New Orleans Family Vacation Guide

Family Vacations in New Orleans

New Orleans may have a reputation for partying and nightlife, but it has a family-friendly side, too. If you’ve ever considered a family vacation to New Orleans, don’t hesitate – NOLA has culture, food and attractions unlike anywhere in the United States, making it an unforgettable destination for families.

One of the great things about New Orleans is that you can have fun no matter the length of your stay. There’s so much to see and do, and for the most part, you don’t need to plan an itinerary.

How to Get There

Fly into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), rent a car from Alamo and drive about 25 minutes to the French Quarter.

Where to Stay

Accommodations are plentiful all over the city, but to be in the center of the action you’ll want to stay in the French Quarter. Both JW Marriott New Orleans and Loews New Orleans Hotel are good options for families.

Family Vacations in New Orleans

What to See and Do

Whether you’re staying for a long weekend or an entire week, here are a few must-see, family-friendly attractions.

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium - As North America’s largest museum devoted to insects and their relatives, the Audubon encourages kids to use all five senses as they get up close and personal with real insects and butterflies. This even includes a bug tasting!

Tip: If you have a few days to play, consider purchasing an Audubon Experience ticket, which provides admission to Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium for a reduced price.

Family Vacations in New Orleans

Haunted History Tour - With such a vibrant past, New Orleans has some fantastic ghost stories!

Consider taking the kids on a family-friendly, guided walking tour of the French Quarter, where they’ll learn some of the history behind “the most haunted city in America.”

Tip: Haunted history tours last two hours and most families attend the 6 p.m. time slot. The tours are more educational than scary.

Family Vacations in New Orleans


Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World - Even if you're not in town for Mardi Gras, you can still experience some of the excitement with a visit to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, where the majority of the floats for Carnival season are designed and built. This attraction has all of the pageantry without any of the crowds, and you even get to sample a piece of King Cake! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Swamp Tour - Get out of the city for a trip down the bayou through gator country. You can choose either an airboat swamp tour for a thrilling experience, or a slower, covered boat for a more leisurely float through the wetlands of Louisiana. Either way, you’re guaranteed to see wildlife, including alligators, turtles, snakes and birds.

Family Vacations in New Orleans

Where to Eat

All the sightseeing will no doubt leave you hungry, and if there's one thing New Orleans does exceptionally well, it's food. NOLA has no shortage of culinary delights, and they're all relatively inexpensive. Here are a few recommendations:

Beignets at Cafe du Monde - Start every morning with a beignet and cafe au lait (or a hot chocolate for the kids) at the world world-famous Cafe du Monde next to Jackson Square. Don't let the line scare you; it's worth the wait and goes rather quickly!

Tip: There's no hostess to seat you, so as soon as a table is available, clean or dirty, feel free to sit down. There's also a takeaway window if you want your beignets to go.

Family Vacations in New Orleans

Po’ Boys at Mother’s - Whether you go with shrimp, oysters or the Famous Ferdi Special, get your Po’ Boy fix at Mother’s for home cooked flavor you can only get in the south.

Muffuletta at Central Grocery - Stop into Central Grocery on Decatur Street for a portable meal to go. One muffuletta sandwich -- loaded with marinated olive salad, mortadella, salami, ham, swiss and provolone -- can easily feed a small family.

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Planning a family vacation to New Orleans?

Rent a car at New Orleans International Airport (MSY)!

Stefanie Fauquet

About the Author

Stefanie Fauquet is the founder of, where she blogs about her favorite subjects: food, travel and life adventures. She lives in the Tampa Bay area with her husband and 12-year-old daughter.