10 Best Day Trips From New Orleans, Louisiana

best day trips from new orleans

New Orleans is a highly sought out destination for tourists, but once you’ve gotten your fill of Bourbon Street and ghost tours, what’s next to do? Any of these 10 day trips will provide you with an entire day of fun and entertainment.

1. Ocean Springs/Biloxi

Biloxi Bay Bridge in Ocean Springs

Just ten minutes apart, Ocean Springs and Biloxi both have something unique to offer. Ocean Springs is known as the City of Discovery and focuses on history, art galleries, studios, and micro-breweries. An afternoon here would be spent exploring the city, wandering through small art museums, and soaking up the local culture and history.

Biloxi, on the other hand, is all about casinos. Spend some time here playing the slots and enjoying the buffets. It also has plenty of ocean front property, so you can take a break from gambling anytime to enjoy the water.

2. Honey Island Swamp Tour

Honey Island Swamp Tour
Source: Photo by user leighklotz used under CC BY 2.0

No one should leave Louisiana without a proper introduction to the swampland. Honey Island Swamp is one of the most untouched river swamps in the country. This small boat tour will lead you through the most interesting areas of the swamp, where you will be able to see alligators, eagles, beavers, nutria, feral hogs, and more. You may even see Big Foot – locals swear he has been seen roaming these woods.

Honey Island Swamp Tour

Address: 41490 Crawford Landing Rd, Slidell, LA 70461

Website: Honey Island Swamp Tour

3. Pensacola, Florida

Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola, Florida
Source: Photo by user Tobin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pensacola, FL has been said to have one of the best beaches in the nation. Enjoy the clear blue waters and white sand as you snorkel, surf, or just soak up the sun. You can also visit Gulf Islands National Seashore to experience any number of ranger-led tours – hiking through salt marshes, stargazing, kayaking, or a bird walk.

Outside of the beach, Pensacola has a thriving arts community. With symphonies, ballets, and a rock-n-roll music hall, as well as numerous art galleries and museums, you can spend a beautiful evening off the beach as well.

4. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores Alabama Sunset
Source: Photo by user John Tuggle used under CC BY 2.0

One of the most visited beaches on the gulf, Gulf Shores is a mesmerizing place. Enjoy sugar-white sand and all the beach activities you could imagine – snorkeling, body boarding, skimming, surfing, and more. There are many cruises and boat outings offered by local companies as well.

Exploring the city is fun too. Take a Segway tour, visit historic Fort Morgan, or spend an afternoon at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. Enjoy art museums, shopping districts, and delicious fine dining.

5. Infinity Science Center

Have a budding astronaut or a space enthusiast in your group? This is the place for you. The Infinity Science Center is the only way to tour the John C. Stennis Space Center, a NASA rocket testing facility.

The Science Center itself is also a great place to spend several hours. First, you can explore outdoor exhibits such as an F-1 rocket engine, a tsunami buoy, and a US Navy riverine training boat. Move inside to do hands-on activities like designing your own inventions, or learn about carnivorous plants. You can also experience an immersion theater and explore the earth and space gallery.

Infinity Science Center

Address: 1 Discovery Circle, Pearlington, MS 39572

Website: Infinity Science Center

6. Grand Isle, Louisiana

Clouds above grand isle (5015332240)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user U.S. Fish and Wil... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Grand Isle is known as a sportsman’s paradise. It is Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island and is well known for world-class fishing and birding. With over 25 charter fishing companies and countless bait shops and kayak rentals, you will find plenty of resources for an excellent salt water fishing experience.

There are also miles of white sand beaches, a butterfly dome, a cable park, and a wildlife refuge. Bird trails abound here, with many trails, guides, and migratory habitats for viewing and cataloging.

7. Global Wildlife Center

Sony a7, Minolta 28-135 F4-4.5
Source: Photo by user Randall R. Saxton used under CC BY 2.0

Want to experience an African safari while in Louisiana? Stop by the Global Wildlife Center and book a tour. You will experience over 900 acres (364 hectares) of land, 12 ponds, a lake and all the animals roaming free throughout. Come face to face with giraffes, zebras, camels, kangaroos, bison and much more.

Global Wildlife Center

Address: 26389 Louisiana 40, Folsom, LA 70437

Website: Global Wildlife Center

8. Whitney Plantation

Whitney Plantation HDR
Source: Photo by user Corey Balazowich used under CC BY-ND 2.0

There are many plantation tours in the southern United States, but Whitney is a special experience. The entire plantation has been dedicated to remembering and understanding the slaves that once lived and worked there.

The owner of the property felt it was his duty to make people understand the daily life and horrors of slavery and get to know the people that were subjected to such treatment. He hired local artists, tour guides, and historians to document and showcase the life of an average slave in order to educate the public. Visitors rave about this moving and educational experience.

Whitney Plantation

Address: 5099 LA-18, Edgard, LA 70049

Website: Whitney Plantation

9. Tabasco Pepper Sauce Plant & Museum on Avery Island

Get up close and personal with one of America’s most popular sauces. The McIlhenny family and their employees have lived and worked on Avery Island for five generations, harvesting peppers and making hot sauce. See the peppers that make the sauce, take tours, wander the museum, or take a cooking class.

The island itself is also a source of beauty and wonderment. Enjoy Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre (69 ha) garden with semi-tropical foliage, wildlife, and a centuries old Buddha statue. Enjoy a guided bird tour, or just wander the area filled with oaks, bamboo, and surrounding swamps and marshes.

Tabasco Pepper Sauce Plant & Museum on Avery Island

Address: LA-329 & Avery Island Rd, Avery Island, LA 70513

Website: Tabasco Pepper Sauce Plant & Museum on Avery Island

10. Deer Island

Deer Island, Mississippi
Source: Photo by user Whit Andrews used under CC BY 2.0

Deer Island is an uninhabited island off the shore of Biloxi, MS. There are no tour boats that travel here, but it is only a 10-minute kayaking trip. Anyone who can rent any kind of boat can get here. Enjoy an untouched beach with natural flora and abundant wildlife. Feel like you are the only person on the island (you may well be!) while you watch ospreys and sandpipers dive for their meals. The island is home to 10 different types of endangered species.

If you’re feeling brave, camp here and see if the rumors of hauntings are true. First seen in 1922, there are allegedly two ghosts that make their home here. One is a wronged pirate, and the other is thought to be a ghostly guard of the island. Spend the night here to see if they really are just fish tales.

Choose the right destination away from New Orleans!

Any of these destinations can provide fun and adventure away from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans. Choose the one that’s right for you and begin your adventure today.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Molly is a technology marketing and sales professional. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Baylor University and has been writing for many years. Currently, she is a contributor at trip101.com...Read more

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