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New Orleans is most famous for being the host of Mardi Gras, an event that is notorious for scantily clad coeds and drinking in excess. Is that somewhere you’d like to consider for a family vacation? It should be. It is an truly a great trip when you are traveling with toddlers—boasting wonderful food, rich culture, fun music and friendly locals.

The French Quarter is where most of the vibrancy happens and hotels there can be a bit pricey. No worries though, because there are several accommodations that are located literally steps away, and they are more affordable simply because they aren’t “in” the French Quarter. Temperatures in the Big Easy are relatively comfortable year round—perfect for being outside on a family vacation.

Family vacation in New Orleans

New Orleans has a ton for toddlers

Toddlers will enjoy New Orleans’ famous kiddie attractions such as the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Insectarium, where they can view all sorts of creepy crawlies.

New Orleans, however, has so much more to offer the little ones on their family vacation—sights, sounds and experiences.

Start off your day with a walk down to the river where you can board an old-time authentic steamboat ride on the Mississippi River. Toddlers will relish the chance to ride on a real boat, and you may just get a few minutes to sit back, relax, and enjoy a stellar view of the city. Gaze out at the Crescent City Causeway (the big bridge in the distance) and watch as the skyscrapers float on by. Get in line a little early and get to the back of the boat for great seats. Watching as the paddlewheel turns will be a great treat for your child. If you get up close you can even see rainbows inside as the sunlight bounces off of the churning water. The most popular boat in the city is the Steamboat Natchez, and it offers lots of options to fit your schedule and your style.

A family vacation to remember

After your boat ride, your child will be dying to move around and exert some energy so take a walk toward beautiful Jackson Square which is in the heart of the French Quarter. Be sure to stop at all of the shops on the way so your toddler can enjoy the vibrant colors of the artfully crafted masks and the Mardi Gras beads that can be found in almost every one. As you get closer to your desired destination, the happy thumping of drums and the smooth, bright sounds of trumpets will overtake your senses. The local musicians are very friendly and are happy to take requests. Encourage your little one to dance around appreciate the music. You should too—being silly is good for the soul.

Enjoy the art…. On the canvas and in the café

When you get to Jackson Square, walk around the outer gates and watch all of the artists paint and draw. If your toddler is captivated by the brush strokes and watching masterpiece creation, then sit and relax. If your toddler is the more active sort, head into Jackson Square and play tag on the walkways. Once you are all tired out, head across the street to Café Du Monde for something that the entire family will love—beignets. Café Du Monde has been around since 1862 and is an institution in the French Quarter. Their most popular confection, beignets, are fried dough squares that are covered in powdered sugar, and those little pastries attract loads of tourists (and for good reason!)

The street that separates Café Du Monde and Jackson Square is littered with horse-drawn carriages. Your toddler will love heading over to say hello to these beautiful animals. Hop in, if you’d like, and take a ride to your next destination.

For more information visit:
Audubon Aquarium of the Americans
Audubon Insectarium
Steamboat Natchez
Café Du Monde

Shauna Armitage

Author Shauna Armitage

Shauna Armitage is an editor by day and a social media addict by night. She's also the co-founder of Pure Wander, a passionate traveler and mother of two little nuggets. She loves hiking with the family, staying in hotels that deliver cheeseburgers to your room at midnight, and all the red wine. Pinot Noir please. Connect with her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus

More posts by Shauna Armitage

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