20+ Fun Day Trips From New Orleans With Kids This Summer

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Summer can feel like a whirlwind of activity, with camps, end-of-school celebrations, and the everyday hustle and bustle leaving little time for relaxation and memory-making. But fear not! We've got you covered with a list of exciting day trip destinations in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast, all within a few hours' drive of New Orleans.

So round up the kids, pack the car snacks, and get ready to create some unforgettable summer adventures before the school bells start ringing again!

Family in a car on a road trip from New Orleans

New Orleans Area Road Trips

Fontainebleau State Park:

Nestled along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville, Fontainebleau State Park offers a diverse range of activities for nature enthusiasts and families alike. Bask in the sun on the sandy beach or cast a line for some fishing action. Explore the park's scenic trails, winding through moss-draped cypress forests and offering glimpses of local wildlife like deer, squirrels, and a variety of birds. Kids will delight in the splash pad, a fun way to cool off on hot summer days. The park also features a visitor center with exhibits on the area's natural and cultural history, as well as the ruins of an old sugar mill that once stood on the property. The entrance fee is $3 per person.

Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours:

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting Louisiana wetlands with Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours. Glide through the serene backwaters of the Barataria Preserve in a covered boat, surrounded by lush vegetation and towering cypress trees. Keep your eyes peeled for alligators, snakes, turtles, egrets, herons, and other fascinating creatures that call this unique ecosystem home. Knowledgeable guides will share insights into the ecology of the swamp, the history of the area, and the cultural significance of these wetlands.

Lafitte Swamp Tour

Northlake Nature Center:

Discover the natural wonders of the Northshore at the Northlake Nature Center, a 400-acre preserve located in Mandeville. Hike or bike through a variety of trails that wind through forests, meadows, and wetlands. The center also offers educational programs for all ages. Keep an eye out for resident and migratory birds, as the center is a popular spot for birdwatching.

Global Wildlife Center:

Embark on a unique safari adventure at the Global Wildlife Center, located in Folsom, Louisiana. Hop aboard a guided wagon tour and venture into large, open pastures where herds of exotic animals roam freely. Encounter giraffes, zebras, camels, antelopes, and many other fascinating species from around the world. You'll have the opportunity to hand-feed some of these gentle giants and learn about their natural habitats and conservation efforts.

Tickfaw State Park:

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Louisiana's swampy landscape at Tickfaw State Park. The park's nature center features interactive exhibits about the local flora and fauna, including alligators, turtles, and various snakes. Embark on a hike along the park's network of trails, where you'll encounter towering cypress trees and diverse plant life. Kids will love exploring the nature-themed playground and splashing around in the water playground.

White Sands Lake Day Beach:

Located in Covington, White Sands Lake Day Beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The sandy beach offers plenty of space to relax and soak up the sun, while the lake's clear waters are perfect for a refreshing swim. The beach also features a playground, volleyball courts, and a concession stand for snacks and drinks.

Families play at White Sands Lake Day Beach

Southern Louisiana Road Trips

Grand Isle:

Escape to the tranquil shores of Grand Isle, a barrier island nestled in the Gulf of Mexico. While technically part of Jefferson Parish, Grand Isle's secluded location makes it feel like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The island boasts miles of pristine beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and birdwatching. Visit the Grand Isle State Park to explore nature trails, spot diverse bird species, and enjoy a picnic with stunning views. Discover the captivating Butterfly Dome, a tropical oasis filled with colorful butterflies, or venture to Elmer's Island Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife. Grand Isle offers a unique blend of natural beauty and recreational activities, making it a perfect destination for a peaceful getaway.

Avery Island:

Embark on a culinary adventure to Avery Island, a geological salt dome that's home to the world-famous Tabasco factory. Take a guided tour of the factory to learn about the history of Tabasco sauce, witness the production process from pepper to bottle, and sample the various flavors and products. Stroll through the lush Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre botanical paradise featuring exotic plants, a Buddha statue, a bird sanctuary, and a picturesque lake. Discover the island's unique history and geology at the Tabasco Museum, which showcases exhibits on the McIlhenny family, the creators of Tabasco, and the island's natural formations.

Whitney Plantation:

Embark on a deeply moving and educational journey at the Whitney Plantation, a unique site dedicated to sharing the often-overlooked stories of enslaved people in Louisiana. Unlike traditional plantation tours that focus on the grandeur of the main house, Whitney Plantation centers on the harsh realities of slavery, providing a solemn and informative look at the lives of enslaved individuals and their families. Walk through the preserved slave cabins, where you'll find personal narratives and artifacts that offer a glimpse into the daily lives of enslaved people. Explore the museum's exhibits, which delve into the history of slavery in Louisiana and the United States, and pay your respects at the powerful memorials that honor the lives lost and the resilience of those who survived. The Whitney Plantation serves as a reminder of a painful chapter in American history and a testament to the enduring human spirit.

Baton Rouge Area Road Trips

Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM):

Embark on an educational adventure at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge. This unique institution seamlessly blends art and science, offering a diverse range of exhibits and activities for all ages. Explore fascinating galleries showcasing art from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Discover interactive science exhibits that delve into topics like space exploration, paleontology, and natural history. Let your little ones unleash their creativity in the hands-on Art Studio or marvel at the wonders of the universe in the Planetarium. LASM offers a stimulating and enriching experience for the whole family.

USS Kidd Veterans Museum:

Step aboard the USS Kidd, a historic Fletcher-class destroyer docked on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge. Explore the ship's decks, compartments, and weaponry as you learn about its remarkable role in World War II and the Korean War. Discover the stories of the brave sailors who served aboard this “Pirate of the Pacific” and gain a deeper understanding of naval history and the challenges faced by those who fought for their country.

LSU Rural Life Museum:

Travel back in time at the LSU Rural Life Museum, a living history museum that showcases the unique traditions and lifestyles of 18th- and 19th-century Louisiana. Stroll through a picturesque village setting, complete with authentic homes, barns, and other structures that represent different periods and social classes. Witness demonstrations of traditional crafts like blacksmithing, woodworking, and weaving. Learn about the agricultural practices of the time, including crops, livestock, and tools. The Rural Life Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Louisiana's rural past and the people who shaped it.

Southwest Louisiana Road Trips

Children's Museum of Acadiana:

Ignite your child's imagination and curiosity at the Children's Museum of Acadiana in Lafayette. This vibrant museum provides a hands-on learning environment where kids can explore, create, and discover. From a miniature town to a construction zone to a bubble room, the museum's exhibits cater to a wide range of interests and ages. Watch your little ones build with giant blocks, play dress-up, climb on the jungle gym, and engage in countless other interactive activities that spark creativity and learning.

Lafayette Science Museum:

Continue your scientific exploration at the Lafayette Science Museum. Delve into the wonders of the natural world through interactive exhibits that cover a broad spectrum of topics, from dinosaurs and fossils to the human body and the environment. Discover the secrets of the cosmos in the planetarium, where you can gaze at the stars and learn about the constellations. The Lafayette Science Museum provides a fun and educational experience for curious minds of all ages.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Road Trips

Zip N Fun Adventure Park:

Get your adrenaline pumping at Zip N Fun Adventure Park in Gulfport. This aerial adventure park features a series of rope bridges, zip lines, and other obstacles high above the ground, offering a thrilling way to challenge yourself and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. With courses designed for different skill levels, it's a fun-filled activity for both adults and children.

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center:

Spark your child's imagination and curiosity at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, a hands-on museum that makes learning a joyful experience. With over 15,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, kids can explore a miniature town, climb a rock wall, navigate a pirate ship, and engage in countless other hands-on activities. The museum also features a Super Colossal Climbing Structure and a two-story indoor playground perfect for burning off energy. After a day of exploration, head to the nearby beach for some sun and sand.

Climbing structure at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center Gulfport Mississippi

Ocean Adventures Marine Park:

Located in Gulfport, Mississippi, Ocean Adventures Marine Park offers a unique opportunity to interact with marine animals. Encounter bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and various other marine creatures. Witness exciting animal shows, participate in educational programs, and even get the chance to swim with the dolphins.

Infinity Science Center:

Embark on an out-of-this-world adventure at the Infinity Science Center, located near Pearlington, Mississippi. As the official visitor center for NASA's Stennis Space Center, Infinity offers an immersive experience into the realms of space exploration, Earth science, engineering, and technology. Explore interactive exhibits that delve into the history of spaceflight, the challenges of living and working in space, and the cutting-edge research happening right here on Earth. You can also witness the power of rocket engine testing at Stennis Space Center, marvel at artifacts from the Apollo program, and even experience a simulated hurricane in the Earth Science Gallery. For a truly unique experience, catch a show at the 3D Immersive Theater, where you'll feel like you're soaring through the cosmos or diving into the depths of the ocean.

Infinity Science Center Mississippi

Gulf Islands Waterpark:

Make a splash at Gulf Islands Waterpark, a sprawling aquatic paradise in Gulfport. With over 15 water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and a dedicated children's area, the park offers endless fun for all ages. Experience the thrill of the Horn Island Blaster, a high-speed water coaster, or relax on a tube in the gentle currents of the Lazy Pearl River. For the little ones, there are plenty of splash zones and kiddie slides to keep them entertained. Whether you're seeking thrills or simply looking to cool off on a hot day, Gulf Islands Waterpark is the perfect destination for a family outing.

Mississippi Aquarium:

Immerse yourself in the wonders of the underwater world at the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport. Discover diverse marine life from the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and colorful fish. Explore interactive exhibits, witness captivating animal encounters, and learn about the importance of marine conservation. The aquarium also offers special events and educational programs throughout the year.

Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast Road Trips

USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park:

Immerse yourself in naval history at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, where you can explore the mighty USS Alabama, a WWII-era battleship that played a significant role in the Pacific Theater. Step aboard this floating museum and wander through its decks, turrets, and living quarters, gaining a firsthand glimpse into life at sea during wartime. The park also features the USS Drum, a WWII submarine, and a collection of military aircraft, tanks, and other artifacts.

Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center:

Ignite your curiosity at the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, a hands-on science museum in Mobile that sparks wonder and discovery for all ages. With over 150 interactive exhibits, you can explore the human body, the wonders of the natural world, and the principles of physics and engineering. Don't miss the chance to experience an immersive film in the IMAX Dome Theater, where you'll feel like you're part of the action.

OWA Parks & Resort:

Experience the thrill of the Gulf Coast's premier amusement park at OWA, located in Foley, Alabama. At the heart of OWA lies Tropic Falls, an expansive theme park offering over 20 exhilarating rides, from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to family-friendly attractions. Additionally, Tropic Falls boasts the largest indoor water park in the region, providing year-round aquatic fun with slides, lazy rivers, and a wave pool. When you need a break from the thrills, stroll through Downtown OWA, a charming district filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Whether you're seeking adventure or relaxation, OWA has something for everyone.

Tropical Falls at OWA in Foley Alabama

National Naval Aviation Museum:

Embark on a journey through the history of naval aviation at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. While slightly beyond the three-hour mark from New Orleans, this world-renowned museum is worth the extra drive. Marvel at an impressive collection of over 150 meticulously restored aircraft, from vintage biplanes to modern fighter jets. Explore interactive exhibits that showcase the evolution of naval aviation, the technology behind flight, and the heroic stories of pilots and crews. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring Blue Angels practice their precision flight maneuvers on select days, a sight that will leave you breathless. With its vast collection and engaging displays, the National Naval Aviation Museum offers a truly unforgettable experience for aviation enthusiasts of all ages.

What's your favorite road trip destination?

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