Two years ago, during spring break, when there was no Corona virus and we didn't have to stay home, we decided to visit New Orleans with 2 kids for three days. Our daughter was 7 and our son 5 years old at that time. We started our trip from Atlanta and drove with our own car.
My husband and I have been to the Big Easy before, but separately and not with kids. The weather was perfect and we decided it was time for kids to see what that beautiful city was all about, sans Mardi Gras craziness and Bourbon Street at night. It took as about 6 hours to drive to our destination and we didn't even get tired.
We rented a nice one bedroom apartment in financial district via Hotwire, parked our car, and decided to use our feet and public transportation. It's worth mentioning that I found a coupon for our stay at coupons4brands.com. It's always nice to save. Next time we are going, we will fly and get nice discounts on flights from Hotwire and coupons4brands.com or retailmenot.com.
It really was a perfect vacation - easy, relaxed, slow taking in all the sites, and eating well. Our kids are very manageable, even the 5 year old walked for a few miles until his shoes really started bothering him on the second day. We tried to incorporate beautiful historic sites for us and something that was fun for the kids.
The first morning started with amazing breakfast next door from our condo and a trolley ride to the Garden District. It was simply beautiful spring day for a walk and tour of amazing mansions. We spend a few hours doing that and loved the architecture, old oak tree lined streets, and history all around us. We also wanted to take a look at Saint Louis cemetery, but it was locked, so we just walked around it.
After this we had a late lunch and a nice walk along Mississippi River and Jackson Square until dusk. Our daughter loved dancing all along the walkway and our son couldn't get enough of Mississippi Queen Steamboat. We finished out evening returning home after visiting French Quarter and crashing.
The next day was jam-packed with activities. We had to get up early in the morning and drive about 30 minutes to the other side of Lake Pontchartrain to reach our selected swamp tour boat before 9 am. Again, it was a perfect sunny day for an adventure like this!
Our kids are obsessed with everything animals, so we loved the excursion of about 2 hours, during which we saw shore houses, alligators, water birds, turtles, fish, raccoons, and got to feed wild pig that was almost climbing into our air boat. We came back happy, hungry, and sun tanned.
We returned back to the city and found a nice place for lunch, complete with famous beignets. Next was a visit to bug museum. To give you some background, our son was determined to be a bug farmer when he grows up – this is how important this museum was! And we all loved it. We saw countless giant bugs, stunning dried butterfly compositions, got to hold live giant cockroaches, and let live butterflies sit on our hands. Our son was in heaven!
After the bug museum we had a break with Pinkberry ice cream and then head to the New Orleans aquarium, which is our daughter's dream land. We spend a few hours there and got completely tired, but full of great experiences. Next stop was dinner, I don't even remember where. All I know is that we needed beer and kids really needed milk.
Evening ended with a slow stroll through Burbon Street, which was just beginning to get busy at that time. This was our last evening in the Big Easy. Kids said they will be back. I believe they will be back many many times - it's hard not to love New Orleans. The next day we came up with a detour. Instead of driving straight home, we went around Mobile Bay, Alabama, and boarded a ferry that took us and our car from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan. The trip was only 30 minutes and we loved it. We saw oil rigs from close up and felt the sea air on our faces. Once off the ferry, we drove to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and got to spend some time on the white sand beach before a storm. Yes, we got home quite late, but we all agreed that we would repeat this kind of trip any time.
All in all, I recommend New Orleans in spring or fall with kids of every age. If you have little ones, take a stroller with you. Plan something for every family member to enjoy – New Orleans has no shortage of activities, zoos, museums, parks, and historic tours. We loved walking everywhere and taking trolleys. There is also Uber and Lyft for your services, so park your car and forget it, unless you need it to get to a swamp tour, which I highly recommend. There are many swamp tours to choose from and they all will let you spend a couple of hours on the water surrounded by romantic cypress trees covered by hanging moss – perfect for pictures!