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How to Get Off the Beaten Path in New Orleans

How to Get Off the Beaten Path in New Orleans

Though the nightlife and festivals of New Orleans thrive on the energy of crowds, you can still experience a quieter side of the Big Easy. Be willing to venture outside the city limits or even just beyond the French Quarter to discover the road-less-traveled. Here’s how. 

Steamboat Natchez

Climb aboard this vintage paddlewheeler for a trip down the mighty Mississippi. The crowds and sounds of the French Quarter fade away as the Natchez chugs along the waterfront and you get an alternative perspective of New Orleans’ busy port. Choose between brunch, dinner, and jazz cruise options.

Mardi Gras World

Get a behind-the-scenes look at New Orleans’ most famous party at this Mardi Gras museum and workshop. Get up close to papier-mâché floats, and outrageous costumes and masks used in the annual parades without getting jostled on a sidewalk or paying peak season prices. 

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Due to its close proximity to the the French Quarter, most New Orleans visitors make a beeline for St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. But if you venture further afield to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District, you’ll see some of New Orleans’ most impressive family tombs and compete with fewer tour groups for the hallowed ground.

Whitney Plantation

While many plantations conjure Louisiana's antebellum era, Whitney is the only one that’s dedicated to the experience of enslaved people. At this former sugar plantation outside New Orleans, see remaining slave cabins, the owner’s house, a church, and memorials on a tour. 

Cajun Country

The rollicking bars and souvenir shops of the French Quarter seem a world away in the Louisiana bayous, where crickets and frogs replace the sound of traffic and jazz bands. Explore the wildlife and culture of wetlands such as Honey Island or Manchac Swamp on a high-speed airboat ride or a more relaxed nature cruise. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild Louisiana ‘gators.

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12 Tours and Activities

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Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option

Steamboat Natchez Evening Jazz Cruise with Dinner Option

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2030
The Steamboat Natchez is taking some time off, but her sister vessel will be taking her place. You’ll get the same authentic experience of New Orleans at night on this romantic riverboat cruise! Journey through time on a paddle-wheel boat ride along the mighty Mississippi. Stroll the deck, cozy up with family and friends, and delight in the sparkle of the urban shoreline at dusk. This excursion includes a Creole‐inspired dinner (if option selected) and live jazz music.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$50.00
From
$50.00

Small-Group Airboat and Plantations Tour with Gourmet Lunch from New Orleans
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Small-Group Airboat and Plantations Tour with Gourmet Lunch from New Orleans

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Go beyond the French Quarter and discover the unique Cajun and Creole cultures of New Orleans during this full-day swamp and plantation tour. Venture deep into the bayous, with a small group limited to 12, to see Cajun living and spot wildlife like alligators and pelicans on your high-speed airboat ride. Then, admire the beautiful architecture and learn about the history of Houmas House and Laura Plantation. Gourmet, unlimited buffet lunch at Houmas House is included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$230.00
From
$230.00

Whitney Plantation Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Whitney Plantation Tour

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416
Visit the Whitney Plantation Museum, a former indigo and sugar plantation on the River Road now dedicated to promoting an understanding of slavery in Louisiana. Learn about the realities of plantation life through museum exhibits and recorded narratives as you explore the restored structures and historical slave cabins. Download the Whitney Plantation app for the self-guided tour of Whitney Plantation Museum.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.00
From
$69.00

New Orleans Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

New Orleans Mardi Gras World Behind-the-Scenes Tour

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367
Peek behind the curtain at the marvel of Mardi Gras with this tour of Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. See the behind-the-scenes work and incredible artistry that goes into preparing for the annual celebration. With a guide, learn the history of the event, and see fantastic floats and props. Get a picture in front of your favorite float, dress up in costumes, and sample some classic King Cake.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$22.00
From
$22.00

Honey Island Swamp Tour with Pickup from New Orleans

Honey Island Swamp Tour with Pickup from New Orleans

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153
Trade in the urban bustle for the bayou on a half-day trip from New Orleans to the wilds of the Honey Island Swamp. Relax on the ride from your downtown or French Quarter hotel, and then cruise beneath hanging moss and cypress trees while a wetland ecologist shares tall tales and fun facts about this protected nature reserve on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Learn about Louisiana’s long-standing fishing industry, and keep an eye out for native critters like otters, turtles, egrets, and alligators lurking beneath the surface.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$52.27
From
$52.27

New Orleans Small Group City Tour

New Orleans Small Group City Tour

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434
Immerse yourself in the culture, history, and landscape of vibrant New Orleans on this half-day tour with a small group of 15 people or fewer. This experience combines elements from several disparate tours, including those focusing on architecture, the Garden District, historic cemeteries, the French Quarter, and recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Hotel pickup included.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$52.00
From
$52.00

Manchac Swamp Kayak Small-Group Tour
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Manchac Swamp Kayak Small-Group Tour

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594
Venture beyond New Orleans to the wilds of the Louisiana bayous on a small-group kayaking tour of the Manchac and Maurepas swamps. Climb aboard a tandem kayak and paddle through a lush landscape of cypress forests and wetlands teeming with wildlife. No kayaking experience is necessary, as a guide teaches you everything need to know to enjoy this Southern-style adventure.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$40.00
From
$40.00

New Orleans Garden District Walking Tour Including Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
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New Orleans Garden District Walking Tour Including Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

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Step back in time on this historic walking tour of New Orleans’ Garden District with an experienced guide. Learn about life and death in the city and its unique above-ground crypts and gravesites. Walk shady avenues lined with antebellum homes, and hear how a small riverside settlement grew into a lavish, wealthy city. See a wide range of architectural styles in the elegant Garden District neighborhood then get local tips on the city’s best places to enjoy New Orleans' finest music, food, and drink.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$27.00
From
$27.00

Oak Alley Plantation Tour

Oak Alley Plantation Tour

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640
Experience the grandeur of New Orleans’ antebellum south on a half‐day tour of Oak Alley Plantation. Take a journey through time to the manicured estate and into the gorgeous home, built in 1839. View stunning architecture, oak‐lined esplanades, and enduring sugar cane fields while learning about the plantation’s fascinating – and often somber – histories from expert guides.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$69.00
From
$69.00

New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise

New Orleans Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise

star-4
1873
The Steamboat NATCHEZ is taking some time off, but her sister vessel will be taking her place. You’ll get the same authentic riverboat experience, journeying back in time to when cotton was king and New Orleans was a budding port town that dazzled visitors with its colorful Creole culture. Board the historic riverboat for a morning or afternoon float down the mighty Mississippi. Stroll the deck, admire the iconic paddlewheel, enjoy live music, and snap picturesque shots of the beautiful urban shoreline. This family‐friendly excursion offers an optional tableside lunch (additional expense).
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.00
From
$38.00

New Orleans Hidden Gems Food and Cocktail Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

New Orleans Hidden Gems Food and Cocktail Tour

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20
Take a big bite out of the Big Easy on this culinary walking tour of the Freret neighborhood in New Orleans. This charming uptown neighborhood packs all the charm and flavor of the French Quarter without any of the crowds and offers you an authentic taste of New Orleans food and culture.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$96.00
From
$96.00

New Orleans Airboat Ride

New Orleans Airboat Ride

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1349
Experience New Orleans’ wild bayou country on an exciting, family‐friendly airboat ride. This boat tour winds through the mossy cypress swamp close to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, named for the 19th‐century pirate and smuggler. While onboard, enjoy lively commentary from a native guide as you admire lush, forested shoreline and spot local wildlife.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$59.00
From
$59.00