New Orleans: Tips for an "Off the Beaten Path" Family Vacation, Flickr: Ray Devlin

Scene From the 2009 Jazz Festival

A vacation in New Orleans can mean a fun outing for families, if you can dispel the tired image of rowdy crowds on Bourbon Lane. For most, a New Orleans vacation is synonymous with trips to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Spring break occurs around mid March, so now would be a good time to begin planning your trip if you have not already done so.

Visit after Mardi Gras: Fat Tuesday typically occurs in early February and the place is rife with college kids trying to get a piece of the festive action, so your best bet is to book after that. But if you are into parades and parties, then this may be a good time to go—but you have to embrace the crowds.

Jazz Fest: New Orleans is famous for its Jazz Festival which occurs April 27-May 9th in 2012, and may be too far removed for your Spring Break plans; it is a great time to go and acquaint the family with the genius that is NO. This year’s line up includes old time favorites like the Beach Boys and student performances from the Dillard University.

Volunteering: Spring Break is a fun way for youngsters to not only travel and explore a new destination, but also to volunteer. The City Park, for example, is one of the country’s largest: contact a volunteer coordinator to find projects that suit your fancy and enjoy a productive and educational vacation. Phone: (504)483-9459.

Creole Cooking Classes: To really get acquainted with Zydeco music and Creole cooking—a few authentic experiences, try taking a class with your kids. The New Orleans School of Cooking in the French Quarter gives you a taste of true folklore and Louisiana style cooking. A culinary vacation may be just the ticket to having a truly “out of the box” experience in NO. Call 504-525-2665 for reservations.

Visit the Cultural Attractions: From the National WWII Museum to the St. Louis Cathedral, there’s a lot of history and heritage to soak in. Take the kids to places they’ll enjoy and remember the historic sites so their only memory of the city won’t be rowdy crowds and Hurricanes. A walking tour of the French Quarter is also extremely informative, and is so much more than Bourbon Street.

 

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Photo: Ray Devlin

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