How to Get Off the Beaten Path in New Orleans
Though the nightlife and festivals of New Orleans thrive on the energy of crowds, you can still experience a quieter side to the Big Easy. Venture outside the city limits—or even just beyond the French Quarter—to discover the road-less-traveled. Here’s how.
Take a ride on Steamboat Natchez
Explore the Mississippi in a whole new way.
Climb aboard this vintage paddlewheeler for a trip down the mighty Mississippi. The crowds and sounds of the French Quarter fade away as the Natchez chugs along the waterfront, and you'll get an alternative perspective of New Orleans’ busy port too. Choose between brunch, dinner, and jazz cruise options.
Explore the Mardi Gras Museum
Get to know Mardi Gras World.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans’ most famous party at this Mardi Gras museum and workshop. Get up close to papier-mâché floats— and the outrageous costumes and masks used in the annual parades—without getting jostled on a sidewalk or paying peak season prices.
Learn the secrets of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Make a stop in the city's Garden District.
Due to its close proximity to the the French Quarter, most New Orleans visitors make a beeline for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. But if you venture further afield to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District, you’ll see some of New Orleans’ most impressive family tombs and compete with fewer tour groups for the hallowed ground.
Tour the Whitney Plantation
Make a poignant visit to a plantation.
While many plantations conjure Louisiana's Antebellum Period, Whitney is the only one that’s dedicated to the experience of enslaved people. At this former sugar plantation outside New Orleans, see remaining slave cabins, the owner’s house, a church, and memorials on a tour.
Get back to nature in Cajun Country
Look out for 'gators in a Louisiana bayou.
The rollicking bars and souvenir shops of the French Quarter seem a world away in the Louisiana bayous, where crickets and frogs replace the sound of traffic and jazz bands. Explore the wildlife and culture of wetlands such as Honey Island or Manchac Swamp on a high-speed airboat ride or a more relaxed nature cruise. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild Louisiana ‘gators.