This is evident even during Mardi Gras, I find, when adults and children of all ages line the parade routes from morning to sunset, picnic baskets in hand, dressed in costumes, and ready to catch the multihued beads tossed from wildly decorated floats. NOLA’s also home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum
, which hosts events throughout the year, such as the Festival of Trees (held annually from late November to late December) and the New Year’s Eve Countdown to Noon. Other family favorites include riding the local ferry from Canal Street to Algiers Point to experience the mighty Mississippi River and exploring the backstreets of the historic French Quarter, filled with small family-owned shops packed with curios and handicrafts.
When it’s time to take a break from the city, visit the Big Easy’s (literal) backwaters. “One of our most popular family activities is a day on the bayou,” says Kevin Molony, owner of Royal Insider, Virtuoso’s on-site connection and a company that’s dedicated to sustaining the region’s culture. Molony, whose ancestors arrived in the city in 1721, is a local’s local, and a bayou adventure with Royal Insider is a must. In addition to speeding across open marshes on an airboat to learn about alligators and other indigenous wildlife, a “mudbug race” gives everyone 30 minutes to catch crawfish, known as mudbugs in Louisiana, for a family crawfish boil. This stew of Cajun sausage, corn on the cob, new potatoes, garlic, secret spices, and fresh-caught crawfish is a practically sacred local tradition – and a delicious finish to any Big Easy family vacation.