New Orleans is one of the most popular travel destinations not only in Louisiana but in the United States. However, there are a number of great day trips found within a short drive from the Crescent City that shouldn’t be missed. From swamp tours to historical sites, get to know Louisiana culture and history when you visit one of these day trips from New Orleans.
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Global Wildlife Center (Nearby Hotels)
Folsom, Louisiana, found a little over an hour drive from New Orleans, is home to Global Wildlife Center. This wildlife preservation is the largest of its kind in the country, with over 4,000 free-roaming animals spanning 900 acres. Animals from all over the world call Global Wildlife Center home. Guests here will see exotic creatures like zebras, giraffes, kangaroos, camels and more all from the open-air safari trucks.
Abita Springs (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Escape the busy city life of New Orleans for the day when you visit this charming town only an hour drive from the Crescent City. Abita Springs regularly draws beer lovers since the city is home to the state’s oldest brewery. Enjoy a cold beer and take a brewery tour at Abita Brewing Company. However, Abita Springs offers more than just beer. Abita Mystery House, an old gas station turned wacky art museum, is worth a visit during your day trip here.
Lafayette (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A visit to Lafayette, Louisiana is well worth the two-hour drive from New Orleans. If you truly want to experience Louisiana culture, then you’ll want to visit Lafayette for a day trip. History buffs should visit Acadian Village and Vermilionville Historic Village, both offering a taste of Cajun living in the 18th and 19th centuries. If you’re looking for some top-notch Cajun and Creole cuisine, then head to nearby Breaux Bridge, the Crawfish Capital of the World, to enjoy some mudbugs and boudin.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (Nearby Hotels)
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spot some of Louisiana’s wildlife. Although Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is actually home to six different sites, the Barataria Preserve in Marerro is a must visit. Stroll the boardwalks on a self-guided tour, and keep a lookout for native wildlife like alligators and bald eagles.
Grand Isle State Park (Nearby Hotels)
Hit the beach for the day at Grand Isle State Park. In just a two hour drive from popular attractions in New Orleans, you could be walking along the seven miles of sandy shore found at this Louisiana state park. Even if the weather isn’t right for a beach day, travelers still head to this park, especially to walk along the Grand Isle Birding Trail. During April, Grand Isle plays host to the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebrations, where hundreds of birds are seen during their migratory route.
The Great River Road (Nearby Hotels)
View some of the state’s most picturesque spots when you take a drive along the scenic byway known as the Great River Road. Traversing alongside the Mississippi River, the Great River Road leads motorists through Louisiana’s past, as there are a number of old plantations found along the route. Admire the beauty of these plantations, then learn about their history. You can hear stories and secrets behind these homes when you stop at the plantations along the Great River Road.
Baton Rouge (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Louisiana’s capital city is only an hour and a half from New Orleans. Baton Rouge has plenty to offer day trippers. This city has a number of great museums to explore from the African American Museum to the Louisiana Art and Science Museum to even the Old State Capitol. If you’re looking for a place to cool off during a hot and humid Louisiana day, you may want to spend your time in Baton Rouge at the Blue Bayou Water Park.
St. Francisville (Hotel Prices & Photos)
St. Francisville is a perfect day trip for history buffs. A two-hour drive from New Orleans, St. Francisville is home to a number of historical sites, like the Rosedown Plantation, the WFP Historical Museum, and the Locust Grove State Historic Site. Furthermore, outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the trails and campsites found at Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area.
Whitney Plantation (Nearby Hotels)
Less than an hour drive outside of New Orleans is the Whitney Plantation, a plantation museum that showcases the lives and struggles of slaves in the South. This thought-provoking exhibit is well worth your time. It’s an educational experience in Wallace, Louisiana that every American should visit.
Honey Island Swamp (Nearby Hotels)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Louisiana swamp. The bayous in Louisiana are just as popular as New Orleans itself. Take the 45-minute drive from New Orleans to visit Honey Island Swamp. Found in Slidell, Louisiana, this swamp is home to a number of touring companies that will show you around the swamplands here. If you’re lucky, you may even see a gator!