Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to New Orleans than just the French Quarter. In fact, there’s a lot more to New Orleans than New Orleans. Adventures are awaiting just outside the city limits.
Scroll down for three off-the-beaten-path experiences waiting to be had during your next trip down the bayou…
Hit the swamps…
Snakes and turtles and alligators, oh my!
A pontoon tour is great for a leisurely look at the bayou and some truly unique photos. Airboats are ideal for those with a need for speed who want to go zipping across the water and aren’t afraid of getting wet. But for those who really want to get down in the muck, a kayak tour is a definite must. See exotic wildlife, lush vegetation and abandoned cajun fishing camps up close and personal as you navigate through the many hidden waterways.
Most tour groups offer shuttle service to the swamps from the French Quarter. Just remember to pack a bottle of water and bug spray.
Check out Plantation Country…
History, interior design and architecture buffs alike will appreciate the nearly one dozen historic plantation homes within an hour or so from the French Quarter.
Walk beneath the centuries-old live oaks leading up to the front entrance of iconic Oak Alley. Hear about Creole culture as you wander the historic halls of Laura. Visit St. Joseph, which is still a productive sugarcane plantation. Then there’s the Whitney Plantation, the only plantation museum with a focus on slavery, which it does through the moving use of first-person narratives, historic buildings and artwork.
Each home is unique and tells its own story. For a complete list of plantations tours, check out the official New Orleans guides.
Explore the Lower 9th Ward…
Perhaps no other neighborhood in New Orleans exhibits more pride or greater resilience than the Lower 9th Ward, which is just a four mile jaunt from the French Quarter.
Take a bike tour and see the historic houses, community farms and famed Make It Right homes, then stop by the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle, where you’re likely to spot all kinds of native wildlife–birds, raccoons, nutria, even alligators.
Afterwards, have lunch over at Cafe Dauphine, a cozy white table cloth restaurant that specializes in traditional New Orleans cuisine, then walk the calories off along the Bend in the Levee trail, a tranquil, mile-long path along the Mississippi with an unparalleled view of the downtown skyline.