Top 7 Weekend Trips From New Orleans, Louisiana - Updated 2023

weekend getaways from new orleans

February 25th is Mardi Gras Day 2020 in New Orleans. It’s a tradition that brings thousands to the Big Easy. You must come to watch the parade (in costume, if you feel like it) and eat oysters. The cuisine and the music are experiences in themselves, so you might choose to stay a bit longer after the streets have calmed down. By all means stay for a few days for more Creole samplings. Then, head out from “The City that Care Forgot” to other great destinations in the continental United States. Check out the definitive list of weekend trips from New Orleans, Louisiana.

1. Avery Island (from USD 255.0)

The famous Tabasco factory on Avery Island (Louisiana, USA 2012)
Source: Photo by user Paul Arps used under CC BY 2.0

Make time for a tour on Avery Island (formerly Petite Anse Island), which is the home of Tabasco, the iconic hot sauce. It will take you anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to reach Avery Island on Iberia Parish from New Orleans, at a distance of 222 km (138 mi). FYI, the island itself is a salt dome. In 1861, a pure rock salt mine started producing salt for the Confederacy. The Avery family, for which the island was named settled there in the 1830s. In 1868, one of the sons-in-law invented a processing formula for a sauce that is known throughout the world as Tabasco brand pepper sauce. A guided tour of the island is available.

New Orleans Airboat and Plantations Tour

Duration: 9 hours

1118 reviews

2. Lafayette

Acadian Village, Lafayette, Louisiana
Source: Photo by user Maren used under CC BY 2.0

They say Lafayette is “The Happiest City" in America.” If you’re a bit sceptical, then prove them wrong by going there. Still, it might be difficult because it’s Cajun and Creole territory. The smell of the food alone would make your tummy jump for joy. And yes, you’d be salivating when you see the crawfish menu. Ask for boudin and you won’t be disappointed, especially in diners, restaurants (and gas stations) where the lines are long and people are waiting happily. Aside from dining destinations, there are historical landmarks on the local register for your itinerary. Lafayette is 217.26 km (118 mi) from New Orleans. The trip takes 2.5 hours on average.

3. Fairhope, Alabama

Bayview Oak - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Tilley used under CC BY 3.0

Fairhope on Mobile Bay is a charming city with plenty of views of the water. Head downtown and get seats at Panini Pete’s for flaky beignets and savory panini. Once rested, consider spending time at Weeks Bay Reserve. Inquire about the annual Pelican Paddle, where local kayak and paddleboard champions butt their oars. There are a couple of routes from New Orleans to Fairhope. The faster route is via I-10 E and should take only about 2.5 hours. The distance between New Orleans and Fairhope is 217.77 km (135.32 mi).

4. Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama on the Gulf Coast
Source: Pixabay

Mobile has its own Mardi Gras so you can have another go at a fun parade after New Orleans. The longer route along the MS-26 E takes almost three hours, but you can reach Mobile in two hours on the I-10 E. Travel 232 kilometers (144 miles) and be rewarded in Mobile with exceptional Southern fare. The city’s top restaurants and bars have great reviews. For a glimpse at history, check out the old neighborhoods and stately homes. Mobile is particularly proud of the new GulfQuest: National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico, which opened in 2015.

5. Baton Rouge (from USD 12.0)

Baton Rouge Aerial
Source: Photo by user formulanone used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The people are kind, the food is great, and the views of the Mississippi are stunning. Baton Rouge is all these and more. Located upriver on a natural bluff, Baton Rouge is the perfect capital of any state. It has key historical and cultural landmarks as well as natural attractions. You can set a day ticking off key architectural sites in the city such as the old Neo-Gothic Capitol and the new Art-Deco Capitol. There are also a number of notable antebellum houses. One of the museums, USS Kidd is anchored on the river itself. Experience the capital after driving 129 km (80 mi) from New Orleans.

Baton Rouge Self-Guided City Scavenger Hunt

Duration: 2 hours

6. De Soto National Forest, Brooklyn, MS

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joe Furr used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

It takes two hours and a distance of 208.9 km (129.80 mi) from New Orleans to reach a protected national park, and one of Gulf Coast’s most diverse ecologies. When a breather from city streets is necessary spend a weekend at De Soto National Forest in Brooklyn, Mississippi. The protected area is home to hardwood trees, clear streams, and rolling terrain. Anglers, canoeists, campers, and hikers frequent its wide open spaces. Adventure seekers troop to the wilder parts of the reserve. You can choose to trek along established trails, or head off to the swamps or a thicket of pine without a guide. Either way, De Soto has more than enough space to get you sorted out.

7. Pensacola, Florida (from USD 22.0)

Pensacola FL Big Lagoon SP beach west01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Pensacola is “The City of Five Flags” in the Florida Panhandle. The moniker is a historical reference to the number of nations that ruled the area in the past. You’d better be ready to share in its 450-year history with a comprehensive tour of forts and museums. If you’re visiting on Veteran’s Day weekend, expect people to take to the streets for the Pensacola Marathon. You may find yourself in the middle of the Crawfish Festival if you arrive in April, and the seafood festival if you decide to drop by in September. From New Orleans, you’d easily cover the 323 km (201 mi) in 3 to 4 hours.

Pensacola Historic Landmarks Sightseeing Tour in Historic Bus

Duration: 2 hours

65 reviews

Make the Big Easy your starting point

Give it a day or two to quell the Mardi Gras fever. When you recover, get ready for other weekend getaways in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. When you make New Orleans the departure point, something wonderful awaits at all points of the compass.

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

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Deanna Kathrina is a pediatric physical therapist for children with neurodevelopmental disability, a teacher, and advocate. She is a lifelong learner who likes music for company. She’d like to see...Read more

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