New Orleans Spring Break Crawl: Things to Do Beyond the French Quarter

Barataria New Orleans
Kids love looking for alligators and other wildlife at the Barataria Preserve south of New Orleans. Photo: Adam Karlin
Spring break and hedonistic New Orleans go together well, but to really enjoy this town, treat it like a fine meal rather than a drunken buffet.

Get the All-Inclusive Treatment: Vaughan's
Pay one price for a bundled food or drink experience

New Orleans is built on down home food and roots music. Get both for $10 at local bars like Vaughan's, which hosts Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet's weekly Thursday gig. Admission gives you the gig and all the red beans and rice you can eat. Tasty local fare, better local music.

Worship Water: Lake Pontchartrain
A fun water-centric activity

An off-the-radar public green on Lake Pontchartrain is perfect for grilling, sunbathing, and swimming -- no beach, but the water's lovely. And all of this is freely accessible to the public. Head to where St. Bernard Avenue crosses Lakeshore Drive and park along the road near the picnic tables.

It's 5 o'clock Somewhere – Here:Port of Call
Where to get a great tropical drink

Ignore the neon concoctions of Bourbon Street and head to Port of Call on Esplanade. This salty dog tavern serves enormous tropical drinks (starting at $5.50) that are more kick ass than fruity punch. It doesn't hurt that Port of Call's kitchen cooks what may be the best burgers in the city.

Closer than Disney World: Barataria Preserve
A great activity for kids and families

In spring, the Barataria Preserve, located about 40 minutes south of the city, goes from sleepy national park to full-blown festival of gators, frogs, snakes, and nutria that your kids will love. A boardwalk trail extends over the bayou and a newly visible panoply of wetland wildlife shaking off a groggy winter hangover.

Catch Some Rays: Dat Dog
A place to eat or drink outdoors

Dat Dog's reputation as one of the best hot dog joints in the nation continues to grow. Head to the picnic eating area at the original location on Freret Street, where you can enjoy a beer and a hot sausage ($5-$8) topped with etouffee in the sun.

Planning a Caribbean spring break instead? Check out our island finder >>


Adam Karlin is a journalist who first came to New Orleans for spring break back in 1998. After a whirlwind of live music, good food, and questionable decisions, the city sank its claws into him. He has since relocated to New Orleans, written numerous travel guides to the city, and is the editor of New Orleans & Me.
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