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The Best Recreational Activities to Do Outdoors in New Orleans

A GUIDE TO GETTING OUTSIDE IN NEW ORLEANS: FAMOUS PARKS, WATER ACTIVITIES, WILDLIFE, AND HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS

Indulging in southern comfort foods and cocktail drinks while visiting New Orleans calls for fresh air, movement, and outdoor adventures. Louisiana is home to hundred-year-old oak trees, alligators, vast swamps, luscious parks, and historic buildings worth appreciating. With mild winters, cool falls and springs, and robust summers, there’s something to do outdoors all year in the New Orleans area.

Explore Southern Louisiana’s Natural Swamps and Wildlife

Some of New Orleans’ most curious residents live within the swamps and marshes surrounding the city. Get up close and personal with alligators, pelicans, raccoons, wild boar, and turtles by taking a swamp tour. Professional tour guides escort visitors throughout the cypress-filled swamps by flat-bottomed boat. The delicate ecosystems of the Louisiana Swamp are bound to impress.

Bike or Walk Through the Historic French Quarter and Garden District

Elaborate Spanish and French architecture fill the French Quarter, and the Garden District is home to some of the oldest mansions in the city. Weather permitting, strolling or biking through the Vieux Carré is the best way to see iconic landmarks like St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street, and the French Market. Live jazz music fills the cobblestone streets at all hours of the day, creating a lively walk or bike ride.

See the Mighty Mississippi River at Crescent Park

The Mississippi River cradles New Orleans’ western side and has been crucial to the city’s transportation and trading economy since its birth in 1682. There are many ways to see the mighty Mississippi River, but Crescent Park has some of the best riverfront views in the city. The 20-acre urban outdoor space has a dog park, pavilion, and bike path surrounded by clean landscaping. Visitors can participate in fitness classes, live music, and festivals on the weekends or enjoy a peaceful walk any day of the week.

Go for a Picnic in New Orleans City Park

City Park, one of the country’s largest and oldest parks, is a one-stop shop for outdoor activities. The live oak trees, botanical gardens, and vast trails will please nature lovers. Athletic visitors can enjoy the driving ranges, tennis courts, baseball fields, and golf courses that scatter the 1,300 acres of land. All members of the family are welcome at City Park. Dogs adore the 4.6 acres of running space at NOLA City Bark. Young children and the young at heart will be giddy over the rides at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park.

Rent a Paddle Board or Kayak at Bayou St. John

Bayou St. John is a favored waterway in New Orleans’ Mid-City that connects to Lake Pontchartrain. The water is calm, and the neighborhood is quiet, making it the perfect place to paddle board or kayak. Wildlife, particularly birds, thrive at Bayou St. John. Bird watchers can take guided tours to scout Louisiana’s native feathered friends. Several companies offer guided tours of the bayou with equipment rentals, but the banks of the bayou are just as fun for those who want to stay dry.

Visit Audubon Park’s Oak Trees and Wildlife

Audubon Park is New Orleans’ most enchanting municipal park in the Uptown neighborhood. Its sprawling grounds feature picnic areas, athletic fields, and golf courses framed by moss-draped live oak trees. Named in honor of naturalist John James Audubon, the park is a haven for diverse wildlife that roams its recreational acreage. The riverfront section, the Fly, offers unobstructed sunset views over the Mississippi River — the perfect way to end a day outdoors in New Orleans.

Experience New Orleans at J Collection’s Historic Streetcar Inn

The J Collection represents a portfolio of independent and branded hotels in New Orleans. J Collection’s vast destinations ensure a hotel for everyone and any occasion. One of the best hotels to experience New Orleans is the Historic Streetcar Inn, located at 1509 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Book a stay with the Historic Streetcar Inn and create one-of-a-kind New Orleans memories.