It’s certainly not hard to convince friends and family to make a trip to New Orleans. While hosting and showing off our city, sometimes you get the itch to load up the car and do a little exploring yourself. The best part is that with so many fantastic destinations nearby, you really don’t even need to use vacation days if you don’t want to. So, pack your bags as we take a look at five-weekend trips from Nola you can’t miss!
1 . MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST
We understand, the entire Coast seems a little large and broad for a weekend destination, but you can see so much of it in just a matter of days. The entire coast is within a two hours’ drive from New Orleans. With 12 Casinos in Biloxi, Gulfport, D’Iberville & Bay St. Louis, there are plenty of options if you like a night at the casino. The “Golf Coast” also boasts 20 award-winning golf courses designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
We recommend staying in the charming Main Street town of Ocean Springs, taking a chartered fishing tour, and taking a day excursion to Ship Island. There is plenty for the whole family to do on the MS Gulf Coast!
2. GULF SHORES, AL
You can’t beat the laid-back lifestyle of the Alabama Gulf Coast. Just a little over three hours from Nola, Gulf Shores is your place to relax while also offering a ton of fun activities for everyone! Whether you’re looking for a huge resort or just a bed and breakfast on the beach, there are a plethora of lodging options. Take a restful day on the beach or kick it up a notch with jet skis, parasailing and kayaking. If you’re an angler, Gulf Shores is home to one of the largest charter fleets in the country.
Take the kids to The Track, home of golf carts, bumper boats, putt-putt and a giant arcade. Of course, there’s no shortage of amazingly fresh seafood, and we recommend the Original Oyster House and Mikee’s. Finally, cap off your night at The Hangout, the actual beach bar where the famous festival gets its name.
3. NATCHEZ, MS
If the Southern way of life is your cup of tea, then Natchez (less than three hours away) will charm your socks off! The soul of Natchez begins and ends with the Mighty Mississippi, and you have to get up close to appreciate its size and glory. Take a stroll around the many walking paths, stop off and enjoy a shady picnic, or even take an old-time carriage ride.
Next, take a tour of historic downtown and enjoy a tour of the famous Antebellum mansions. Keep the history going by checking out the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, featuring Indian mounds that are hundreds of years old. With spas, art galleries, shopping, and a casino on the river, there’s no shortage of fun options in this new, old Southern town.
4. ABITA SPRINGS, LA
As the name would suggest, Abita Springs is a great weekend trip for the beer lover in your life. Nearby in Covington is the Abita Brewery, home to Lousiana’s largest beer maker. Take a tour of the brewery (Wed-Sun) and of course, stop by the taproom to try out the deliciously fresh brews (open daily). If you’re into interesting (maybe weird) local attractions, then you have to check out the Abita Mystery House, home to 1000s of odd collections and inventions.
If you’d like to get some exercise while viewing the town, hop on your bike or take a stroll down the 31-mile path called the Tammany Trace. This beautiful pathway was once a part of the Illinois Central Railroad and runs right through the center of town. For the music lover, plan a night at the Abita Opry which hosts classic Cajun country concerts.
5. MEMPHIS, TN
If New Orleans had a cousin, it would be the Bluff City. Like our great town, the soul oozes from the birthplace of rock ‘n roll. While it’s the farthest trip on our list, it’s well worth the 5.5-hour drive. We recommend staying at the iconic Peabody Hotel downtown; you have to see the famous tradition of the ducks walking into the grand lobby at 11 a.m. or 5 p.m. daily. For the Elvis fan (who isn’t?), you have to take the tour of his Graceland home. Keep the music alive by visiting the Stax Museum and Sun Studio where legendary performers have recorded.
For the sportsman or anyone for that matter, check out the new Bass Pro Shops inside the Memphis Pyramid. With a swamp inside, as well as a hotel, bowling alley, and the largest free-standing elevator that offers a view of the MS River and the city, it’s truly a spectacle. Don’t just stare at the River, cross it! That’s right, you can cross the entire MS River on foot or bike on the new Big River Crossing. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! For food, we recommend the Rendezvous for their famous ribs and Restaurant Iris, although you truly can’t go wrong. If you’re lucky enough to visit during basketball season, take in a Grizzlies game at the FedEx Forum. Finally, finish your night on the world famous Beale Street. Like we said, this city is well worth the drive (or train ride)!
We’re local. We’re global. As an affiliate of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International®, GARDNER REALTORS has connections to the very best real estate brokers all around the world!