You may think of New Orleans as an adult’s only destination; and while that is true for a lot of the city, there are ways to make your trip to NOLA a family affair. I took my 13 year old daughter on an extended family vacation to New Orleans this summer and we had a great time!
Family Travel Tips for New Orleans
Watch the Weather
We were in NOLA the last week of June. My first piece of advice would be don’t go during a heat wave if you can help it. Summer heat mixed with the humidity from the Mississippi River made for some unbearable afternoons. We did all of our activities during the day so we could be back to the hotel before it got too late. At night, we ate dinner, watched movies, and played games we had brought with us. To be honest, by late afternoon most days, the heat had us all so worn out there were few complaints about calling it a day.
Location, location, location
Our hotel was a block off Canal Street, so at night things got a little loud and rowdy. Even if it hadn’t been hotter than the sun, we still would have done our best to be back at the hotel before it was too late. There are also lots of home rental options all around the city in addition to a variety of hotels. We didn’t want to have to rely on a car to get around so for us it made sense to book a hotel just a little off the beaten path but not too far from the action. The sound of jazz music and people enjoying themselves seemed to never end. Our hotel provided ear plugs, and we used them. If you or your little ones are light sleepers, they may be a good thing to bring just in case, or a sound machine.
There are lots of great tours available in New Orleans, but they can fill up fast. My suggestion is to figure out some tours you and your family might enjoy and book them as soon as you arrive, if not a few days before. This takes some of the spontaneity out of the trip but ensures you get to do everything you want to. For example, we tried to book a bus tour of haunted sites in the city but there wasn’t one that could accommodate all of us so we missed out on that.
Use public transportation
We used the street car system to get around easily during our stay. In addition, they also have buses and water ferries.
Our favorites stops
The Frenchman Street area made for a great day of shopping, food, and most importantly, listening to live Jazz! We took the street car there and it was a breeze. This area, East of the French Quarter is a quieter version of Bourbon Street during the day. We shopped at the outdoor market and had a great time at a restaurant listening to live music.
St. Louis Cemetery No 1 was our top stop and it did not disappoint. Entry is only available with a guided tour. Our tour guide, a NOLA native, led us through the old and new tombs in this cemetery with a lot of color commentary. It is absolutely something we would do again.
We drove to the Laura Plantation to learn about the experience slaves had in Louisiana during that time. It was a learning experience we will never forget.
Café Du Monde is a must-visit for me anytime I am in New Orleans. Something about the powdered sugar filled bags of beignets is New Orleans. A bag of beinents and a café au lait would be my breakfast every day if I lived in the city. We may have gone there two or three times!
Mardi Gras World is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Learning about the tradition of Mardi Gras is fascinating. Getting to see past and future Mardi Gras floats and decorations is so cool! You get to tour the working studio to see the artists in action. Great photo opportunities too!
Don’t skip the WWII museum. It is a somber learning experience. It is one of the best curated museums I have been to. Upon entry, you get the info of an American who was somehow involved in the war. You follow their journey as you go through the museum.
Those are some of my tips and favorite things from our trip. If you and your family have ever been to The Big Easy, drop your ideas in the comments.