Outdoor fun, Things To Do

8 Outdoor Adventures to Get This Summer Started

School’s out for the summer, which means if your kids aren’t on vacation or attending summer camp, they may be at risk of becoming the ultimate couch potatoes. Not to worry though, we’ve compiled a list of eight fantastic outdoor activities around New Orleans that are sure to get your kids off the couch and into the great outdoors. From exploring lush parks to embarking on thrilling adventures, these activities will keep your children entertained, active, and making the most of their summer break. Get ready to discover some of the best family-friendly spots that New Orleans has to offer!

Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute encompasses the zoo, aquarium, insectarium, and numerous parks across town. If you’re visiting Uptown, head to Audubon Zoo to meet exotic and endangered animals from around the globe amidst canopies of great oak trees and wonders of nature. You’ll also find beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, kids’ play areas, and the Cool Zoo waterpark.

From Audubon Park in Uptown to Woldenberg on the Riverfront in Downtown, there’s so much to discover within the Audubon Parks system! Enjoy tee time at the Audubon Golf Course or tea time at the Audubon Clubhouse. For sports enthusiasts, check out the different recreation fields and tennis courts. Did you know the parks are also home to horse stables and nature centers? The possibilities here are truly endless!

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Reserve

The Bayou Sauvage Urban National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans East is one of the few remaining marsh areas next to Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. The refuge is open to visitors every day during daylight hours and closed at night. It’s a great spot for fishing, crabbing, hiking, paddling, bird watching, nature photography, youth waterfowl hunting, self-guided tours, and educational programs.

Bayou St. John

Bayou St. John is a serene area in Mid-City known for its natural beauty and as the host of various festivals, including Bayou Boogaloo, Praise Fest, and the renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It’s a popular spot for activities like running, dog walking, and enjoying the outdoors. Visitors can also rent kayaks or paddleboards to take in the unique views of this neighborhood while enjoying activities like picnicking, watching the sunset, playing frisbee, or even practicing yoga. Don’t forget to check out the fabulous restaurants and shops nearby!

City Park

New Orleans City Park offers a wide range of attractions, seasonal events, and recreational activities suitable for people of all ages and interests. Whether you’re an artist, an athlete, a nature enthusiast, or just young at heart, there’s something special for everyone within the park. From a golf course and various playgrounds to expansive outdoor spaces for leisure, the park also features must-see attractions such as the Botanical Garden, Carousel Garden Amusement Park, City Bark, City Putt, Louisiana Children’s Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Storyland, and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

Lafitte Greenway

The Lafitte Greenway, a 2.6-mile linear park situated in the heart of New Orleans, serves as a vital link connecting people to nature, various destinations, and each other. Since its establishment in 2015, this green space has become the city’s primary route for cyclists and pedestrians, bridging neighborhoods from the French Quarter to City Park. Whether you seek community engagement, nature exploration, or physical activity, the Greenway offers something for everyone! Children can have fun at the playgrounds, pool, or sports fields, and the park hosts community events throughout the year such as Greenway Fest, Halloween Spooktacular, and Movies in the Park.

Streetcar Adventures

The streetcar system in New Orleans offers a charming, convenient, and affordable way to explore the city. There are four lines, all originating Downtown, and each takes you through different parts of the city. If you’re paying with cash, you’ll need the correct change. Adults pay $1.25 per ride, while children and seniors/riders with disabilities have discounted fares. Alternatively, you can use the Le Pass app to access route information, buy passes, and get updates. The Saint Charles Street Line is known for its beautiful route along St. Charles Avenue, passing by landmarks such as Loyola and Tulane universities. The Canal Streetcar Line travels through the Central Business District and into the Mid-City area, ending at City Park Avenue. The Riverfront Line is popular for its route from the French Market to the Audubon Aquarium and beyond, passing by shopping and dining areas.

Swamp Tours

Just outside New Orleans, you can find many tour companies offering boat tours through the swamps and bayous. Many companies also provide transportation to and from hotels, making it convenient to visit the nearby swamps. These tours give you the chance to see and even feed alligators and other wildlife. In addition to traditional airboat tours, you can also explore the swamps on a pontoon boat, pedal barge, tiki boat, or even a kayak!


ZipNola offers a unique experience as the world’s first fully aquatic swamp zipline. The adventure includes five separate ziplines totaling half a mile, two elevated sky bridges, and an elevated spectating deck for viewing the swamp scenery. Riders can enjoy a bird’s eye view of New Orleans’ cypress swamps and spot alligators, turtles, snakes, and other wildlife from the treetops. The 60′ start tower also provides a panoramic view of the Maurepas Swamp, the historic village of Frenier, Lake Pontchartrain, and the New Orleans skyline. Throughout the course, riders can appreciate the swamp habitat and its diverse wildlife up close.

This article was originally published in June 2024.

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