Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ponchatoula, LA

  • Published 2023/03/14

The city of Ponchatoula in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, is known for its beautiful historic sites and its strawberry industry.

The city was built and developed into the piney woods east of Livingston Parish in the mid-19th century.

It is home to 7,927 people as of the 2021 census.

The city’s name is a Choctaw Indian term that means “hair to hang,” derived after the Spanish moss hanging on ancient oak trees that may be found around the area.

Known as the Strawberry Capital of Louisiana, the area has been growing strawberries since the beginning of the 20th century.

In the 1930s, Ponchatoula’s strawberry industry peaked which led to its economic growth.

At present time, the locality hosts the famous Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival every spring, attracting thousands of visitors who celebrate the beloved fruit and local farming industry.

But Ponchatoula isn’t just popular for its strawberries.

In the past decades, Ponchatoula has become known as “America’s Antique City” because of the many antique stores that operate in the downtown area.

You may also find well-preserved historic brick buildings around the area, adding to the city’s antique appeal.

There’s nothing quite like this city, so if you’re looking for your next destination, you should give this one a chance.

Don’t forget to bookmark this list of the best things to do in Ponchatoula, Louisiana!

Learn about Local History at Collinswood School Museum

Visit the Collinswood School Museum to get a glimpse of the city’s past and learn about its significance to contemporary times.

It is located at East Pine Street.

The structure used to be a one-room school, which was common in rural areas back in the 1800s.

The Collinswood School operated for around 30 years.

It was eventually restored and turned into a museum.

Today, the Collinswood School Museum features antique items that depict the history of Ponchatoula as well as the surrounding railroad, local agriculture, the cypress mill, and Native Americans.

History buffs should not pass up on this small but meaningful museum in the city.

Look for Treasures at Ponchatoula Antiques & Statuary

Learn why Ponchatoula is considered an antique city when you drop by Ponchatoula Antiques & Statuary.

You will find the antique shop on S.W. Railroad Avenue.

Here you may find all sorts of old pieces—from furniture to decorative items.

Vintage tableware is also available at the store.

Feel free to scan all the shelves to find what you’re looking for when you visit Ponchatoula Antiques & Statuary!

See Alligators at Kliebert & Son’s Gator Tours

Learn all about alligators when you visit the farm of Kliebert & Son’s Gator Tours.

You may find the place at I-55 Service Road.

Harvey Kliebert opened this first alligator farm in Louisiana to the public in 1984.

His journey with taking care of these reptiles began when he hatched over 250 alligators when he was 20 years old.

The farm, now run by his grandson, continues to provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience.

Kliebert & Son’s Gator Tours raises awareness on and educates the public about animals.

After touring the farm, be sure to check out the shop and pick up some souvenirs!

Stop by CJ’s Antiques & Collectibles

CJ’s Antiques & Collectibles is another place in Ponchatoula where you can find the best antique and vintage items.

It is situated on SE Railroad Avenue.

When you enter the shop, you will be transported back in time with all the vintage collectibles that fill the entire space.

The store relocated to the city in 1993.

Today, it has established itself as a premiere establishment for sourcing and curating exceptional antiques.

When you visit, don’t miss an inch of the 15,000-square-foot space as you look for your next favorite treasure.

CJ’s Antiques & Collectibles also serves coffee and drinks, so you relax and enjoy as you’re surrounded by all things vintage!

Buy Produce at Ponchatoula Country Market

The Ponchatoula Country Market is the city’s dedicated space for selling and displaying local products.

You may find it at the historic train depot in the city’s downtown.

Drop by the marketplace and check out the products available, some of which are handmade by locals.

A farmers market is also available every weekend, so be sure to look out for the freshest produce, especially the city’s very own strawberries!

The nonprofit group Ponchatoula Country Market, Inc. runs and maintains the market.

Add the Ponchatoula Country Market to your list of places to visit in the area.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Kiwanis Park

If you want to get some fresh air and spend a day outdoors, go to Kiwanis Park.

You may find the park on West Magnolia Street.

Here you may find a cozy log cabin, a garden, and a small fountain.

If you want to be more active, have a stroll at the park’s walking trail or play at the ball field.

A playground is also available at the park which is convenient if you’re bringing along kids with you.

Drop by Kiwanis Park when you find yourself in the city of Ponchatoula!

Dine and Drink at Roux & Brew Seafood and Steak House

Try local food when you visit Roux & Brew Seafood and Steak House.

The restaurant is located on SW Railroad Avenue.

Roux & Brew serves fresh seafood, handcrafted cocktails, beer, and steak, to name a few.

The place also boasts two full bars—one inside and one outside on the covered patio.

The bars also have several screens where you can watch your favorite sports matches!

Enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the place while enjoying local favorites when you dine at Roux & Brew Seafood and Steak House.

Read Books at Tangipahoa Parish Library’s Ponchatoula Branch

When you’re in the city and looking for a quiet place, go to Tangipahoa Parish Library’s Ponchatoula branch.

You may find the library on North Fifth Street.

Scan the shelves and find your next favorite read from the library’s wide selection of books.

Whether for research or leisure, feel free to look for the right resource at this library.

If you need a space for your group discussion, you may book one of Tangipahoa Parish Library’s meeting rooms.

If you love the prospect of reading in a cozy space while surrounded by shelves of books, you should add Tangipahoa Parish Library’s Ponchatoula branch to your itinerary.

Solve Mysteries at The Escape Warehouse

If you’re looking for something new and exciting, try solving a mystery inside The Escape Warehouse.

It is located on SW Railroad Avenue in Downtown Ponchatoula.

Take your friends or family with you and have fun while decoding puzzles and escaping the themed attractions with different levels of difficulty.

Use critical thinking and test your group’s communication skills while you’re here!

You may choose from a variety of themes and stories, including Hide & Seek and Unidentified, among others.

Take on the challenge and book in advance if you’re planning a visit to The Escape Warehouse.

Catch Local Productions at Swamplight Theatre

Swamplight Theatre offers an intimate experience for lovers of live theater.

You may find it on SW Railroad Avenue.

The theater is home to the Kay Butler Performing Arts Project, a non-profit performing arts group that fosters the community’s love for theater.

Be sure to catch one of the local productions when you’re in the area and appreciate the community’s talents!

Theatergoers should book tickets in advance because the place has a maximum capacity of about 80 to 100 people.

Some events are also held at Swamplight Theatre, with catering included at times.

Feel free to check the scheduled shows and events before heading to Swamplight Theatre.

Drop by the Unique Electric Train Depot

Electric Train Depot is one of Ponchatoula’s unique businesses.

If you’re a train enthusiast, you shouldn’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind stop at Southwest Railroad Avenue.

The shop carries almost everything related to the train hobby, including train sets, locomotives, stock tracking, tools for hobbyists, and scenery items and accessories, among many others!

Feel free to drop by the store and have fun while browsing the items available.

Collectors will especially love this niche store in the antique city of Ponchatoula.

If you’re looking for something to take home as a souvenir, consider picking out an item or two at Electric Train Depot.

Stay Active at the Ponchatoula Area Recreation District 1

Ponchatoula Area Recreation District 1, also known as Ponchatoula Recreation Park, offers a wide variety of outdoor activities to the local community.

The recreational facility also serves as a gathering space for families and friends who want to spend some time together outdoors.

Here you may find a 1.4-mile paved walking or jogging trail, perfect for exercising.

The park also features a football field, a baseball field, and a playground for children.

For gatherings, you may use the large pavilions or the conference room, among other spaces available.

Whatever you wish to do outdoors, you may try them at the Ponchatoula Area Recreation District 1.

Other Things to Do Nearby

The city of Ponchatoula has plenty of neighboring areas with their own attractions.

After exploring the city, you should consider stopping by some interesting destinations that you may reach within a 30-minute drive!

Discover History at Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum and Veterans Archives

The Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum and Veterans Archives features the life, work, and history of African Americans.

It is located in the neighboring city of Hammond.

It will give you a glimpse into the people’s familial culture, entertainment and arts, medicine, architecture, religion, politics, and technology, among others.

At the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum and Veterans Archives, you will also learn about the civil rights movement and the African Americans’ struggle for justice and equality.

Through several galleries as well as original murals and artifacts, you will discover the rich heritage of African Americans.

You shouldn’t miss out on this important and vibrant museum if you’re in the area.

Go Bowling with Friends at Tangi Lanes

Bowling is always a fun activity to do with friends.

If you’re looking to pass time indoors, visit Tangi Lanes.

It is also located in the city of Hammond, which is easily accessible from Ponchatoula.

The place has a variety of bowling lanes, may it be for fun or a more competitive game.

Kids are welcome here, with dedicated bumper bowling lanes available just for them!

If you’re looking for something different and fun, try Tangi Lanes’ Galactic Bowling!

Here, you can go bowling with all the lights out except for special effects lighting.

Enjoy an Outdoor Adventure with Nature at Joyce Wildlife Swamp Walk

If you’re looking for more adventure, try it while surrounded by nature at Joyce Wildlife Swamp Walk.

It is located five miles south of Hammond.

The area is a wetland within the Pontchartrain Basin with a cypress-tupelo swamp.

On the northern portion of the Joyce Wildlife Swamp Walk, you may also see a 500-acre freshwater marsh.

Boating, fishing, birding, and observing wildlife are among the activities you may enjoy here.

If you want to experience nature and its raw beauty, you should allot some of your time to visiting this area.

Final Thoughts

If you want to experience the closest thing to stepping back in time, go to the city of Ponchatoula.

There’s nothing quite like a city that has preserved its vintage charm through the years.

From strolling the historic downtown to trying out the newest recreations, there’s so much you can do while you’re in this city.

In fact, it will constantly surprise you with its variety of offerings.

If you’re considering traveling to this city, be sure to save this list of the best things to do in Ponchatoula, Louisiana!

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