By Travel + Leisure and Travel + Leisure Staff
March 03, 2014

In honor of Mardi Gras (Tuesday, March 4th), Travel + Leisure’s Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from New Orleans on the Weather Channel’s Wake Up with Al.

1. Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama has the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the U.S.; it dates back to 1703. But these days, this destination just two hours northeast of New Orleans is blissfully under-the-radar, with 19th-century mansions, Spanish moss, and a beautiful waterfront. Where to Stay: The Victorian mansion Fort Conde Inn (above) puts you in a bygone era with in-room fireplaces and claw-foot tubs; you’ll still get modern day comforts like free WiFi and L’Occitane bath products. Visit the Mobile Museum of Art, which is hosting a Mardi Gras exhibit this fall. Price: from $157 a night, including breakfast. Book now.

2. Natchez, Mississippi

Believe it or not, but Natchez, just three hours north of New Orleans in the Mississippi River Valley, is known by locals as the Biscuit Capital of the World. Where to Stay: At Monmouth Historic Inn, a southern breakfast—including biscuits—is included in your rate. We love the gardens on 26 acres: the grounds are filled with elms, magnolias, roses, tulip beds, and an Herb Garden where mint for Mint Juleps is plucked just for you. Price: from $195 a night, including breakfast. Book now.

Related: 20 Long Weekends

3. New Orleans

During the 12-day period leading up to Mardi Gras, nearly 70 parades take place in New Orleans. Where to Stay: If you want to be in the heart of the action, try The Saint, a Marriott hotel on the edge of the French Quarter. The glamorous property has 166 Art-Deco rooms, plus a bar with live Jazz Thursdays through Sundays. It’s a fan favorite, and was named to T+L’s It List in 2012. Price: from $179 a night. Book Now.

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