Top 3 outdoor getaways for your New Orleans vacation
Best nature retreats in and around Nola.
by Jeffrey Cheesefish
New Orleans, Louisiana is greatly known for its history, architecture, music, culture and food. Often overlooked during ones stay in our lovely city is the natural beauty and unique landscapes on the outskirts of town. There are so many options when choosing a little getaway from the downtown area, so let me narrow this list down to my 3 favorites
City Park. New Orleans City Park is spectacular. Just 3 or so miles north of the French Quarter up Esplanade Avenue, lies one of the countries oldest, largest and most stunning urban parks. It is over 150 years old and encompasses 1,300 acres! Among some its more notable features is the bayou trail, stretching over a mile which is famous for its flourishing water fowl and turtle population. Across the bayou from the new Cafe Du Monde, sits the nations largest stretch of old growth live oak trees, some almost 800 years old. This is a magical place and somehow doesn’t make the radar of the average vacationer. For art lovers, there is a world renowned museum of art, as well as a free 11 acre sculpture garden next door. Thats just the tip of the iceberg as far as the amenities the park offers, but if you aren’t sold on this brief description, you’re stupid, so on to the next item on the list…
Kayak tour through the Manchac Swamp. There are so many options for swamp tours when you get into town, it can be confusing and difficult to decide which one to choose. It is one of the staples of New Orleans tourism for a reason, but don’t be tricked into joining one of the corporate, run of the mill noisy motorized tours with a boat filled shoulder to shoulder with folks from Nebraska eating cheeseburgers and hitting their children. The only way to really explore the swamps and bayous surrounding New Orleans is by kayak. It’s quiet, it’s immersive…you see more, hear more and learn more. We offer the premier paddling experience in the city and have shuttle buses running to and from the French Quarter to our kayak launch so you don’t need to bother with renting a car or finding parking. Our most popular tour adventures into the Maurepas/Manchac Swamp, a Wildlife Management Area that makes up the 2nd largest Bald Cypress swamp in the country. This is a great opportunity to get away from the noise of downtown for a few hours, get a little exercise, work off your hangover, shoot the prettiest photos of your vacation, and get back to the city refreshed and ready to eat. This trip is the highlight of most visitors New Orleans experience. Get off the beaten path and check us out next time your down this way!
Fontainebleau State Park. Located directly north of Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans south lake shore is a hidden gem of Southeastern Louisiana. One of the perks of visiting Fontainebleau is the opportunity to drive across the 2nd largest bridge IN THE WORLD. It’s about a 45 minute drive to the parks gates, but is well worth the travel time. This is one of the best camping grounds in the region, offering miles of nature trails, bayou crossings and a massive lake front view. Bayou Cane is a gorgeous fresh water bayou that runs directly into Lake Ponchartrain, making for some world class fishing. You can literally catch a red fish and a large mouth bass on the same bait, in the same water. The sunset view over the lake is worth the visit in itself. Definitely check it out if you have a car and at least 5 hours free.