VISIT NEW ORLEANS
Family Friendly New Orleans
Last year we spent spring break in New Orleans with our kids, and had the best time. New Orleans is a dynamic, and gorgeous city, full of history and a little rough around the edges. Although it is known for Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and wonderful cuisine, there are many family-friendly activities in and around New Orleans. Here are my TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN NEW ORLEANS WITH CHILDREN:
1. The French Quarter
Walking around the French Quarter is the quintessential way to begin your site seeing in New Orleans. There are a few museums peppered throughout the French Quarter, that are easy to stop by and visit depending on how much time you have to spare.
2. Cafe Du Monde
While exploring the French Quarter don’t forget to stop at Cafe Du Monde for their world famous beignets. It is a large cafe with many tables, and lots of people! There was a long line for seating when we were there, so we opted to order from the to-go line. Bring cash because they don’t accept credit cards. With beignets and hot chocolate in hand we headed next door to Washington Artillery Park. The park has benches with views of Jackson Park and St. Louis Cathedral. Fair warning: the beignets are addicting and very messy.
3. Steamboat Natchez
Cruising on the Steamboat Natchez allows the kids to experience life on the Mississippi river. There are different options- Harbor Jazz Cruises, or Evening Jazz Cruises to name a few. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time. We went 15-20 minutes before the cruising time and it was sold out, so my advice is to plan ahead!
4. Ride on the Street Cars
The best way to explore the city is to ride on the historic street car. My kids loved riding the street cars, and we purchased a 3 day Jazzy Pass for unlimited rides. It was well worth the money to use when our feet were tired. Just a word of caution, the street cars can get very busy and a little behind schedule. There were times when street cars passed us because they were too full.
5. Garden District
Take a walk through the grand Garden district. Stately mansions, moss covered oak trees, manicured bushes, and beautiful flowers create a wonderful scene for the stroll. Stop at Lafayette Cemetery to see historic, and ornate above-ground tombs. We searched for the oldest date on the tombs to keep it interesting for our kids.
6. Visit The National World War II Memorial
The National WWII Museum is excellent. We were on the fence about visiting, but I am so glad we did because the exhibits are fascinating and well organized. They have sections of the museum that covered different story lines-including The Road to Berlin, The Road to Tokyo, and D-Day Invasion of Normandy. My kids enjoyed looking at the airplanes and the 4-d movie experience, Beyond All Boundaries. We lasted 2-3 hours with children, but you could easily spend an entire day.
7. Eat a Snowball
Snowballs are a New Orleans tradition and are a wonderful treat after walking around all day. Snowballs are shaved iced with flavored syrup poured over the top, just like Hawaiian shave-ice. There’s a big debate about where to get the best snowball. We tried a local favorite, Pandora’s Snowballs, a gave it and enthusiastic two-thumbs up. Pandora’s Snowballs is block away from City Park, so we stopped by after visiting the park.
8. The Tabasco Sauce Factory
The Tabasco Sauce factory is a few hours outside of New Orleans, located in Avery Island, Louisiana. We rented a car and spent a day visiting places outside of the city. At the factory we learned the history of Tabasco sauce and saw how it is made. As a bonus we got the tiniest bottles of different flavors of Tabasco sauce to take home.
9. Laura Plantation
The last stop on our day trip was to Laura Plantation, a Creole sugar cane plantation. They have a wonderful guide that takes you through the house, gardens, slave quarters, telling stories about the family and plantation based on Laura’s writings. The tour lasted 1 hour 15 minutes and was the perfect length for my kids. The stories kept their attention and interest.
10. Tour the Bayou
There are many different ways to see the bayou. We first went on a boat for a swamp tour. Our tour was on a cooler day so we only saw one baby alligator from the boat. Because we wanted to see more alligators, we went to Cypress Island Preserve on our drive outside of the city. We walked around on some boardwalks and then down a walking path. Much to our delight we saw more animals walking than we did on the boat tour. The turtles, a big alligator, birds, and gorgeous cypress trees made is well worth the detour to Cypress Island.
Looking for other vacation ideas? Check out our guide for Sedona.