New Orleans, typically associated with Bourbon St, Mardi Gras and partying, has plenty of opportunities for visitors to partake in health conscious activities. Home of beautiful, unique parks recognized for size, landmarks and age, New Orleans offers outdoor natural experiences without ever leaving the city. Mindful dining and socialization is available at the local vegan restaurant and the kava bar, which both focus on community growth and positivity. Riding the St. Charles trolley offers travelers an old-fashioned journey through the colorful streets of historic New Orleans. Finally, opportunities to be secluded in nature are available just one hour outside of the city at Bogue Chitto Wildlife Refuge. Here are some health conscious activities to incorporate into your next trip to New Orleans.
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Audubon Park, City Park and Lake Pontchartrain: nature trails located in the city
If you are looking to take a quiet stroll and reconnect with nature, you will be pleased to find that you do not have to travel far. There are opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle without ever leaving the city of New Orleans. Some of the best nature getaways to check out in the city include Audubon Park (open 5 AM–10 PM), City Park (open 24 hours) and the Pontchartrain lake-front trails (open 24 hours).
Audubon Park offers mini trails, tennis courts, a golf course and other family activities. The Fly is an awesome spot at the edge of the park along the Mississippi River with beautiful views and open fields. The Tree of Life is a beautiful tree in the park believed to be between one hundred and five hundred years old. City Park, one of the oldest parks in the country, is another place to visit if you are looking for an outdoor getaway surrounded by mature trees. The park spans 1300 acres, offering artwork, botanical gardens and plenty of oak lined trails to its visitors. The park's 600 to 900 year old oak trees are the oldest in the world. Their branches offer refuge for the adventurous climber and shade for the relaxed reader. Lastly, the trails lining 630 sq mile (1631.69 sq km) Lake Pontchartrain are perfect for joggers, walkers and sunrise enthusiasts.
Seed: garden based New Orleans-style vegan food
Seed, a small, local, garden based, vegan restaurant located in the Lower Garden District, offers a casual, mindful dining experience. The restaurant has a vision of "healthy nourishment" and strives to offer local, organic and natural ingredients while also supporting and partnering with local causes such as Solar Alternatives, the Humane Society and Pure Water Technology of South Louisiana. On the menu you will find a wide variety of options ranging from vegan renditions of New Orleans classics, such as po-boys and grits, to raw salads and juices. The music is simultaneously uplifting and calming. The servers are smiling, friendly and seem excited to be at work. The artwork illuminates with colors of nature, brightened by the large windows. Thoreau's words "Goodness is the only investment that never fails" hang above the windows along with other inspiring quotes. Seed is open 11 AM to 10 PM Mondays to Fridays and 10 AM to 10 PM Saturdays to Sundays. If you are looking for a chill spot to have a vegan meal while supporting some great causes, check out Seed on your trip to NOLA.
Euphorbia Kava Bar: local non-alcoholic kava bar
Euphorbia Kava Bar is a quiet peaceful place to try kava, a root plant found in the Western Pacific that is brewed into beverages or mixed into chocolates. Euphorbia was founded by Ashley, a native to New Orleans. Ashley has a vision of creating a space for people to gather and enjoy community in an alcohol free environment. The bar is decorated with soft, powder blue walls and vibrant red furniture. The front room is covered with artwork and has a coffee shop feel with a circular seating arrangement that encourages collaborative conversation. In the back room there are bright windows full of beautiful succulents. Open 12 PM to 10 PM Monday through Saturday and 12 PM to 6 PM on Sundays, Euphorbia is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a laid back opportunity to socialize and share culture with down to earth locals.
St. Charles trolley and French Market: historical journey through New Orleans
A ride on the St. Charles trolley and a stroll through the French Market are the perfect opportunity to see historic architecture. The St. Charles trolley winds through the streets of historic New Orleans with a final stop at the Canal and Bourbon intersection in the French Quarter. A ride on the rickety human-operated streetcar costs 1.25 USD (exact change only) and is a unique, old-fashioned experience. On the opposite side of the French Quarter, you will find the French Market, a local market full of food, crafts and artwork. This is the perfect spot to buy handmade gifts and souvenirs. If you are not shopping, a walk through the French Market is still a great opportunity to see beautiful streets filled with colorful, lively buildings.
Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge: Louisiana nature
If you are interested in complete immersion into wildlife and nature, the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, just one hour north of New Orleans, offers a quiet haven for a variety of outdoor activities. Admittance to the refuge (2 USD per person for day trips, prices vary for camping) offers access to camping in designated camping zones and hiking trails. The trails wind through a variety of landscapes including watery bayou, forest, rivers and seasonal lakes. Visitors have plenty of opportunities to spot unique plants and wildlife. The refuge is a winter nesting and breeding ground for nearly two hundred species of birds, many of which are migratory, including swallow-tailed kites. Sounds of nature resonate through the air fostering a peaceful space for all visitors. This beautiful haven is perfect for a quiet, grounding get-away.
Please note: Depending on weather and flooding, different parts of the Refuge may be closed to the public. Check the Bogue Chitto website for more information.
New Orleans: healthy activities for the whole family
A visit to New Orleans can include walks through plenty of local parks, health conscious delicious food, laid back socialization and nature immersed day trips. New Orleans is a vibrant place with a wide array of activities for all travelers. From colorful buildings to some of the oldest nature in the world, New Orleans can provide a family friendly health conscious experience for people with many different interests. Each of these health conscious activities simultaneously offers a New Orleans kick to mindful traveling.