When you want to just get away and do something new but don’t want to break the budget, a road trip is the perfect choice! Gas prices are low and adventure is near. We’ve put together 4 AMAZING day trips that the whole family will enjoy — each just a quick drive from Baton Rouge. You’ll enjoy a day full of adventure and be home in time for bed!
You’d never guess this little beach town was full of enriching activities for kids of all ages, not to mention enjoying a simple beach just a couple hours from home. (Google Map) – 2 Hour Drive
1. If you are an early riser, your first stop should definitely be The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. This interactive learning center will capture anyone’s fascination with marine life! Open Monday-Saturday, be sure to book your reservation online for the morning (9:30am) or afternoon (1:30pm) tour. Visitors will get their hands wet in the touch tanks, explore new sea creatures, and be treated to a live dolphin show. You can even feed or swim with the dolphins at an additional cost.
2. For those with a slower start, hold out for the 1:30pm Marine show, and head to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center first. Be sure to plan for a few hours here. There is something for every child: pretend play, art explorations, science inquiry, outdoor adventuring, and more. Visitors can return at a later time in the day, so if you need to run out for a quick lunch, you can return and play at no charge. There is also a picnic area if you prefer to pack your own snacks.
3. As your day begins to wind down, take a visit to the Friendship Oak located on The University of Southern Mississippi’s campus. This 500 year old oak is stunning to see and a great photo-opp, and it is believed “those who enter my shadow will remain friends through all their lifetime.”
4. Finally, be sure to pack a couple of buckets and shovels and end your day on the sands of Long Beach, MS. What could be more perfect than a walk in the sand as the sun sets on your fun-filled family day!
Full of culture, family-friendly fun, and some really great food, Lafayette will take you by surprise. (Google Map) – 1 Hour Drive
1. Start your morning off right with an authentic French breakfast at Pouparts Bakery. Enjoy a croissant, freshly-baked bread, and a treat or two for later. And be sure to have the kids practice their “Bonjour!” and “Merci!” (Closed Mondays)
2. Head over to beautiful Vermillionville next: a living history museum and folklife park where visitors can experience hands-on history. Tour the original, restored homes of the Acadian, Native American, and Creole people in the mid 1700’s – late 1800’s. Enjoy demonstrations by local artisans, wander the beautiful gardens, and let the kids imagine they are back in time! (Closed Mondays)
3. After a yummy, Cajun lunch at one of the many local eateries downtown, take some time to stroll around all the shops and enjoy a coffee or ice cream.
4. For the afternoon, children of all ages would certainly enjoy the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. Visitors will love the pretend play stations, hands-on exhibits, a toddler play area, bubble station, and more! (Closed Mondays)
5. If you are more in a science mood, the Lafayette Science Museum has a ton to explore. Exhibits range from geology, entomology, space, and even dinosaur fossils (through April 2016). Stay for a 4pm Planetarium show and learn about the night sky as you wind down from your cultural day in this lovely city. (Closed Mondays)
New Orleans — Uptown
No need to travel all the way downtown to the busy French quarter! Enjoy the beauty of New Orleans and plenty of family-friendly fun. (Google Map) – 1.5 Hour Drive
1. Start your day off with a walk on the wild side with a visit to the Audubon Zoo. You could easily spend all day wandering around the beautiful grounds and visiting all the exhibits, but we recommend planning a 3 hour visit and saving some energy for the rest of the day. In addition to the beautiful animals, you can check out a cool dinosaur exhibit, play by Monkey Hill, and enjoy a snack or two. (Closed Mondays)
2. After a busy morning, take a lazy, stroller-friendly stroll down Magazine St. If you’re hungry, there are TONS of places and it will be hard to choose. You could enjoy pizza at Slice or a snoball from SnoWizard. If you need a refuel, coffee at PJ’s or La Boulangerie will not disappoint. There is also plenty of shopping and people watching, too!
3. From here, head North to historic St. Charles Avenue. You will want to find a parking spot along one of the side streets because you will be hopping on the St. Charles Streetcar. Kids will love this 20-30 minute ride with plenty to see along the way. Bring exact change ($1.25/person) and be sure you hop on the car going Uptown. While you enjoy the beautiful houses, your kids will have fun spotting all the forgotten Mardi Gras beads in the trees.
4. Towards the end of the streetcar route, you will want to make a stop at beautiful Audubon Park. There are beautiful oak trees, winding walking paths, and a fantastic playground for the kids. You can hop back on the streetcar heading back to where you parked as your fun day in historic New Orleans begins to wind down.
This beautiful, family-friendly area on the Northshore is sure to have something for everyone! (Google Map) – 1 Hour Drive
1. Just a quick drive from Baton Rouge, you’ll want to start your day early on the Northshore with a first stop at Mande’s for breakfast or brunch. Kids will love their Mickey Mouse pancakes and adults will love the Crawfish Sausage Eggs Benedict. Yummy.
2. After your hearty breakfast, drive just a couple miles east and enjoy a walk and playground stop at the Lake Ponchartrain Lakefront. Check out the massive live oaks along the lake and try to spot the New Orleans skyline and all the sailboats out on a clear day.
3. For the outdoorsy family, head to the Tammany Trace for some bike riding along the trails. Don’t have your own bikes? You can rent them at The Shiver Shack (and enjoy a great snack here as well!) In warmer months, the kids will love the Splash Pad at the Trailhead and an inclusive playground along the trace.
4. If you need some time indoors, the brand new Imagination Station is sure to please kids of all ages. Kids will love the imaginative play areas, hands on exploration, and art activities. Admission is charged by the hour, so stay as short or long as you’d like. And there are plenty of restaurants nearby, if you need a lunch break.
5. After a busy day so far, spend the late afternoon at the peaceful Fountainbleau State Park. This 2,800 acre park has everything from hiking trails, a nature center, fishing spots, playgrounds, and a beach! The sandy beach along the lake is the perfect spot to bird watch, collect rocks and shells, and build a sandcastle or two. You could even stay and watch the beautiful sunset from the pier as your nature-filled day comes to an end.