There are so many amazing places nestled within New Orleans—why would you ever want to leave? The concept of leaving this beautiful haven for the culturally rich, and stylishly engaged, is so far gone that I had to do a fair amount of digging to uncover these day trip gems. But the truth is no matter how much we love this town, every now and then the time comes when it’s necessary to leave, if only just for a short time. Depending on how far you’re willing to drive there are loads of fun activities just outside the city, including a great brewery, a bike path along the levee, and a beautiful golf spot. Below are the most compelling reasons I’ve found to travel outside New Orleans. These places are all easy to get to, and if you have a rent a convertible Mustang, a ton of fun to get to as well.
Across Lake Ponchartrain in Abita Springs, is the brewery that makes Abita beer, famous for being the preeminent local beer in New Orleans. Wednesday through Saturday the brewery has a great little tour of the facility that ends in a fairly unrestricted beer tasting. Afterwards go to Bear’s restaurant for great local Louisiana-style food.
Biking the Levee
Running from New Orleans to Kenner along the Mississippi River is a paved levee trail that is a fantastic day trip for the adventurous outdoorsman. Start the trip at the end of Carrolton Avenue and go right towards Kenner. Depending on your endurance level try to plan where to take a break. Usually I bike down to the Huey P. Long Bridge and back and then have a late lunch and a beer at Cooter Browns.
Golf Like the Pros
Every year the Zurich classic takes place at the TPC Louisiana in Avondale, LA. A short 30 minutes away, this championship golf course is the best in the state. When you finish the round watch out for the last hole. It’s a par-5 and the water runs along the entire side of the hole making for a quite exciting finish.
Oak Alley Plantation
An hour west of New Orleans is the home of one of most famous plantations in the area. Purchased in 1830 this historic sugar plantation is a beautiful example of the types of plantation homes that dotted the country during that time. Make sure to try their signature Mint Julep cocktail after the self-guided tour.
NOLA Motorsports Park
For the motoring enthusiast the NOLA Motorsports Park is a great outing only 30 minutes outside the city. Race go-carts with your friends around the cart track, then get a printout of the scores and brag about your times. Ford Mustangs and more expensive exotic sports cars are also available to drive around the track.