NOLA!! You think beads (and boobs), gumbo and gators, Bourbon Street and beignets, creole and craziness, jazz and jambalaya!! You may not necessarily think “let’s bring the kiddos here!”. Well, I’m happy to say while traveling the entire country with my girls ages 6 and 8 at the time, we decided to head way down south to experience a bit of NOLA, and we all enjoyed it equally….very much. Here are a few of our highlights…
We stayed at The Cornstalk Hotel in room 1, the same room Elvis stayed in while in town filming King Creole in ‘58. The Cornstalk Hotel is a beautiful converted Victorian home where every room is decorated differently. It’s so elegant and opulent and feels like a quaint B&B with its intimacy and charm.
The hotel has exceptional attention to detail we couldn’t get enough of. We absolutely LOVED high ceilings, the cherry wood, hand-carved four corner post bed, the textured, embroidered wallpaper, the gold crown molding, the marble fireplace mantel which had to be original. The crystal chandelier, vintage phone the girls loved playing on.
We sat outside on the porch, on the balcony, and by the fountain. It’s lovely a spot for a nightcap, an early morning cup of coffee or sunset watching. Pretty romantic, actually.
The location right in the middle for The French Quarter just can’t be beaten! The fact that there’s parking available makes a stay here quite perfect if you ask me. We parked once when we arrived and walked EVERYWHERE!! It was fantastic and just what I was looking for! It’s easy!!
Not to scare anyone, but this hotel is also on the haunted walking tour. We thought that was very cool!
It is also believed that Harriet Beecher Stowe stayed at the house which is now the hotel and was inspired to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin after witnessing the nearby slave markets of the time.
Bill & Hillary Clinton, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, and Paul Newman have stayed here also.
*This hotel work for us as a party of three. You may also consider the historic Hotel Monteleone for a bigger family trip. They have a rooftop pool the kiddos may enjoy as well as a carousel (bar) they’ll like walking past every day.
One of our favorite parts was without a doubt heading out onto the bayou. A must! I’ve actually been on a couple of swamp tours featuring alligators including one in the Everglades and let me tell you, this one, Pearl River Eco Tours is the best!
Not only do you get the excitement of being so close to gators and seeing them in their NATURAL habitat, but you also gain a wealth of knowledge of the land, the water, the history of the area, and all of the creatures that inhabit it. You get a complete explanation of all of the plants and THEIR history too! Can you spot the raccoon below?! Who knew they live in swamps!
Even my 8-year-old commented on how much we were learning compared to others on other tour boats nearby were! This is the one you want!!
Our amazing captain taught us the difference between marshes and swamps. He showed us the destruction left from Katrina and told us about the laws regarding hurricane and flooding insurance. We even saw the only home on the bayou that is covered by that insurance because it’s the appropriate 18ft off the ground! We passed many floating homes and a historic bridge also.
He taught us about Sassafras, Bay leaf, and Cypress and let us touch and smell some. He taught us about ball cypress timber, how it doesn’t decay, and the tragic story of “The Senator”, the biggest and oldest bald cypress in the world! He taught us about Cypress knee and Tupelo gum, and where the name “Spanish Moss” came from. So fascinating!
The kiddos, of course, loved when the boat went fast…
We saw TONS of gators and watched quite a few of them jump up real close and grab the marshmallows which he explained do NOT interfere with their diets. We saw raccoons, snakes, and egrets too. Wild boars are out there as well.http://sarimarissa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_7207-1.mov
It’s located about 35 minutes north of NOLA and they do provide hotel pick-ups if necessary for an additional cost!
Calling and booking were simple. We gave a card to hold our space but paid in person when we arrived. They go out rain or shine as the boat is covered.
Don’t forget plenty of water as it’s very muggy out there, and cash for tipping your guide! Ours was beyond fantastic!! Funny and intelligent!
We couldn’t recommend this tour enough!!!
Taking the kids to enjoy some live jazz and immerse them right into the local culture was definitely something I wanted to do. I found it to be a bit more difficult here in New Orleans than other places I’ve taken them for live music such as honky-tonk hopping in Nashville and juke joint jumping in Memphis. Frenchman Street is where you want to go.http://sarimarissa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_7081.movhttp://sarimarissa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/img_7084.mov
Maison was one of VERY few music venues in ALL of New Orleans I found to be kid-friendly….until 10 pm that is.
No issues. No cover, and the music…so, so good!! We were actually able to see two different bands as they change fairly often throughout the night!
Pro-tip; Just like at any music joint where bands live off of tips, make sure you bring bills for them! Some of our favorite souvenirs from our travels have been CDs from local bands. We STILL rock out to them years later!
The staff we encountered were very nice to us and I would come here again when I’m in town. I suggest if you have kiddos with you, give it a go! The place wasn’t crawling with them so don’t be turned off by me saying this if you’re looking for an adult night out, but for us, we really appreciated being able to come and hang out for a bit! We had a great time!
*If you get hungry, Dat Dogs is one of the only restaurants in the area. It’s casual, kid-friendly, and has plant-based options. They have a wide variety of hotdogs, smothered fries and even options to top your own. My kiddos love anything “make your own”!
I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to come to NOLA and not make a stop at Cafe Du Monde. Well, unless you’re vegan then you’ re/I’m out of luck. Sure it’s super touristy, but it’s a MUST!! It’s just the thing to do.
While there are many locations, we chose the original spot from the 1860s for that very reason, and for the fact that’s, it’s open 24 hours! How fun! DO NOT WAIT IN LINE! Planning your visit here on off hours like later at night or first thing in the morning will prevent that! Don’t waste your vacay waiting. It’s not necessary!
We found a table immediately in this retro-styled spot which was half indoors and half outside under a canopy. There were mood-setting, vintage-inspired lights all around and vintage B&W photos on the walls that I just loved!
We were greeted promptly by our waitress who was dressed classically in a white dress shirt, black bow tie, and paper hat. Very cute. We were served our rather large, three to an order beignets quickly.
Offerings are simple…Café au lait (hot or frozen!) and beignets. That’s really it. The golden beignets (which were surprisingly very cheap for such a tourist spot) are served hot, are super fresh, and piled in tons and tons of powdered sugar!
Pro tip: Don’t wear black! Oh, and it’s cash only!
Kiddos were in absolute heaven and I couldn’t get enough of their sugar mustaches! Watching them savor every bite, get messy, and dig right in was too fun!
I had no issues strolling the streets alone with the girls even at night, but we’re also from a big city so we’re very aware and street smart. There are homeless folks so be mindful. Perhaps hand them your leftover gumbo and smile.
Visiting in the summer also proved to be a great time to come with kids. I would avoid Spring Break where Bourbon can be rowdier.
If a night out on the streets with kiddos scare you, which they really shouldn’t, I recommend waking up super early when the streets are empty. You don’t want to miss the architecture and beauty out there in the French Quarter and having it all to yourself is pretty super special! Mostly everything you need is a twenty-minute walk in any direction unless you take a streetcar ride which the kiddos may like! $1.50 each way.
Pro tip: Wear comfy shoes. It’s a casual town!
Other kid-friendly activities for next time include:
-A riverboat tour
XOX, The Gower Girls