Explore New Orleans: Nine Hidden Gems on the Westbank

Whenever you hear of Louisiana, I bet the first thought that comes to mind is New Orleans. From the French Quarter to Mardi Gras to the Audubon Zoo to all the many festivals, there is always fun to be had! We have such a beautiful state and so many fun things to take part in – but they aren’t just in New Orleans.

Just a short drive over the GNO (Greater New Orleans) bridge, you will find yourself on the Westbank. While we don’t have nearly as many things to do as in the city of New Orleans, we still have a few things that are fun! I was born on the Westbank, and my husband has lived his whole life here. So, this is our home!

Oakwood Mall Play Area

We love the play area at the mall. It is fairly new and always clean when we go! We meet our friends there almost every time. And it is the perfect bribe reward after shopping for a little bit. Oakwood Mall has stores like Bath and Body Works, Victoria Secret, Francesca’s, Charlotte Rousse, The Children’s Place, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dillards, and many more! The food court is pretty great too; we love to get our eat on over there.

Lafitte Nature Trail

This one can be a little harder to find if you aren’t familiar with the area, but it is definitely worth finding. It is an elevated boardwalk through Cypress swamps with amazing views, picnic areas, and even sometimes a tour boat for show that you can sit on and take a break. The trail is a mile long and makes a full circle. Be sure to wear bug spray and bring your camera. The scenery is really beautiful.

Barataria Preserve

Barataria-Preserve-Bayou-Coquille-Trail-300-dpiThis is another little trail that we really enjoy. It goes through marsh, swamp, and the bayou, and we have seen nutria, alligators, and all kinds of birds and bugs. We have always done the self guided walking tour, but they do have guided ones with the rangers, as well as a cell phone guided one. Another thing that I think is pretty neat is that you can also tour it via water – by kayak or canoe! Now, you definitely won’t catch me out there on the water, but for the adventure seekers? Perfect! After the trail, we go to the visitor center. It is really nice to cool off and a great hands on learning experience for the kids. The kids can even join the Junior Ranger program. They have lots of buttons to be pressed that talk and teach you neat little things. It is also a gift shop so if you are thirsty they have drinks, restrooms, and little souvenirs. The guided nature trails with the rangers are at specific times, so be sure to check their website or call for those specific times and dates.

Candyland Parties

I found this place because it is where everyone goes for kids parties on the Westbank. Literally, all of our friends have their children’s parties here. It is an inflatable playground and so much fun! It always smells like vanilla cupcakes when you walk in, nice and cool, always clean, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. The have walk-in play for $9/ child but their schedule varies weekly. You can give them a call, and they will tell you their times for the week.

Area 51 Laser Tag

Laser tag here is sure to please everyone involved! Whether you are actually playing laser tag, watching from the televsions screens outside the tag rooms, eating snacks, or playing games on the computers or gaming consoles, you will enjoy yourself. They specialize in parties, but also have walk-in play and memberships. They always run little specials, so be sure to like their Facebook page.

NOLA Motorsports Park

From the littlest car enthusiast to the biggest thrill seekers, there are plenty of things to do here! They have go-karts, races, and events that they host. You are going to work up an appetite and then you can head straight to the Pit Stop Café.

Algiers Point

Did you know that Algiers is the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans? Downtown Algiers is beautiful! They have some gorgeous houses – some even date back to the 1840’s! How amazing is that? If you enjoying going for a little ride on a boat, the ferry is really fun! And only $2 (you’ll need exact change), which is a total plus in my book. There is always something going on down at the point. From festivals, to readings at the library, to bonfires, the place is always having some sort of family friendly event.

Gretna Heritage Festival

This isn’t a place to go, but it is the biggest festival on the Westbank. This year it is October 3rd through 5th, so be sure to mark it on your calendars. They have bands that play on one of their many stages, craft areas, more food than you could possibly eat, and a kids area with rides! You can go for the day or buy passes to go for the whole weekend. It is wholesome family fun.

Swamp Tours and Fishing Charters

What do you think of when you hear of Lafitte? I think of fishing, alligators, and delicious seafood. Fishing charters are a way of life here! There are many different companies to choose from, so it really depends on your price range and what exactly you are looking for. A swamp tour is a must! They are so neat! Seeing these guys get so close to the alligators and some even getting in with them? Blows my mind. You wouldn’t catch me dead getting in the water with them. Airboat Adventures is the one my husband recently went on and enjoyed it, and he grew up on the bayou. But there are many different tours like Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours and Louisiana Swamp Tours.

I hope that I gave you some good ideas to try on the Westbank with your family or for a date night!

About Danielle

Danielle lives on the Westbank, almost to Lafitte, with her husband Ryan, two children Lexi (3) and Abram (9 months), and furbaby Maverick. She is a full time mom and part time manager at Miche Designs and Gifts. She enjoys crafting, watching junk television, Pinterest, social media, and eating. She blogs over at This is the Stuff sporadically about all kinds of randomness.

One Response to Explore New Orleans: Nine Hidden Gems on the Westbank

  1. Nilong August 31, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Great list. There is also Gretna BMX bike park. Haven’t been but heard it’s great

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