house and grounds so much that he bequeathed it to the state upon his death with the stipulation that it retain its name, Fairview Riverside. Guests can tour the museum from Wednesday through Sunday during the day.
History Of The Otis House And Sawmill
The Otis House was built as a family home in 1885 by W. T. Jay who was the owner of the nearby sawmill. The Otis House is known as a two-story Queen Anne structure that features 12’ ceilings, eight fireplaces, heart pine flooring and many antiques of the time dating back to around 1885 to 1895. In 1895 railroad tracks were constructed to transport timber from Saint Tammany and Tangipahoa Parish pine forests. It was named the Dummy Line Railway.
The area went through a boom time and the population grew. There was a one room schoolhouse, two Churches, a US Post Office and the Houlton Johnston General Store. At one time there seemed to be endless number or trees. Much of the pine forest was cut down and since no replanting of trees was done the business slowly declined. With fewer trees the work declined and the Houltonville sawmill, general store, and post office had to close down. The Great Depression hit this area hard along with the rest of the country.
Frank Otis purchased the Houlton property in 1936. The Otis House and olde sawmill were about the only structures left on the property. Frank Otis died in 1962 and left the house, its contents and grounds to the State Of Louisiana. The house is under-going renovation at the present time.
As the webmaster of this website I have been to the Otis House in 2015 and it was under renovation. The grounds are beautiful and a great area to picnic. The sawmill is still there. I took several pictures of the house and sawmill but not sure when the Otis House will be open for tours. You can tour the outside of the house. The sawmill looks like it could work with a little maintenance as it is a steam engine powering the big blade.
Fairview Riverside State Park in St Tammany Parish is the perfect getaway for families on a budget. It is highly recommended for a simple day picnic or lazy afternoon on the river. It is a true hidden gem on the Northshore! Bring your RV and boat and stay and play for awhile.
Pictures Of Fairview-Riverside State Park Near Madisonville Louisiana