Travel Destinations

Summer is officially here, and that means good times are calling. Load up the car and choose your own adventure among vacation destinations all across the Gulf South. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, some casual sightseeing, an easy staycation, or a week-long escape for the entire family, there’s plenty to see and do this summer.  

Red River Balloon Rally

This month, experience the magical balloon glow with friends and family at the CenterPoint Energy Red River Balloon Rally presented by the Louisiana Office of Tourism. Two full evenings of entertainment take place July 14-15 at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City. Events include the Team Logic IT and Stuarts Integrated Services balloon glow, AEP SWEPCO Kids Zone, and 50+ onsite vendors and food purveyors. Rock out to live music Friday from Barksdale Bubble and Flight Delay and dance to the sounds of Jimmy Wooten and Pat Mason & Bayou Boogie on Saturday. Gates open at 5 p.m. Guests can expect 20+ magnificent hot air balloons to light up the sky with a variety of colors, patterns, and characters.

Tickets are only $5 and available at area Brookshire’s/Super 1 Foods as well as online at Kids under five years old attend free. For additional information and a full schedule of events, visit Go to for more area events and places in Northwest Louisiana to explore this summer and fall.

South Walton, Florida

With 26 miles of stunning sugar-white sand beaches and 16 unique beach neighborhoods, each with its own personality and style, South Walton offers endless opportunities for visitors to find their perfect beach.

Nestled on the Northwest Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico, South Walton is easily accessible from New Orleans, making it the ideal destination for a weekend getaway or an extended stay. South Walton is set apart by its unmatched natural beauty. Vast nature preserves create a relaxed respite not often found in similar destinations, offering adventure-seekers more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails, four state parks, a 15,000-acre state forest and 15 rare coastal dune lakes.

Unique landscapes, eclectic shops, luxury accommodations, and an abundance of award-winning dining options (200-plus restaurants) are all part of South Walton’s distinctive character and relaxing atmosphere. Learn more at

Big Bay Lake

Big Bay Lake is a one-of-a-kind planned community on one of Mississippi’s largest private recreational lakes. Located just outside of Hattiesburg and only 90 minutes from New Orleans, Big Bay Lake blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings.

Waterfront and water-view homesites in a range of price points starting at $50,000 are available for building custom homes and retreats. Additionally, several resale homes are usually available for immediate purchase. Both the homes and homesites within this community provide unique opportunities to create the perfect home or weekend getaway.

It’s time to relax, unplug, make memories and create new traditions at Big Bay Lake. Whether you are a boating or fishing enthusiast or just a family who loves to make a big splash, Big Bay Lake is simply about the lure of the water. Come enjoy fun-filled days and star-kissed nights at Big Bay Lake, where the little things make life…“Big!” Call for a boat tour today at 877-4BIG-BAY or visit

The Royal Sonesta New Orleans

This summer, enjoy a Bourbon Street Revival at The Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Featuring luxury accommodations, creole favorites at Desire Oyster Bar, custom cocktails at Le Booze, and world-class fine dining at Restaurant R’evolution, The Royal Sonesta New Orleans offers a total escape right in the heart of the French Quarter. Guests can enhance their stay at Sonesta Sundays weekly poolside parties featuring refreshing beverages from Oasis Pool Bar, live music, and poolside eats.

Ready to make your warm weather staycation dreams come true? Book today and save with The Royal Sonesta New Orleans’ French Quarter Fling package, featuring rates from $159/night plus complimentary valet parking. Make your reservation online at with promo code FQF.

Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort continues to redefine the VIP experience. In addition to over 800 slots and 36 table games, enjoy the Orchid Room where the property has redefined the high-limit gaming experience. The space features private gaming, personal televisions, top of the line slot machines and amenities that you cannot find anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Scarlet and E.I.P. members of the Pearl Rewards loyalty program have access to the VIP Lounge, which offers three unique upscale experiences. Sip a deliciously curated cocktail at the gravity-defying, full-service bar and tantalize your taste buds with delectable light fare cuisine and scrumptious desserts in the dining area. E.I.P. guests can take a break from the action in the plush Parlor.

Gulf Coast players can book the ultimate staycation at the Scarlet Pearl’s 300-room modern hotel. With breathtaking design, superior service, and bathrooms that feel more like a spa, they have taken the definition of luxury into the clouds. Book your next stay at or call 888-BOOK-SPC.