New Orleans is famous for its’ Mardi Gras celebrations and seafood restaurants. Nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River, The Big Easy offers visitors a variety of activities to do along the waterfront all year long. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or family adventure, New Orleans is a premier waterfront destination that makes an ideal backdrop for your vacation.
Best Waterfronts in New Orleans
- Lake Pontchartrain
Named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest continuous bridge over water, the Lake Pontchartrain causeway is a 24-mile bridge — with almost 10 miles where no land is visible — over the brackish waters of Lake Pontchartrain. There’s a toll to travel the bridge into New Orleans, but traveling north on the causeway is free. It’s a trip that can take an hour or so depending upon traffic, and you can stop and explore the town of Mandeville before heading back to New Orleans. Enjoy morning and evening views of the lake by staying in one of the New Orleans waterfront rentals available on Lake Pontchartrain.
- Canal Street
No trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to Canal Street. Explore the history and culture of New Orleans while enjoying delicious food and trendy shops. Many of the original homes and shops underwent restorations and now house grand hotels and restaurants but still give off a feel of that old French-Creole grandeur of times past. Canal street is a hot spot during Mardi Gras and lights up brightly at Christmas. It’s also home to numerous theaters that showcase Broadway performances and local performers. With a quick hop on a streetcar, you’re off to your next adventure in the French Quarter or any of the other major thoroughfares that connect to Canal Street.
- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Spend a family day enjoying the sights and sounds of a deep-sea experience. The Audubon Aquarium is a family-friendly stop for any New Orleans waterfront vacation with kids. Get up close and personal with a shark at the touch tank. Find amusement from the antics of the sea otters. Walk through the Caribbean Reef Tunnel and see deep-sea creatures that only divers usually get to experience. The aquarium is right next to the Mississippi River and offers daily general admission or an Audubon Experience package that includes tickets to the aquarium, butterfly garden, insectarium and the Audubon Zoo.
- Woldenberg Riverfront Park
Woldenberg Riverfront Park is right on the Mississippi River and is an ideal place for a picnic lunch, leisurely walk or time spent sitting and enjoying the scenery. Sometimes local musicians and performers share their art with those visiting the park and give you a taste of New Orleans’ creative side. Woldenberg is also the site for the April French Quarter Festival, where local jazz performers showcase their talents.
- Steamboat Natchez
Experience the Mississippi River in all of its glory with a two-hour cruise on the steamboat Natchez. See why New Orleans is one of the busiest ports and enjoy learning the history of New Orleans. With lunch and dinner cruises available, Natchez makes the perfect start or end to a New Orleans waterfront vacation. Tickets for children ages 5 and under are free for the sightseeing cruise, with a nominal fee for a lunch or dinner cruise.