Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Perhaps it’s a clear, calm lake or bayou with gleaming waters teeming with fish. Maybe it’s a casino resort with a concert amphitheater and exciting table games. Or maybe it’s sandy beaches that call to you this spring. New Orleans’ surrounding region offers countless ways to play to this season, and whether you prefer the glistening sun and a cool breeze or a relaxing meal and informative tour, you can find an excursion to suit your taste easily among the many nearby options. And if you’re thinking of faraway destinations, the local airport is conveniently positioned to deliver you across the ocean and to a foreign destination. Springtime is a season for awakening the senses and your sense of adventure. Explore these options and more as you plan your spring and summer vacations with family and friends.
Take an island adventure this summer that won’t break the bank and is located only about 70 minutes from New Orleans. Mississippi’s finest beaches are located on Ship Island, approximately 11 miles offshore from the Gulf Coast cities of Gulfport and Biloxi. The undeveloped sand island is accessible only by boat. Ship Island Excursions offers daily passenger ferry service from the Gulfport Yacht Harbor and the Margaritaville Hotel Resort in Biloxi.
Watch for Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins during an enjoyable 60-minute cruise. Part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, Ship Island offers visitors the first high quality, natural beaches for swimming and shelling east of New Orleans. Travel to a special place where the main attractions are long, quiet beaches, beautiful green water, and clean Gulf air. The nine-mile long barrier island also features historic Fort Massachusetts (circa 1858).
Food service is available on the boats and the island. Chair and umbrella rentals are also available. During summer, the National Park Service offers a lifeguarded swim beach and fort tours. Ferry service operates March through October. Visit msshipisland.com for info.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort is “The New Way to Stay & Play” on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Treat yourself to a stay at its luxurious hotel, voted Best Casino Hotel by Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Observer. Start your Sunday mornings with a Jazz Brunch featuring live entertainment by Jesse Hill and bottomless mimosas and bellinis. Spice it up with a loaded Bloody Mary topped with a fresh lobster tail. Dive into All-You-Can-Eat Dungeness and Snow Crab at Scarlet Pearl’s Waterfront Buffet every weekend.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort showcases 1,170 state-of-the-art slot machines, over 35 top-of-the-line table games and over 80 video poker games. If you are feeling really lucky, take a shot at a hole-in-one at Lava Links Miniature Golf Course featuring a live, erupting volcano.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort—your home away from home. Book your next ultimate getaway at ScarletPearlCasino.com or call 888-BOOK-SPC.
Take a walk through time as you enjoy a glimpse into the lives of fascinating people who have called St. Joseph Plantation home.
Learn about the Priestly family and grandson H. H. Richardson, who was born at St. Joseph and became one of America’s most important architects of the 19th century. Explore the story of Valcour Aime, known as “The Louis XIV of Louisiana,” and his two daughters, Felicite and Josephine, to whom he gave St. Joseph Plantation and neighboring Felicity Plantation. Discover the stories of the slaves that lived here and the work they did.
In 1877, the story of St. Joseph’s Plantation’s current family began when Joseph Waguespack purchased the plantation. Joseph’s descendants, the Waguespack and Simon families, have kept this sugarcane plantation thriving for over 135 years, operating the plantation with over 1,000 acres planted. Visit and learn about the sugarcane industry and its regional significance.
Additionally, see where scenes from All The King’s Men, Skeleton Key, 12 Years a Slave, Underground, Queen Sugar, the remake of Roots, and four-time Oscar nominee Mudbound were filmed.
Visit StJosephPlantation.com, or call 225-265-4078.
Surrounded by the waters of Bayou Teche, Atchafalaya River, and the Atchafalaya Swamp Basin, the Cajun Coast, in St. Mary Parish is known for its natural splendor and “road less traveled” atmosphere. Spend a beautiful spring day exploring the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area or winding along the Bayou Teche Scenic Byway. Captain Caviar’s Swamp Tours take visitors through the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest overflow swamp in the country. Or, experience the wilderness by paddling through the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge or renting canoes and kayaks at Captain Caviar Swamp Tours in Patterson. Golfers love the Atchafalaya at Idlewild, rated the state’s number one golf course by Golfweek Magazine in 2008 and 2009.
This spring, St Mary Parish is alive with festivals and events including the Basin Brew Fest and Brittany’s Project (March 16), 3rd Annual Songs on the Bayou Songwriter’s Festival and Conference (March 27-31), Cypress Sawmill Festival (April 5-7) the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival (April 12-13), the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show (April 12-14), Porch Fest, (April 27) and Rhythms on the River every Friday for nine weeks beginning April 5th. For more information, visit cajuncoast.com.
L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge is a unique casino entertainment complex that captures the feel of a Southern river lodge right in the heart of South Baton Rouge. Embracing local culture and cuisine, L’Auberge Baton Rouge offers a genuine Louisiana experience and fun atmosphere just a short drive from New Orleans. It features an expansive 74,000-square-foot casino with nearly 1,500 slot machines, 50 table games, a 12-story hotel with over 200 rooms and a rooftop pool, as well as three restaurants and a casino bar with breathtaking views of the Mississippi River.
L’Auberge Baton Rouge is excited to unveil their new smoking veranda, Riverbend Terrace, opening in March. This open-air, smoke-friendly gaming terrace will offer over 120 slot machines and sweeping views of the Mississippi River.
L’Auberge welcomes country music singer-songwriter Sara Evans to the Event Center on Friday, April 5. Tickets start at $50 and the concert is reserved seating. Attendees must be 21 or older to enter the Casino and Event Center.
To find out more about L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge, visit lbatonrouge.com or find it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
In collaboration with Where Y’Art, the gallery at Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is excited to host 300 More, an exhibition setting its sights on New Orleans’ next 300 years of history and preservation of culture. Following the city’s tricentennial celebration of 2018, 300 More celebrates the area’s unique ways of living and features the work of 32 local artists. The exhibition explores themes and issues around both environmental and cultural preservation—from coastal restoration to urban conservation, and industry— and is on display now through early April.
Located in the Warehouse Arts District, three blocks from the French Quarter and a short stroll from the Convention Center, the 167-room Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery features art, a retail space with New Orleans-made items, award-winning cuisine at Compere Lapin and Tout La, free Wi-Fi, and Provenance Hotels’ signature Pillow and Spiritual menus. Book online at old77hotel.com.
Just 40 miles north of the Big Easy, the historic City of Covington lies enveloped by scenic rivers, live oak trees, and fragrant long-leaf pines. Covington’s charming downtown offers an abundance of world-class dining and entertainment options, as well as unique boutiques and art galleries where you can discover one-of-a kind treasures.
Every Thursday in April, the city hosts the Rockin’ the Rails free concerts at the Covington Trailhead. The concerts run 5:00-7:30pm and feature some of Greater New Orleans’s most celebrated musicians. Spring in Covington boasts several other events, including the 8th Annual Taste of Covington, April 10-14, which celebrates local food and fine wine. The event takes place in conjunction with St. Tammany Art Association’s Spring for Art on April 13th. The historic city is excited to announce the fourth annual Covington Heritage Antique Festival, April 27-28, which will feature antiques, vintage collectibles and crafts, architectural salvage, appraisals, food, music, and much more.
After attending your fests of choice, blissfully end your evening with an overnight stay at one of many charming bed and breakfasts. Visit covla.com for more information.
Spring is here and summer is close behind. Time to plan a beach vacation to get the best location and price. With the soft, white sand beaches of Destin, South Walton, and 30A nearby, the Florida coast is an anticipated tradition for many Louisiana families.
For families looking to save, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties recently shared these tips: (1) always book direct to avoid additional fees and guarantee the best rate, (2) visit during non-peak weeks, such as late spring or late summer, when rates are lower, and (3) seek reputable vacation rental companies that offer free activities, complimentary beach service and other extras.
For spring stays, Newman-Dailey’s Late Spring Fling* (valid for stays April 8 – 14 or April 24 – May 17, 2019) provides beachgoers 10 percent off stays of three nights or more in a participating beach vacation rental. (*some restrictions apply). Use promo code: SPRING19. Learn more at DestinVacation.com or call 1-800-225-7652.
Just a few hours outside of New Orleans is paradise on Pensacola Beach, and it’s waiting for you to take a vacation. Situated along the Gulf of Mexico, Portofino Island Resort is Northwest Florida’s premier beach vacation experience.
Built along eight miles of untouched sandy beaches, the resort offers guests a perfect balance of indulgence and natural beauty. Take a kayak or paddleboard adventure and surf the crystal blue waters, or fly under the sun as you parasail your day away. Then, be sure to reserve a spa day and get pampered in the comfort of your private suite or poolside. Go on a morning or sunset cruise and watch curious dolphins jump out of the water to ride the waves and say hello.
Whether you want to enjoy the beach with family, your children, your spouse or your friends, guests of all ages will enjoy Portofino Island Resort. The property features luxurious two and three-bedroom skyhomes, active amenities, fabulous dining, spas, andmore. Book your getaway at PortofinoIsland.com.
Uncork Some Fun in the Sun at the 33rd Sandestin Wine Festival April 11-14 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the No. 1 Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Presented by Coastal Living, the Sandestin Wine Festival is regarded as one of the top wine festivals in the country and known as the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals.” Enjoy this picture-perfect four-day event, complete with wine dinners by regional celebrity chefs, grand wine tastings showcasing hundreds of domestic and international wines, delicious food pairings, live music and a special Sunday Brunch. For additional event details, visit SandestinWineFestival.com or call 866-91-BEACH. The Sandestin Wine Festival benefits the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Sandestin Foundation for Kids.
New Orleanians know well the long recovery process that follows a catastrophic hurricane, and they’re quick to lend a helping hand. This year, consider offering a helping hand to communities affected by Hurricane Michael by simply packing your bags for a relaxing vacation to one of Florida’s most beautiful and well kept secrets: Jackson County. Home of the gorgeous, clear Merritt’s Mill Pond, Jackson County is a perfect outdoor water destination with countless opportunities for fishing, paddling, snorkeling and cave diving. Lake Seminole is a bass fisher’s paradise, and access will soon be restored to the area’s popular Chipola River.
In addition to its stunning waterways, the county offers charming downtowns in communities like Marianna and Sneads with shopping and dining ideal for day-trippers. Southern Craft Creamery is a delightful destination and offers farm-to-table ice creams and locally sourced treats. Restaurant Mashawy, located near Florida Caverns State Park, is a favorite among both locals and visitors for its outstanding Mediterranean cuisine and unique dining experience. Other favorites include Circle Grill, Gary’s Southern Grill, Grady’s Seafood, Up the Creek, and The Oaks.
Learn more about Jackson County’s offerings at VisitJacksonCountyFLA.com.
Condor Airlines, part of Thomas Cook Group Airline, will continue its twice-weekly service from Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport to Frankfurt, Germany beginning June 6, 2019, on Mondays and Thursdays. Condor Airlines offers tremendous value compared to other low-cost carriers who offer “unbundled“ fares. All Condor passengers receive complimentary checked baggage, complimentary beverages and meals, and complimentary in‐flight entertainment included in their base fare.
Flying with the leisure airline is a positive, comfortable experience. Condor’s business class features reclining seats, a personal touch-screen entertainment system, power and USB ports at every seat, gourmet meals with complimentary wine, beer and cocktails, and an in-flight amenity kit. Business class and Premium class feature convenient check-in options and additional amenities.
Travelers can connect from almost anywhere with just one booking and can book the total route with one ticket from Condor. European partners such as Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn, the German railway operator, offer a wide range of destinations within Europe for American travelers upon arrival.
Book online at Condor.com or by calling 1-866-960-7915.
Brush off the winter blues with a spring getaway full of family fun on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The destination has seen generations return year after year, and with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why. With a wide variety of activities and attractions, including a number of acclaimed festivals, there is something for all interests and ages to enjoy.
This month, check out the Wharf Boat and Yacht Show on March 29-31 at The Wharf in Orange Beach. In April, enjoy a day of art, music, and crawfish at the Waterway Village Zydeco and Crawfish Festival in Gulf Shores on April 20, and join in on Bama Coast Cruisin’, April 25-27. Anglers will love the Alabama Gulf Coast Slam Professional Fishing Tournament, April 20 – May 18, with daily weigh-ins 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. In May, Gulf Shores’ public beach will be the center of the action for the 2019 National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship, May 3-5, and Hangout Music Festival, May 17-19.
Visit GulfShores.com or call 877-341-2400 to request a free vacation guide.
There’s nothing like the feeling of jumping in the car and embarking on a long-awaited road trip. If there’s one thing that could ruin your journey, it’s unexpected car trouble. Fortunately, you can make sure your vacation stays on track with the peace of mind that accompanies AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance. AAA covers you in any car, SUV, or pick-up truck even if you’re not the driver. AAA provides free towing, free tire change, free lock-out assistance, free minor mechanical first aid, free jump start, and free delivery of emergency fuel.
For a limited time, readers of New Orleans Magazine can join AAA and receive two memberships (in the same household) for only $50 (promo code 175482). And, current AAA members can add one new household member free (promo code 175484). For additional details see the ad in this issue, visit your local AAA branch, call 844-330-2173, or visit AAA.com/ValuePromo. Join AAA today.
If you are traveling to exotic parts of the world, consult first with the expert physicians at the Tulane Travel Clinic. According to Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Percak, half of all travelers to developing countries will develop some health problem during their trip. Many travelers turn to their travel agents for advice, but it is impossible for travel agents to stay abreast of all the latest information. Even most physicians are not up-to-date on traveler’s health, which encompasses much more than immunizations.
Tulane Travel Clinic offers pre-travel consultations available for travelers of all ages, including children, and are individualized based on each traveler’s itinerary, medical history, and personal health considerations.
“Whether on a leisurely cruise, a mission trip to a remote village, a high altitude trek, or a posh safari, it’s important to learn what to do to try to stay healthy during your trip,” says Dr. Percak.
Tulane Infectious Disease doctors also treat travelers who return ill at their regular Infectious Disease clinics. For more information about the Travel Clinic, call 504-988-1947 or visit TulaneTravel.com.